Life in Pieces
I’m late to the 12:00 introductory meeting with my enthusiastic personal trainer lovingly known as Ben-ergy. It’s a workday and I’m rushed. Ben slaps me a high five and says, “Whoa, change everything, huh, is that why you’re here today?” My shirt actually says Running Changes Everything but I don’t correct him. I’m not a runner; I got the shirt for free when I signed up for a running workshop a few years ago with my friend, Kim. Not wanting to open up to Ben, I tell him unemotionally, “It’s just a shirt.”
He prods me with a smile and asks for more specifics about my fitness goals. I tell him I simply want to get in shape and deflect further depth by asking him what lured him into personal training. Ben confidently and unashamedly dives into his personal story detailing his journey through difficult times, his successful rehab experience and how he found his passion in fitness, health and helping others. I surprise us both by crying right there next to the kettle bells.
We go into a back room for privacy and through more of Ben’s questioning, I open up to him by sharing the big changes I have endured over the past year. (I’m fairly certain this type of consulting is over and above what he signed up for, but he’s a pro.) I keep some things to myself but tell him how I ended my marriage of 21 years, bought and moved into a town house 12 miles away from a city I called home, got a new job in a different industry and recovered from a ligament tear in my foot. Collectively that is quite a bit of change but in order to get through it I’ve been focused on managing the completion of each day hour-by-hour. It’s not often I have to explain the past year in one sitting—my friends, my sister and my therapist have been alongside me for the turbulent ride.
Up until recently, my life had been fairly predictable, void of any publishable drama. I had a husband, a kid, a house, a job, an education, a creative outlet and a social life. Alas, human behavior is unpredictable, and the universe is unstable; nothing gold can stay (better said by Robert Frost). I came to understand there’s only so much I can do to control the circumstances in my life. Over and over I read an article on managing change that my sister gave to me for guidance. The author talks about mustering up the courage to make change when it’s necessary, having a general faith and trust that everything will turn out OK, being patient by sitting with time, and lastly, surrendering to the universe because everything is connected. I lost the article in the move but understanding those four points has helped me reason my way through uncertainty.
Ben and I discuss the idea of focusing on what I can and cannot control in my life and eating well and exercising is on the control list. My homework is to determine my specific fitness goal so we can achieve it together. I make him blush by declaring out loud that I love him like he’s my younger (by 19 years) brother. I don’t know if running changes everything—I didn’t give it enough of a chance—but I do know that everything changes. I may as well get up again, dust off my hands and knees and at least walk fast toward what’s next.