One year ago, I went through one of the worst days of my life. I'm not here to linger on the details of that day; instead, I'm taking today to look back at the past year and take stock of all the positive things that have come out of a situation that lit a surprising fire under me. This is a very personal post, and forgive me if I rehash things I've already addressed on this blog, but I found today to be an especially poignant day to remind myself of how AWESOME the past year has been and how far I have come despite adversity.
I started running. The very first time I ever threw on sneakers and went out side to just run was 365 days ago. True, that first time was an attempt to vent hurt and frustration, but it got me moving. In the weeks to follow, I would go run, even just around the block, at least once a week - I wasn't even that consistent when I had to mail in workout calendars to prove I was keeping up with my summer workout packet from my college soccer coach! Eventually I was inspired to take my running to a race situation, and feel in love with endurance sports. I also now have an ever-growing friend base from the running community that is making my life a thing full of joy and excitement!
I got a new job in physical therapy. Though that job didn't last as long as I would have liked, it helped set the tone for my future. I learned so much about the body, about exercise, about rehabilitation, but most importantly about how working in the fitness/wellness industry affected me. Before that job, I had been struggling to figure out what direction my career should take. Office management had its perks, but it didn't feel like I belonged there. Physical therapy showed me how interesting and exciting the wellness industry is, and proved to me that I had true passion for working with clients in an exercise setting. For the first time in ages, I finally had direction and purpose.
I earned my Zumba license. I'd thought about it previously, but last April I finally pulled the trigger, thanks to some very generous help from my amazing brother. The most convenient class was in Wisconsin, so I headed up there and took my day-long training, uncertain of where or when I'd ever get an opportunity to teach, worrying I wouldn't make a very good instructor because I'm not a great dancer, but determined to do the best I could. Two weeks after receiving my license, I was auditioning for my first job - and I got it! I learned a lot in my first gym, and have since rotated through several different locations. Now I'm settling into a great schedule at a gym down the block where I've even found the opportunity to teach Zumba Step, a fusion of traditional step aerobics and Zumba dance!
I started focusing on myself. This is a big one - I've always struggled with putting myself first, and have often let myself get bogged down in all the reasons why I can't prioritize my dreams. This past year has found me making decisions based on what is best for me, not what seems to be the "acceptable" choice. I recently took a big pay cut to switch jobs, cutting my commute down from 1.5 hours each way to less than 15 minutes round trip, giving me more time for my classes and blogging, and greatly reducing the amount of stress on my shoulders. I've had to make a few sacrifices, but the value of my time is finally something I can acknowledge and honor. It's been a great couple of months, and I feel like I am not only building a better future, but I also feel like I have found a level of freedom that I haven't experienced in my life previously.
One year ago, my life sucked. Today, my life rocks! I took the negativity and used it as fuel to push harder, to drive myself to become the person I've always wanted to be. There's still a long road ahead before I've accomplished everything I have planned and find myself complete, but if these last twelve months have shown, it's going to be a very exciting ride!
How have you managed to overcome adversity? What made you a better, stronger you? I'd love to hear your stories! And, if you're struggling with adversity, please know you can reach out to me at any time - it always helps to have a support team when you're faced with challenges!