Today's post is my first foray into blog linkups. Apparently the deal is, everyone writes about what a particular word means to them every Wednesday. Hosted by Deb Runs, the words are pre-determined and everyone writes their own take on that word. You get a lot of different perspectives on a single word - and that's ironic because today's word just happens to be perspective!
I chose to make today my first attempt at this because the fitness industry has had a huge impact on my perspective in many ways, some of which are a little unexpected once I start thinking about them. Being an athlete for my entire childhood all the way through to young adulthood, I now realize I actually had a rather skewed perspective on some aspects of life. For example, my sports kept me in great shape and gave me a great body. To me, "looking fit" seemed effortless, because I didn't "do anything special" for it. The two hour daily practices didn't factor into my perspective as intense exercise, it was just normal life. When that level of athleticism was no longer daily routine, I found myself struggling to stay fit, and that definitely changed my perspective, especially in how I perceived myself. If you're interested in more of that story, I wrote about it more extensively earlier this year, but for now I'll focus on some other changes my perspective experienced.
Over the past few years as I've fought my way back into fitness, I've realized my original perspective on what I used to consider "gimmicky" group exercise classes was not entirely accurate. Zumba originally seemed to me to be a silly way to "get in shape", and yoga classes claiming they'd "melt away the pounds" just didn't make sense to someone who understood yoga from an ancient spirituality standpoint only. Then I took my first Zumba class. I realized it wasn't just crazy Latin music and a bunch of people who didn't want to put in "real" effort to get in shape - it really WAS effort and really COULD help you get in shape! My first instructor (and the friends I made in that class) really opened my eyes to a side of fitness that I had previously thought wasn't my cup of tea.
Suddenly I wanted to be more involved in this Zumba thing! And then I got my license to teach and then I got my first class and then I got my second class and before I knew it, I was a Group Exercise Instructor. I was teaching classes, I was taking classes, and I was getting more and more interested in this wonderful world of fitness. Previous perspectives on class styles and potential benefits (or lack thereof, more often) were shifted or shattered. Yoga started to make sense as a workout and soon I was teaching that too! I began to look at fitness as a full body package, and as a mental industry as well. I think the running helped a lot with that mental part, as I learned that running wasn't awful if you were doing it with purpose (another perspective shift).
Perhaps the most important bit of perspective I have gained from my growing role in the fitness industry has involved my views of myself and my happiness. From my old position, happiness seemed like something that was always out of my control. I waited for it to be given to me, and I was constantly disappointed. Since I started running, instructing, blogging, and diving deeper into fitness as an adult, I've started to realize that happiness is my own creation. I still have a long way to go before that new perspective really sinks in, but I'm starting to make my own opportunities. If I don't like where I am or what I'm doing, I actively seek out solutions and I work hard to make them a reality. And the harder I work for things, the more success I see: this past summer has had countless examples of how creating opportunities can turn a crappy situation into something amazing. I no longer expect happiness to show up at my door begging to move in - instead I caught the scent of happiness and now I'm going to keep following it!
Wednesday Word is hosted and coordinated by Deb Runs! Want to see what other bloggers had to say about perspective in their lives? Visit the Wednesday Word linkup page and share the love with other writers. Don't forget to check back every Wednesday for an entirely new set of the Wednesday Word!
What helps you put your life in perspective? What major changes have you made in your life that required or inspired a major shift in the perspective you previously held? Has fitness played into your perspectives in any way?