In 2008 I was living on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Near the beach. I lived in a great house, had a wonderful job as an Art Director for a magazine. I went to the gym down the street six days a week, I was healthy and fit. In short, I had a pretty nice life going on. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I was single for the first time in my life and loved it.
In 2009, I thought (actually my friends thought and badgered me until I cracked), that it was time to start dating. I wasn’t into the bar scene so I did the “safe” thing. I joined Match.com. I met the man of my dreams, quit my job, packed my stuff and moved to the country in North Florida. I had no idea there was country in Florida but there is. Miles and miles of trees, rivers, miles and miles of nothing. The closest gym was twenty miles away, but it didn’t matter – I was in love!
Things were going great for a while until my truck driver boyfriend announced he and his buddy bought their own truck and were going to team drive together. Ok, I thought. No problem, I said. “How long will you be gone?” I asked. “We’ll be gone three weeks then home for a week. Every month.” he replied. “Oh.” I sighed.
It was an adjustment being alone again. It was different this time around. I left my job and my friends 300 miles to the south. I was isolated in the country and I was lonely. My four dogs were great company but they didn’t like to play tennis. I began to eat – things that were unhealthy. Ice cream. Cake. Junk food was my friend. Along with the weight I was gaining, I had invited depression into my life and gave it its own room.
I felt lost and with no direction. I worked briefly at a couple of meaningless jobs, when I became bored I quit and sat at home doing, well, nothing.
Things changed at a Christmas party some friends of ours gave. I didn’t really know anyone but the hosts, the rest of the women at the party seemed to be pals and sat around the table dishing on other women, talking about their (gulp!) lack of sex lives and complaining about their weight. One woman said she wished there was somewhere other than the gym to work out and someone around who could motivate her.
The seed was planted. In 2012 I became certified as a Personal Trainer. I was ready to take on the world. I began my own fitness program, was losing the doughnut belly and chocolate chip cookie butt and started to pack up depressions suitcases.
Nobody called. None of these unhealthy, overweight people I saw wanted to lose weight. Beer and bacon are a food group. Yikes.
Not to be discouraged, I went back to school for more certifications. Senior Fitness, (did you know that they consider 40 and up to be seniors?), Fitness Nutrition, (ICK! I learned what the stuff I was eating was doing to my body). I figured I would go after the older set, armed with useful information and ready to book the clients. I recently received my certification in Exercise Therapy, I am able to help folks on a whole new level.
Still, the clients did not come. Some figured they were too old and nothing would make a difference. Really? I never realized being 45 was being at death’s door. Others were just lazy. Many would rather spend their money on beer and bacon.
My life rode this roller coaster for the next few years. I gave up trying to find clients, got the depression somewhat under control and concentrated on being a photographer instead.
I recently had a life-changing experience. I had a bad report from a chest x-ray. I worried and waited four days from the time the receptionist called me until I saw the doctor who told me there was nothing wrong.
During those four days I realized something. Maybe I’m not here to amass a bunch of clients who don’t want to get healthy, people who balk at giving up their own comfort junk. Maybe I’m here to just breathe. Show people how. Plant the seeds of a longer, healthier life.
I had to decide. To take the first steps again. To finally ask depression to move out. So that’s what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong. I do want to make a living at this and I will. Build it and they will come someone said. I’m laying down the first brick.