Crafty Friends

Daily Prompt: Craft

When I look at who my friends are, I am often surprised. The women I spend the most time with are between the ages of 20 and 40. I am almost 69.  I never even noticed that my friends were so much younger than me, or at least that so many of them were, until recently. I’m not sure what changed, but I’m glad it did.

 

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Me, Lucy, Jasmine and Alisha hiking Grays Mountain

I am a personal trainer at a local gym and, well not to brag but it does make me darn proud, there aren’t many women my age who can keep up with me.  Even though I don’t seek out young women to work out with, we seem to find each other.

 

Working out together is in some ways an intimate experience. We help each other with our form, which means looking at each other’s physical strengths and weaknesses. We know what makes each other sweat, laugh, and cry. Forty year’s difference in age doesn’t seem like much; fitness is a great equalizer.

Last night I had three of my young workout partners over for dinner. I wasn’t paying much attention to their conversation as I was clearing the table, but I heard them talking about someone who had made such a positive difference in their lives, inspired them to go college, and was proof that obstacles were just challenges in disguise. “Who are ya’ll talking about?” They started laughing, almost hysterically. “What’s so funny?”

 

portabello

 

“We’re talking about you!”

“You guys are embarrassing me.”

That’s when I saw it clearly for the first time. I could be mother or grandmother to these women, but instead they are my best friends. When they started telling me the ways I had inspired them, it was my turn to laugh.

 

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Jasmine, Alisha and me working at Bucklin Park

Yes, I inspire them, but they do the same for me–and they motivate me. They keep me focused on giving my best in a workout, they are interested in my life and never me old—well not much!  They respect my education, my fitness, and what they call “wisdom.” I call it survival strategies. If I didn’t work in a gym, I can’t imagine how our lives would have ever crossed. I love my job, and like many of you, feel it is my craft. These young women have been my inspiration to refine my craft, continue to improve, and learn. Because of them, I am the top trainer in our club. They have helped me better at almost everything I do. Because of them, I really feel that I have turned my job into a craft and look forward to going to work everyday.

 

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The New and Improved “About Me”

Today’s “Fundamentals of Blogging” is to revise/re-write my blog’s “About.” According to the lesson plan, I needed less of a list and more of a story; more of what the blog is about and not so much about me; more of what I want to accomplish with this blog and not so much about what I’ve already accomplished. 

If you have time would you read my old “About” and let me know if you think I should change it to the new one? (Gotta say I’m pretty impressed with myself for being able to figure out how to create a link to my “about” page. This course is amazing.)

Here’s my new “About”

I blamed my dislike for all things physical on gym suits.  They were baggy and disgustingly ugly. Did I say they were one piece? No one, not even the really pretty girls, looked good in them. I became a professional at devising ways not to “dress out” for PE.

Then I met a guy. He liked to run—all the time. So I started running. I don’t even remember his name. But after he was gone, I kept running. Then I wanted to run better so I started going to the gym and, well one thing lead to another, and I became a fitness junkie. I was obnoxious about it—all I wanted to do was workout, run, swim, bike, play racquetball o! r talk about doing something physical. Like I said obnoxious. Screenshot (22).png

I’ve done a lot of other things—got a Phd, run marathons, raised a remarkable son, had good jobs, lost good jobs, made some good decisions and some seriously bad ones. As a result I’ve  re-invented my life many times. My friends say that I’m an inspiration. I say, “Really?” But I’m still here, and that certainly says something.

That’s what this blog is about—re-inventing life, rising above circumstances and situations, becoming a better person. I’d like to think that what I write about can inspire you, or someone you know, to do things you never thought you could.

Today, at age 68, I’m a personal trainer. Can you believe it! And I’m good at it.  The girl who never went to PE now spends her entire day doing PE. Wow. Can it get any stranger than this?

Parts of my life are great, maybe even better than great. But then there are the other parts. There is always work to do, and I want inspiration. That’s why I need you.

Tell me (in 50 or words or less—just kidding) how did you do it? How did you transform yourself, turn things around, make lemonade—you know what I mean?

Drop me a line.

Change is coming

Tjb writing gym2oday is the beginning of the new me. Me the writer. Me the chronicler of all things extraordinarily ordinary happening in my life. My stomach is queasy acknowledging that this is me taking a dive into the unknown. This is me being fearless.

Can I do it? Can I observe my life, describe the “event” and –this is the big one—say something? You notice I didn’t say “have something to say.” No more equivocating. I have something to say and will welcome the joy of experimentation and herald my emergence as a writer.

The following pseudo interview with WP

WP:       Your current blog is called “Life Your Life Not Your Age.” Will you be keeping that name?

Me:       That’s a great question, especially to my few, wonderful followers. The new title will be “An Extraordinary Ordinary Life.”

WP:       Does this change in title reflect a change in theme or content?

Me:       There isn’t a one-word answer for that, WP. My life is about health and fitness. I am, after all, a personal trainer. I will continue to share my experiences and expertise in those areas. What will change is the purpose or my blog and my style of writing.

“An Extraordinary Ordinary Life” will be a diary of sorts and a venue for me to develop my writing. Because I practically live in a gym, health and fitness will be reflected in my journaling.

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Me getting in some writing at the gym

 

WP:       Will you…

Me:       Let me just interrupt now. One of my goals is to keep my posts short and to post regularly. Plus, my new personal style will require more reflection. So, dear blog followers and readers, I have to get to it! Please stay with me during this period of growth. Share your comments with me. Point out blogs you think will inspire and teach me. I will continue to read your blogs which have lead me here. Thank you.

 

 

A Vision of Me

My life today is not the one I envisioned 20, 30 or 40 years ago. I’m not standing in judgment of what I’ve done or where I’ve been so much as a taking a look at the paths I’ve chosen or the ones that have chosen me. Kurt Cobain wrote,

I never envisioned getting old. How the heck did this happen! It seems like the phrase “don’t trust anyone over 30” just rolled off my tongue yesterday not 37 years ago. What did I think was going to happen every year when I blew the candles out on the cake! There was always so much to do and so many places to go. “Tomorrow” tomorrow seemed like a galaxy far away.

inside every old person

New Year’s Day has always been my favorite holiday. I would put on the black-eyed peas, get a cup of coffee, find my favorite journal and pen and begin the sweet adventure of envisioning myself at the end of the year. I was usually thinner, healthier, and smarter. Sometimes I actualized some of my New Year’s resolutions and other times not. In reality, achieving the goals was not as important to me as planning them. I loved having the vision of a better me.

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Today I am a woman in search of a vision. How do I want to spend the last 30+ years of my life? What do I want to accomplish? What goals do I want to set? I always loved what I call the “big” goals. Thirty-five years ago I reached my goal of running a marathon.  Twenty-three years ago I received my doctorate. I have to remind myself that my goals don’t have to be “can you top this” type of goal.

Almost ten years ago, as a result of one of life’s curveballs, I left academia and the business world with serious questions about my ability to do work that required mental, psychological and intellectual prowess. Becoming a personal trainer was never a life-long dream. It was a desperate act to find rewarding work that would not cause another mental or psychological downward spiral. It was all about physicality.

When I began thinking about getting certified as a personal trainer, I was very concerned that my brain wouldn’t function well enough to pass the requisite exams. But here I am at age 67, a certified personal trainer with nearly ten years of experience.

A central theme of my life vision today is to help other people, especially those over 50, live healthier and fitter lives. As much as I appreciate the joy my hours with clients in the gym give me, I still feel that I haven’t quite identified my true vision. I think there is something more out there for me. Perhaps I worry that I may not be physically able to be a personal trainer forever. When those thoughts come, I remind myself to stay in the moment and experience gratitude for what I can do.

For now, I am on a vision quest—living each day with my spirit open to whatever insight comes.