When I got to the gym this morning, I started off training by doing my 10 minutes of belly breathing. It’s this thing that Ben has me doing to help me learn how to breathe efficiently in the middle of training. So, I’m laying there with one hand on my chest to make sure it doesn’t move at all, and the other hand on my belly to make sure it fills up and sinks down the whole time. I also keep my eyes closed so I can focus on my body and nothing else. That is, until, little Bode Bear came over to me and wanting in on the whole thing. Cutest thing I’ve ever seen. He eventually got tired of it and decided to put his hands on my chest and belly instead of me, which was then the cutest thing I had ever seen. I may do this with him every day now. If he can get that down at this age, he’ll be 25 years ahead of me on the whole thing.
When I was driving through Needham Center yesterday, I realized that it’s an area that brings me back to a totally different part of my life that I don’t think about as much as I probably should.
I think it’s good to think back on all the different chapters of your life that make up your little life book so far.
I used to drive through Needham Center every single day when I was married to Alex, lived at Nobles, was working as an aerobics and yoga instructor at a globo gym, when I was eventually going through a separation and divorce, living out of my 1984 soft top Jeep Wrangler (including through the Northeast winter) and out of my good friend Sally’s guest room, needing to ask my father for money because I hadn’t factored taxes into my monthly expenses, training for and completing an Ironman Triathlon, being a mom of young children starting at the age of 23 when I was super immature and self-absorbed, and everything that comes along with all of that…the good and the bad.
I had some great things going on in my life back then, but I also had a lot of not-so-great things going on, too. The sort of not-so-great things that when you’re in the middle of that period of your life, you walk around every day wondering if your life is ever really going to work out the way that you had always hoped it would.
I spent lots and lots of my time back then trying to figure out if I was doing things right…trying to figure out if I was making the right decisions and living my life the way I should be.
Every time I drive that route that used to, basically, be on auto-pilot, I think about how unstable I felt back then. I think about how I was living every day having no idea what direction I was heading in. I used to wonder where I’d be in 10 years: where would I live, would I be married or even have a boyfriend, what would Maya and Jonah turn out like, would I be poor…or, rich, would I still be a competitive CrossFit athlete, would I still be doing triathlons, would I still be working CrossFit Level 1 Seminars, if not…what would I be doing to earn a living?
It’s almost like what it feels like for a lot of people to go back to their hometown that they grew up in. It’s super emotional, it brings up all sorts of memories that very few people on the planet even know about, and…best of all…it builds that faith in me that life really does work out if you can just be patient with it.
I have a fair amount of younger friends, that I would consider very close friends, who find themselves all caught up at times in situations like this. But, as much as I try to share all of this with them and convince them that they, too, will look back on these chunks of their lifeline and be happy with where they ended up…I know it’s almost impossible to really believe until you experience it yourself.
Having said all of that, I don’t think I would change any of it. Not one thing. Not even the bad stuff. Because it’s the bad stuff that makes everything so good now. Even the bad decisions I made then make me want to make genuinely good decisions now. I don’t know that I would feel that way had I not had those past experiences to learn from.
I will say, though, that the best thing I think I can do is figure out a way to share as much of that with my kids so that they learn from my experiences, instead of having to go through all of that themselves. There are plenty of bad decisions for them to make, but if they can avoid the ones I did and still reap the benefits of them, then that makes it even more worth it in the end.