About 20 years ago I graduated college and started working in corporate America, grinding away at huge financial firm. This was what I thought you do– get a job, get an apartment, and climb the corporate ladder. Nobody asked if I was happy or if I liked the day to-day. I just went to work.
But at age 22, I was exhausted. In one year I had the flu, bronchitis, strep throat, and my stomach hurt all the time.
Was this what being an adult meant? Go to work, no questions asked. Fake-smile your way through and pretend to get it.
Something didn’t add up, but I was too close to the situation to realize it was a mismatch. I didn’t realize I could change my path.
My heart just wasn’t in it.
I needed something in my life that was love and pure joy. So I got certified as a group exercise instructor, and started teaching classes near my apartment in Hoboken. I loved it! This is what it felt like to enjoy going to work. Actually, it didn’t feel like work. This made me happy.
But then I got promoted at my day job. My hours increased, and I had to cut back on my classes. The stomach pains came back. I went for test after test, and no doctor could figure it out.
My mother was very worried about me. (I come from a long line of worriers.) She said it was stress…I had also recently gotten engaged, and she thought I wanted to get out of it… Well she was half-right. It was stress, but not because of my relationship (21 years later and we are still together, and happily married.)
It was my job. My heart wasn’t in it. It had to go. There had to be something better.
So I did it: I quit. I had no plan and no prospects. And I was thrilled.
I took a chance. Now granted, this was before kids, a mortgage, etc. But still, it was a pretty cool feeling.
Just as this was starting to become a pretty scary feeling, my mom called.
She cut out an ad in our local paper that said the JCC near my hometown was looking for a Fitness Coordinator. “It’s perfect for you – call.”
I listened. I got the job, and started working full-time in fitness. Like always, Mom was right.
All of my health problems disappeared. No more stomach pain! My entire outlook on life did a 180.
This is a lesson I always try and keep close to my heart: Love what you do, and everything will fall into place.
Who knew all these years later as a 40-something, I would still have the privilege of working in a JCC’s fitness and wellness center?
I try to pass this on to my kids, and teach them that if they love to do something, they will find a way to make it work. It’s how my 8-year- old, (Adena) got into the play, and how my 13-year old (Sasha) taught herself to play the ukulele. (Yes, you read that right. The ukelele.)
If you really love doing something…put your heart into it. Go all in.
All month long JCC Rockland is here to celebrate loving your health, loving yourself, and loving your workouts.
On February 12 join us at our first annual Healthy Heart Fair. Kathy and Theresa will be there leading exercises, and we’ve put together vendors (like from Back to Earth) and medical professions (including from Good Sam) to help celebrate. (RSVP here.)
On February 15, a cardiologist from Good Samaritan Hospital will be giving a lecture on cholesterol and heart health. RSVP here).
This is the perfect time to share your love for JCC Rockland.
Love your group exercise class? Love your trainer? Bring a friend with you to workout this month. When your friend joins, and you will each get a special gift to choose from – complimentary month, cool JCC swag, or 2 complimentary personal training or Pilates sessions.
(See Ellen or Marjorie to get a pass for your pal.)
Perfect month to love your workouts with someone you love.