This particular story begins four years ago while I was attending a conference in San Diego. I was sitting in a small breakout session, and despite the fact that there were over 5,000 people in attendance at the conference, I was feeling incredibly lonely and isolated. What’s more, my 60th birthday was four months away and its approach was terrifying. Was it possible that I was about to become old? And, if that was true, did that mean that I had already experienced the best of what my life was going to be? I can’t put into words my sense of disappointment. “I should have done better!” my inner voice kept repeating. Sitting in that impersonal, windowless room, I felt more stuck than I had ever felt in my life. I found myself praying for guidance, something I had never done before.
So with a flashing “60” neon sign as my constant companion, I started to take action. I began seeing a therapist, joined a gym, and began working with a personal trainer. I also began to slowly change what and how I ate. I started looking and feeling better. Next I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone by looking for regular opportunities to try new things and meet new people. My notions about how to live, and what kind of person I want to be, started to shift. I started feeling even better. But the most dramatic change came when my dad died suddenly from a stroke. One day, while sitting on his bed and packing up his belongings. I was flooded with memories and emotions and then the certitude that it was time to give notice at my job of 17 years. Life was short and it was time to leap wholeheartedly into this new life I was gradually building, even if I had no idea what this new life would actually look like.
So, I leaped. It was a challenging time. I started a program to become a personal trainer but it wasn’t a good fit and withdrew. I was at a loss. For several months I took frequent long walks and spent a lot of time alone. I started this blog. Eventually I heard about wellness coaching and enrolled in a three-month certificate program. It felt right to help others on their wellness journeys while I continued on mine. Being a wellness coach uses my particular cluster of strengths in a way that I’ve never used them before. That has, and continues to be, the best gift of all.
I used to wonder what I would think about once I no longer worried about my weight. For so many years, this area of my life took such a disproportionate amount of my psychic energy. I now know the answer to this question. Once you feel good about how you look and who you are, you can take all that precious and previously misguided energy and do anything you want! You can take your new-found self-confidence and use it to shatter your previous perception of what is possible with your life.
Now, when people ask my age, I sometimes have to pause for a moment to think! Because I no longer feel like I’m any particular age…what I feel is alive and awake.