Here’s something I’ve never said before: “Is there a place we could stop and get a burger?” I realize it’s one of the many facts about myself that make me an outlier. Here’s more: I don’t like chocolate. My mind often sees things backwards, like every time I see a sign that says STOP, SEVERE TIRE DAMAGE IF YOU BACK UP I have to ask if the sign is talking to me as I approach it, or talking to me as if I were coming from the other direction. And, when you ask me to think of the first thing that comes to mind when you say “tool,” I say “pencil.”
An “outlier,” yet another personality feature I had to: Discover. Resent. Accept. Like. I had a difficult childhood that I now partly attribute to my unusualness that my parents just couldn’t understand. And today, when I hear a child wailing, especially around the age of 4 or so, I think that person is just misunderstood. And my heart stings. And I want to have superpowers to get in her little head, to guide her words so she can tell her caretaker what she really needs. And I want her to know her desires are not unacceptable. Her wishes are not unreasonable. Her feelings are worthy of respect.
When I was in my early 20’s I sold my car, “on a whim,” I call it. I was working and going to school, and it never occurred to me to ask how I will get to those locations if I don’t have a car. Maybe it’s something people do when they’re young. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to pay for a repair. Maybe it was because I was just really, really not very smart.
Actually, I think it was destiny. At the very least, it was something God used for immeasurable good. I worked at a gym at the time. One of the members had a bike he could loan me. I started cycling. Then I started running. I became a competitive duathlete. Rode some seriously long rides, and ran some seriously awesome miles with some seriously amazing people. All because I sold my car on a whim.
Last year, my therapist taught me to be aware of my feelings, which I had traditionally distrusted. I was taught that feelings are silly. To a point, I think that is true. I think there are times when we need to hold off on making decisions when feelings are too emotional – if that makes any sense. For example, I actually pray for God to give me a love for something before I let it go. Instead of letting something go because I hate it. He usually pulls through for me.
Over the last eight years my real job has been personal fitness training (although I’ve been in and out of the industry for more than 35 years), but for a few years now, I’ve been feeling like I need a change. Desperately! I tell myself my emotions are too intense. I’m being irrational. I lecture myself: I must be more patient I must be more grateful My feelings are not to be acted upon you’re talking nonsense. And the most potent of them all: Is the grass really going to be greener on the other side of the fence, Andrea!?
“I don’t know!!” is the answer to that question. The answer to that question is why making decisions like selling cars without processing how one will get to work and school is a great strategy. And the answer to that question is why sometimes I think things that don’t make any sense to some people are exactly the reasonable things for others. Sometimes the grass is greener when changes are made, and sometimes they are not.
I am 4-years-old again, trapped in my head, fearful of failing, needing God to supernaturally place words in my mind, wishing for validation and worth, and here’s what I’m trying to say: I am going to trust my feelings. I’m good at what I do; I am intensely passionate about the field; it’s my only source of income, but I’m selling the car.
P.S. It should be noted, I’m never leaving the field of health and wellness. I’m just making a pivot. I still have an intense desire to help people set and reach fitness goals. I believe most of us have potential to get in the best shape of our lives as we age. I believe, in small, like-minded groups, with inspiring leadership, we can become people who accomplish impossible goals. I believe in challenging our physical limitations on a regular basis in order to build our mental toughness, which builds our confidence, which makes us better people. I believe our mental health is a priority. I believe most of us grossly underestimate our athletic abilities. If you want to get in the best shape of your life… only better! If you have fitness goals important to you, I’m here for you.