group fitness instructor teaching les mills classes

Happiness Outside of Normal

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Life is weird right now. We all crave normal – and I’m not talking about that “new normal” we keep hearing about. Something inside me seizes every time I hear that phrase, and I know I’ll be hearing it a lot. Masks on adults and children are not normal. Standing in line to purchase groceries is not normal. Feeling excited because you scored a package of toilet paper at Costco – definitely not normal. But here we are nevertheless, doing our best to create our own “normal.”

Before all this, normal for me meant spending a lot of time at the club. I’d have been teaching classes and seeing all of you – my friends, my extended family. We’d have enjoyed the physical challenge of our workouts together but we’d also have enjoyed the personal aspect of being together. Hearing about a new restaurant we’d been to, celebrating graduations and what college our son or daughter had chosen, what vacation plans we had for the summer. We would encourage each other as we set new goals and we’d also have supported each other as we faced life’s challenges. But all that stopped – abruptly. If you were like me, you spent the first several weeks a little at sea. I found myself constantly hovering over my phone, a blizzard of texts being exchanged with friends and my sisters who are scattered across the country. We listened to every bit of information coming in and dissected every issue – masks vs. no masks, Tylenol vs. Ibuprofen, mega dosing Vitamin C, should you wipe down your groceries, are the kids going to go back to school, and for Pete’s sake, why the heck is everybody buying toilet paper! My sleep habits changed and time of day was just a number. Worry and stress replaced freedom and routine. As the quarantine stretched out, it became clear that I needed to get off that daily roller coaster. I’m a Group Ex girl – I always have been. All that support I talked about – both physically and socially – I need it. I need “my people.” Flashback – I think I once bought a Beach Body DVD set many years ago thinking it looked good and if I did it, I’d look good too! I think they are in my basement still in the cellophane. Exercising at home in front of the TV just wasn’t me. Back to now – considering our current situation, exercising at home in front of the TV had better become me. So I set up in my sunroom and pulled up the Les Mills on Demand that we’ve been so fortunate to have. I pulled up my regular workouts, but I also did something else. I tried classes that I don’t usually do. And I found a silver lining in this stay at home exercise “thing.” Being at home, by myself, gave me to courage to “try.” To step out of my comfort zone, to “look silly” or “uncoordinated” or just downright whipped by the workout. When you try different things, it can be challenging in different ways. And guess what? No one sees you. You can miss a rep, a step combination, accidentally kick the couch, you can stop and rest when your legs are burning or it becomes too much. It’s just you and your workout and you can TRY! And then give yourself the grace to be happy with anything you do.

The truth is, this new way of life isn’t going anywhere fast, so maybe we can find the best in it – change our thinking. Nothing can replace the camaraderie – that togetherness that we feel when we are at the club. And that day will come again, albeit with a different spin for sure. But for now, and maybe forever, we can have the best of both worlds and find the security, freedom and happiness that each can afford.

Stay well everyone, and stay positive!