Happy Monday! I can’t believe that October is almost over. I can’t believe that 2014 is almost over. I can’t believe that I’m getting married in exactly ONE MONTH. I also cannot believe that today is the third year since I lost my father to colon cancer. This has been a profoundly emotional month; more so than any other October since his passing. Maybe it’s because I am getting married and know his absence will be felt by my entire family. Maybe it’s because I know that I will be moving to a new country and I’m feeling anxiety about this big change. And maybe, it’s just a whole lot of everything rolled into one. So this Monday, perhaps more than all the others so far this year, I need to renew my motivation!
In January of 2011, I was in Scotland traveling and enjoying life, when I got a phone call that would change my family’s future forever. My father called to tell me he had been diagnosed with colon cancer and would be having surgery at the end of the month. By the end of February, I had returned back to New Hampshire, a place I had never wanted to be again, to learn that my father’s prognosis was not good, and within 10 months, my father was gone. Seemingly, without the amount of time needed to blink an eye, I had returned home to a dying parent, lost that parent, and needed to sift through a sh**load of personal, emotional baggage. I felt like a lost teenager again; only worse, because this time I didn’t have my mentor in my life any longer to help me through.
Naturally, in the aftermath of my father’s death, I found myself overweight, drinking heavily, and angry at the world. I would fight with my own shadow if it let me. I allowed myself to stay in this stupor — for about two months — until January 1, 2012. That fateful day I woke up determined to make my life better. I was sick and tired of feeling directionless and unhealthy, and I knew nothing would have made my father more proud of me than to see me get my sh** together.
I had been an athlete and runner for most of my life , but my relationship with food had always been rocky. I had spent most of my twenties in terrible relationships, drinking excessively, and my idea of cardio, was dancing to The Scissor Sisters at dive bars in New York until 3 am; at which point, I would retire to my apartment, eat french fries, and then proceed to pass out. I had also suffered with bulimia for half of my life, and needless to say, had a lot of unresolved issues with myself. I guess you could say I was at my “rock bottom”. I knew what I had to do to turn myself around, but for so long I just got too discouraged and defeatist about it. Taking the first steps was so tough, I’m not going to lie. Soon, I began to have more energy, focus, and felt better than ever.
Now, nearly three years later, I am a certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, and working towards my Health Coach certification. I have started a blog focusing on health and fitness, because I want to help others who have struggled like me and continue to do so. I have lost over 25 pounds and am currently in the best shape of my life. As well, after a course of ups and downs, I am about to marry the most wonderful man I could ever have asked for.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be easy to slip into a depression and focus on the negative, which believe me, the majority of this past month I have most certainly done. However, instead, I simply channel the same Erin who woke up on New Year’s Day 2012 and said, “enough’s enough” and get on with my life.
I know life is not easy and it’s certainly not fair, but regardless, it’s all we have. Each and every day we have the opportunity to make the most of it or see the worst; this is a choice we all make whether we do it consciously or subconciously. Your circumstances may change; be it your health, your family, or even your job, but at the end of the day, you are what makes everything in your life possible, for better or worse. You owe it to yourself to make goals, believe in yourself, and start living the life you deserve right now. You may have set-backs and it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows, but you are the force leading your journey and you have an opportunity each day to make it great.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia:
“I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”
What life changing events have you experienced?