While stretching after my work out last night, I bumped into a fitness instructor who still teaches at the same club I used to. She looked fabulous. Toned, sleek, healthy – it wasn’t hard to tell she had been teaching a lot. While I was happy to see her, I also felt a sense of embarrassment. Who was I embarrassed by? Myself.
You know how you feel when you look at a photograph of yourself from five or ten years ago? There’s this sense of nostalgia for who you were then and how you looked then, accompanied by a sense of bewilderment about how much time has changed you. Well, that’s how I felt when I saw my old instructor friend. It was like looking at a version of myself from four years ago.
I am still fit, but being ‘retirned’ from teaching has obviously changed my physique. I train differently now, so I am also a different kind of fit now than I was then. It’s still hard for me sometimes to accept that I no longer personify or live the life of a fitness leader and trainer. It’s just me now, exercising for myself, planning my own routines. I also now have a chronic injury that demands care and structure.
Are you struggling with a new version of you? Perhaps you are like me, a former athlete who’s just a regular gym member now. Or, maybe you’ve just started at the gym and are trying to adapt to the structure of going and the intimidation that comes with joining. Maybe you’ve made a career change or are going through some other life change.
As we go through life, different things will shape us and the definition of our sense of self will change as a result. At some point, all things in life shift. Life demands that we change and change demands that we be open to seeing and accepting new versions of ourselves. As you go through your transitory period, try to remember the following:
- Remember that how we’ve come to view ourselves is through the messages we tell ourselves and our experiences. We can’t change our experiences, especially our past ones, but we can always change our internal self-talk. How we cope with change is often determined by the messages we send to ourselves;
- Phases in life are often just that – phases. We are meant to evolve emotionally, physically and mentally and life helps this along by letting us experience different phases that have their time and eventually end. Embrace and accept this;
- You are not the same person you were five years ago and you probably won’t be the same five years from now. Accept this. See things, including yourself, as always evolving.
So, of course I don’t look like I did four years ago. But I don’t feel the same either. Things have changed. Who I am now is who I evolved to be and while it’s normal to pine for the past sometimes, overall I am happy with who I am. In another three years from now, I hope I can say the same.