What if?

I think it’s possible that we are all hiding a secret version of ourselves. The real answer to the question about what we want to be when we grow up. Not the answer that we came to because we were practical or because we started believing our big dreams were impractical. Maybe we hide it from the rest of the world. Maybe we hide it from ourselves too.

In my case I found that even in my fourth decade I was still asking myself what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not coincidentally I began this conversation with myself …again … one day while working on a spin bike. Since my teen years, exercise was one of the few places in my life where I felt fairly confident, but never confident enough to imagine myself as a fitness instructor.

Over the course of several years and with a lot of encouragement from my husband, I got over that fear and become certified in several group fitness formats, some endurance-based and others strength-­based. Then my husband started wondering why I wasn’t a personal trainer, and later he wondered why I wasn’t also blogging. My answers all boiled down to not being something enough. Not strong enough. Not young enough. Not smart enough. Not healthy enough. Not confident enough.

Four children in less than three years had changed my ideas of myself, physically and mentally.  Most obvious to me on that day was the fact that I was on the verge of an umbilical hernia surgery. I knew I needed to get that muscle repaired, but I had ignored it for nearly 10 years, until my husband caught me in a rare moment of crying. (Colds and hernias don’t mix well). So that’s where I was, really feeling like not enough, when I asked myself some different questions. What do I love doing? What am I good at? Could I use that to help other people? Could I turn it into a career? And for some weird reason that day I decided to have a little of my husband’s faith in me and at least use my recovery time to prep for the personal trainer exam.

It’s not like passing that exam is something no one else has ever accomplished. The amazing thing for me though was that I managed a mental shift from “not enough” to “what if”, or at least to “maybe.” From there I started wondering “what if” about a lot of other seemingly crazy ideas.  What if I could lift heavy weights? What if I could do a pull up? What if it was a weighted pull-up? What if I could squat and deadlift two times my bodyweight? What if I could think of my body in terms of what it could do and not how it looked? What if I could help other women find a stronger version of themselves too? What if I have been too focused on the wrong things and hadn’t seen the strength that is all around me? What if you explored the world of strength training with me?

2 thoughts on “What if?”

  1. What a great story! I’m cruising through my fifth decade and still don’t have a grip on what I’m going to do when I grow up. I am really impressed that you had the courage to let your inner self shine through. I’m not there yet, but it is very motivating to hear from others who have taken the time to ask the kinds of questions you asked and then, most importantly, acted upon the answers. Go, Rebecca! It is great that you have a supporting husband and hopefully you will feel a little bit of support from the rest of your community.

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