It’s funny as I sit here writing this I have in the background manifest affirmations playing and I am really contemplating my own life and am I truly living “my best life?”
I am currently working toward finishing off my first year in fitness! I have been teaching a variety of classes beyond yoga. These have ranged between mat pilates, myofascial release, cycle, and now cardio HIIT classes. I had to add additional certifications to teach these classes and even then I have not stopped growing! I am currently, along with my chemistry class, working on my certifications in personal training and corrective exercise. If you had told me a year ago this is what I would be doing before I started my YTT I would’ve laughed at you and said that would be crazy!
A year ago I was far from “living my best life,” I was a special education teacher in a private high school that specialized in working with severe social and emotional disabilities. I was doing something I liked, educating. However, despite my amazing group of coworkers, I was going home stressed and in tears every night. Sometimes I would barely make it to the car! I felt I was not making enough of an impact on my students and that as much as I wanted to help I wasn’t. This was the sign that I officially drove myself to total burnout. I was going on to finish my 4th year in education and had just dealt with the trauma of having my first miscarriage. Let’s just say it was the universe forcing myself to really reflect as to where I was going and what truly was going to make me happy.
Often times we want to settle for what is comfortable. We bite our tongue or try to shut our brains up thinking, “hey, I am ok with this. This will pay the bills and leave my family comfortable.” We stick with what is easy and what we have been doing because there’s a safe feeling that covers us like an old blanket.
It’s not only in just our minds but also when we talk to people in our surroundings as well. My parents for example pushed me to continue the school year. They told me going part time right now would be foolish and irresponsible despite how unhappy I was. It wasn’t until I called my mom in tears and explained everything in my job and what was going on where she finally agreed for me to put in my notice. We reach out to people in our support systems to either “talk sense” into us, or to reinforce what we are thinking. My family’s favorite statement to me was “you only speak to us about these things once you’ve made up your mind, why do you want us to fight your decision?” At which point I laughed, because in all reality this is what we do. We like bouncing things off of each other to hear every part of our choice because our brain can’t possibly do it all at once on its own. Despite making a decision already, because you never know…maybe they say something you haven’t thought yet. Sometimes your supports reinforce that blanket because they think that is the best way to make sure you are safe and supported. So they tuck you in further into your comfort blanket and you get settled in.
Here’s the best advice I can give, the life lesson I gained from all this:
Sometimes it’s when we let the blanket go that we really start to thrive!
I made the decision to try working part time as a special education teacher and was denied working the hours at the school so I gave a months noticed and signed up for another prerequisite so I could finally work towards my doctorates in physical therapy. This is something my mom had been pushing for because she knew I had wanted this since high school, but life happens and sometimes you go with a shorter path because you want to be that independent woman right away instead of grinding it out for what seems like eternity to then gain success.
In those 4 years of my “independent” life I was upset, stress, anxious, and overall unhappy. I did not feel I was living the life I was meant to. Though teaching had its happy moments it wasn’t over 60% of the time. This should’ve been the sign to go. When March rolled around I started working as a fitness instructor and dog walking part time to really focus on my studies. The concern that I wouldn’t be able to make it? Well guess what? I did well!
The fitness hustle is real, but I was enjoying teaching yoga and then mat pilates, and now cycle too. I began falling in love with what I did. I would find myself getting excited having discussions with friends about fitness. I would talk about the types of exercises and what they can do to aid with certain tight muscles, how the body moves and other life stuff. I for the first time ENJOYED talking bout the work and didn’t find myself complaining 100% of the time about how tough and hard my job was. I was even told it looks like I lost 20 lbs, even though it had only been a week away from teaching!
That’s when I knew I was on the right path. But how does this all apply to you? How can what has happened for me so far make any meaningful change in your life?
The start to living your best life is simple – ask yourself with everything you do:
Does this light me up?
- Yes – do it!
- No – toss it!
- Eh? Maybe? – reflect and set it aside for some time. It’s like the love bird analogy, if you come back to it, it is meant to be!
This is the first part to slowly remove the choke hold the “comfort blanket” has over you. If you can categorize your life into these three categories you’ll start to find a pattern in the things that do light your fire and slowly start to go down that path.
Of course, there are always things we hate, like bills, that just need to be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you cannot work in an area that lights your fire. I have slowly found that even working part time I am able to make ends meet because I am happy to work more hours teaching these fitness classes then when I was working an easier schedule teaching. I am happy to drive around and hustle the way I need to because it is something that lights my fire.
When you’re doing something you love, you don’t work a day in your life and that is true. This is the definition of living your best life.