As an individuality-embracing culture we emphatically proclaim we like change. We say we don’t fear the unknown. Come what may! Hashtag adventure forever! But in my experience, humans are, at our very core, creatures of habit. As glamorous and exciting as change can appear, oftentimes when push comes to shove we don’t like the way change feels. Getting out of a bad relationship? I’ve been there, it’s not fun. Moving to a new town? Stressful. Pursuing a new career? Risky.
Possibly even worse, we are dismayed when people we know change. So-and-so used to do this, and now they’re doing that? Subconsciously, we want everyone to stay the same, to fit in the same boxes we’re used to seeing them in. Change is necessary, and yet more often than not, we stick to what is comfortable rather than what is unknown.
2015 is upon us, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for it. Ready for the newness, ready for the unknown, ready to grow. At the beginning of this month I passed my personal trainer certification exam and am now employed at a local gym, officially pursuing my passion for fitness and health. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be a personal trainer today — or even that I’d be exercising every day! — I would have thought you were off your rocker. But isn’t how the best stories start?
A small background, if you aren’t familiar: In 2014 my husband Nick and I moved to Portland where I landed my “dream job” as a creative writer for a high profile company in the wedding photography industry. The job fizzled out after a few months. It wasn’t a good fit for either side, which was disappointing and confusing, but okay. I began asking God, “Now what?” At the time, Nick was in the middle of a summer gig as the head coach for Windells, a ski and snowboard summer camp at Mt. Hood. I spent almost a month up there, hiking and snowboarding everyday, eating camp food and waiting for God’s direction. Every day I was moving my body, exercising by simply living life outdoors, and I came to a startling conclusion: I loved it.
I made a bold decision last summer on that volcano. I decided to pursue something different. To explore new passions and launch into a fresh career. I embraced the part of me that was becoming more and more “me” — the part that obnoxiously reminded people to drink more water and couldn’t stop talking about yoga.
One afternoon, sitting with Nick at the river after a long day on Mt. Hood, I pondered out loud, “What do you think about me pursuing personal training?” His response? “Laura, I’ve been thinking about you doing that for ages now.” One simple epiphany after years of confusing “what is my destiny” conversations, and that was it. Without turning back, without once questioning whether or not this was the “right” decision, I simply did it. I enrolled with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, studied my butt off, and six months later I'm a certified personal trainer. While art and writing will always be my lifeblood, it’s just so damn fun to pursue something completely new and different and unexpected, to throw myself into the unfamiliar and see what happens.
I am absolutely loving this journey. I still have a long ways to go — I am relatively new to the fitness industry, after all — however the passion is showing through, and raw determination is starting to give way to success. And with it, joy.
Embracing change is more than making resolutions to alter a bad habit just because it’s a new calendar year. This is about allowing yourself to evolve, to make discoveries about who you are that seem foreign and yet thrilling. What if you allowed yourself to pursue that crazy dream that seems too unreachable, too unfathomable, the one your peers will probably question... the scary one? You’ll never know if you don’t find out. As Nike says, just do it.
What a thrilling ride it will be.