Tuesday, January 03, 2012


I like to think of life as one big adventure. Helen Keller said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Don't you think? I mean, everything you undertake: changing jobs, getting married, having kids--you're risking a lot, doing those things. What if your new job is worse than your old one? What if your spouse leaves you? What if your kids grow up and don't like you? What if, in all those things, something worse happens? Just living, itself, is a risk. Thinking of life that way makes it easier for me to try things that kind of scare me. Those things are just, you know, part of the adventure!

In 2011 it looked like this:

Fellow ZJ Ali Struyk and me
  •  I left all my favorite, fullest, most fun, most crazy, most energetic classes in search of classes that were a better fit for my family's schedule, that didn't take me so far away for so long. Now, instead of teaching in a gym where my classes were a convenient option for the members and where I didn't have to worry about marketing or whether I'd make any money...I'm teaching on my own, in my own town, building up a whole schedule of classes from nothing at a brand new location. No one knows I'm there yet, and if no one comes, I don't make money. People need to make an effort to get to my classes, because they aren't already going there for something else. It's freaking scary!
  • I took on a role that allows me to teach my routines for Zumba classes to other instructors. I've become comfortable--probably even overconfident--in teaching my own classes to students, but teaching to other instructors has me doubting myself and dry heaving before every single session and master class. I always get the same run of questions chasing itself around my head: "Who am I? Who am I to assume I have anything to teach other instructors? I can't even lose weight! What will they think when they see me??" I've never experienced such self doubt in my life--not even when I was 20 years old and a nurse was handing me a baby and expecting me to take her home and be her mother, when I'd never even changed a diaper before going into that hospital. So far, my experience as a Zumba Jammer has been both incredibly frustrating, in ways that brand-new programs often are, kind of like growing pains, and amazingly rewarding. (My experience as a mother, in case you are wondering, has been pretty non-stop amazing, even during the frustrating parts.)
  • Last August my husband and I left our kids with my sister for a week so we could go on a trip to Catadupa, Jamaica. This was no luxury resort vacation. We were up in the mountains in the relentless heat and humidity, working, building, teaching, and praying alongside the people of Catadupa and their close neighbors. I was so excited in the weeks coming up to the trip, but also nervous that we would come off as arrogant Americans, swooping in to save the day. I was so anxious about it, and so overwhelmed by the traveling and the insane bus ride through the narrow mountain roads that, by the time we got to the compound where we were staying, I had a huge migraine and I was starting to question our decision to come. But the week was so incredibly rewarding--it so far surpassed anything I'd hoped it would be--and I came away feeling like the people we'd been privileged to work alongside in Jamaica had become an extended family. Oh, and I learned a lot more about the team of volunteers from our church, too. Maybe more than I wanted to know?? ;) Just kidding, guys...  Anway, we're going again this year. I can't wait. I can't wait to see everyone and see the progress they've been making and how plans are going and how my VBS kids are doing... Oh...and I'm dying to try out that rope swing into the river again!

  •  Two words: TOUGH. MUDDER. 10 grueling, cruel, tortuous miles up and down (and up and down and UP AND FREAKING DOWN) Mt. Snow's ski slopes, through the mucky, muddy woods, and over snow and ice, all in the name of fun. Well, fun...and free beer. I earned my orange headband after 5 hours of sweating, freezing, swimming, climbing, and more. At one point I had to beg some caramel corn off a spectator (thank you, anonymous spectator!) because I was starting to see spots despite all the water and banana pit stops. At another point I had to find a place off the trail to pee in the woods. Waiting for my turn through Electroshock Therapy--and after that, the finish line!--I was thinking, "Never again. I did it once. I'm never doing this again." But then I got my orange headband and got in my car with my family and we were heading home..and not FIVE MINUTES into my relaxing drive--oh, it felt SO GOOD to sit--my hubby says, "I think I'm gonna get a team together for next year" and it was all over. I was hooked and we got home and signed up for Vermont 2012 and I've been hooked ever since.

2012 will be a lot more of the same. More Tough Mudder. More work as a Zumba Jammer. More marketing and working hard on building up my classes--finding new and innovative and effective ways to get people in the door and get them coming back for more. More Jamaica! And more adventures of other types, too. Here's a hint: I'm saving up for quad skates. 

Post a Comment