#7 When Health is a Family Affair
From my original drafts for "10 Stories of Strong Living"; Wake up! Your Life is Now
For all the women who were on my mind when I thought about what Strong Living meant to me; they found ways to make time for themselves to stay healthy. They inspired others along the way. They model healthy living to their families, and even when it is hard, they stay positive and do their best; knowing that they are both enough, and that they are a piece of a much bigger picture!
When Health is a Family Affair. It is so cool to see families looking out for each other. To see generations perpetuating and instilling values of self-care and hard work into future generations. I think of my Grandma, who is 90. For her 90th birthday I sent her a gift card to purchase some workout clothes. Because that is what she does; yoga stretching and her weights. I loved getting the picture back from her, wearing what she purchased. I think of my Mom who turned 70 this year and sits in my Pilates classes with me after she has been for her 5am swim session. Every once in a while, she disappears and we hear that she completed her thirtieth-something triathlon, and oh, by the way, placed in her age group. My daughter, who I am not allowed to instruct on moving more or eating better, (because of who I am and what I do) squeezed my heart the most when she proudly told me about her commitment, inspired by her High School Anatomy teacher to start a new habit, and she took the dogs for a run, as she plans on doing three days a week.
It truly melts my heart when those we love so deeply take care of themselves. It is love in action. Taking care of one’s body is one of the most selfless acts there is.
I remember my client, BJ, deciding that for her 50th birthday, she was going to begin training sessions with me. Eight years later and we are still going strong. She does it because she cares about being around for her family, about being able to keep up with them. And when it is hard, she is reminded by her daughter who has followed her lead to keep going. Her daughter is her biggest cheerleader, and their love is unmistakable.
There are several families that I have had the honor to train through generations and together with generations, side-by-side. The joy and pride in each other, cherishing successes, cheering through challenges, and lifting each other up after defeats is one of the most beautiful acts of human love and kindness.
We don’t know at the time the value of the memories we are creating. And then one day, we talk about those memories and it all comes flooding back. Remember when: the little ones hula hooped with us because we couldn’t find a babysitter? When they asked to join our session to work on strength for their high school sport? When they came home from college and wanted to spend time with us and they joined our workout? When they were frustrated with their health and energy as they began their own families? To see mothers and daughters, generations, sisters, sisters-in-law and friends-who-become-family support each other and plan their workouts as time to spend together is a very special view into a life well lived.
Lesson #7 on Family Affair. We will never be in this same place, time or moment again. When it is over, it is gone forever. Unless we keep it in our hearts, we hand it down, we create traditions and we recognize its value. Time. High-fives. Smiles. Laughter. Hugs. And a reason deeper than any other to be strong. I see health and fitness as two of the most selfless acts. In taking care of ourselves, we are able to take care of our families. We are creating a world where we are strong enough to lift others up. We reduce the burden on society and we contribute positive energy to the world. It becomes a family affair because we model it, not as a burden, but as an outlet for being alive and feeling a heightened sense of energy, joy, euphoria. Life courses through us, and in turn, it courses through our families.
“The greatest wealth is health” ~ Virgil. Pass it on, let it be part of your legacy to your family.