At 6 am on December 21st, I stood outside my job, at David Barton Gym Limelight. There was a padlock on the door, and a note saying that the gym, the entire franchise, was closed. Effective immediately.
Just like that, I had no job.
I won’t try to summarize my whole year – it would take a while, and it would not be that interesting to read (I don’t find lists of events that compelling, even if they are about me). But, 2016 was crazy, right? That is the pop culture consensus. Sad. Savage. Lit. Woke. A whole bunch of other strange adjectives we made up (language is a living creature, yo). Personally, this year, was incredibly challenging, fun, scary, joyful, and full of adventure. It was pretty great for me, in some obvious ways (heyyy Mark!) and in some less than obvious ways (bombing at Nationals, being stressed about money).
In striving and achieving and falling short of various goals, I learned a lot about how I learn, and about who I am.
I fell in love. Like, really in love. We just celebrated our one year, and that is very rad.
That has demanded more vulnerability, more change, and more scary raw emotion than I ever realized.
I got a lot stronger physically, and mentally. I got bigger, physically, and emotionally. I got more uncertain, and more positive.
It was a really full year, and it seems incredibly appropriate that it end with one more paradigm shift/mega-life-change.
You know that somewhat childish fantasy we all have occasionally, that one day you’ll wake up and go to work but work doesn’t exist anymore? Just, poof, no job! And you’re like “Yes, snow day! Forever!”
Well, that happened.
The events are still unfolding. David Barton Gym is liquidating. They gave us no notice, at all. We, the former employees of DBG, are still waiting for our final paychecks (which would have been issued December 25th had things progressed normally), and it seems like everyone has been scrambling to find a new job and get themselves and their clients set up somewhere new. I know I have. The first 36 hours after the shut-down, I spent almost entirely on my tablet (did I mention my phone died the Tuesday night prior? Good timing!) emailing my clients and colleagues, trying to make plans.
It was quite a week.
In the aftermath, a lot of people have been asking me “Oh my god, are you OKAY?” and declaring that what had happened was terrible (it was) and unethical (also true) and bizarre (yeah, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, standing outside that gym in the dark of the morning, with no one around and no idea what to do next). I was incredibly touched by how many people reached out to me; I am very grateful to have the support system that I do.
It took a few days for the loss to set in, but I wasted no time. I found somewhere to train my clients, and I ended up only really taking two days off of working, which was a relief.
Being a personal trainer, like any essentially freelance job, has many degrees of insecurity, but when you work out of a big box gym, you feel like you have consistent work, even if that’s not strictly true. I learned a lot working for DBG, and I will forever be grateful for the ways it has changed me and for the people it brought into my life (hey clients! You are the best). When it sank in that I no longer had an employer, I felt a bizarre mix of emotions – relief, astonishment, amusement, sadness, confusion. I also realized that all that much-vaunted job security was, in many ways, a total lie.
Nothing is certain. Anything can happen, at any time. This is terrifying, but it can also be freeing.
I am excited because I am learning how to cherish the unknown. When you have a certain type of job or lifestyle, it becomes easy to believe that things will always be a certain way, or you will always experience certain kinds of outcomes. For me, this manifested as my expectations trapping me into certain patterns that were not necessarily benefiting me.In some ways, even though I wanted so much more, I got complacement.
While I will miss David Barton and the people I worked with, I am grateful for this opportunity to recreate my expectations for how I work and how I run my life.
By acknowledging that tomorrow I could wake up and my whole life could be different,that that can happen at any time, in any infinite number of ways, I remind myself to be grateful.
To stay present and not assume or take my future for granted.
That I have no ability to predict what will happen around me.
That I am strong beyond my own comprehension, and that when these catastrophes or miracles or freak accidents occur, I will adapt, I will grow, and I will continue to live.
That I control how I engage with my life.
That the greatest gift I can keep giving myself is not worrying about what happens to me, but trusting that I will come through any “what” having learned more about myself or the world around me.
How does one deal with the constant ghost of the unknown?
I have started to be able to answer that question confidently.
My year was about learning myself more deeply, understanding what I need in order to grow, understanding how to better care for and love myself, understanding that I DON’T KNOW what is going to happen next, and that is okay. No one does.
So I am going into 2017 with my eyes open, grateful and excited for how next year changes me. The end of 2017 will see me a completely different person, just like the end of 2016 did. And I am grateful and excited.
Happy New Year.
P.S. I also looked at a lot of memes, but I don’t know that that is a good thing.