“...and a mug for tea,” the description read. It randomly caught my attention as I was looking up activities for my kids in our city’s Parks & Recreation catalog.
I read the class description outloud to my husband and he looked at me with concern. I knew he’d been watching me morph into a dull and frail version of myself. I told him that I thought it was a sign and enrolled myself for “Exploring the Deep Spine, Moving from Your Core.”
I was in the very early stages of my healing journey. I knew I couldn’t stay in bed for the majority of my day anymore. I needed to get moving and out of the house. I was stuck in the mindset that spending money on myself was a scarce privilege so the class description and the price point was too perfect to ignore.
To be honest, I thought it was going to be a slow moving barre class, one that would focus on my core muscles. I really didn’t expect the class to be any different than any other I’d taken at a community center… not even when I pulled into the parking lot of the Senior Center.
When I walked in and others began to gather, I was approached by a woman who smiled with her entire body and immediately made me feel warm. She introduces herself as the instructor, then proceeds to say “you might have noticed that you’re significantly younger than the others.”
It was hard not to notice.
She asked about myself and told me a bit about the class I was about to take. She then says “you are exactly where you are supposed to be and I am so happy you are here.”
Tears immediately began to well up in my eyes. Because when you're lost and scared, those are the best words you could hear from someone else. It turns out I would cry 3 more times by the end and I knew I had found my people.
Never had I been with a group of individuals who knew what it felt like to live in chronic pain, tired and worn down. I felt seen and understood immediately. It was quite the contrast from always pretending to look like a healthy 37 year old. I found a spark of hope when a woman, a full generation ahead of me, declared “I wish I had found this class when I was your age.” I could see the honesty in her eyes, and perhaps, even a bit of jealousy. It gave me the first positive shift in my mindset.
I CAN help myself and it WON’T be all for nothing. I accepted that I’d have to sacrifice to go down the long and demanding road up ahead, but I decided to give myself this gift. It was a gift to invest one hour a week with my people. And I had never thought about it that way before, until now.
At that time, I was constantly overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness. Always throwing energy towards damage control and never for preservation. I had no energy left to take care of myself. I spent my money to maintain my image instead of maintaining my health. And that’s how I found myself working out at the senior center at age 37.
This wonderful class is called Rosen. Rosen movement breaks down how to use our bodies correctly. Our demanding world doesn't allow us to slow down enough to realize we don’t always need to be pushing. From standing up straight to running a marathon, our bodies can perform without brash demands. We just need to be aware of our bodies, how they naturally work, and to be kind enough to give them what they need.
Though initially working out with retirees was a swift kick to the ego, it only took a few vulnerable words, some warm touches and empathetic eyes to not care how it looked anymore. I was where I needed to be, at the appropriate level – it was the right next step for me.
My newfound community may have weathered hands and worn souls, but they remind me that today’s investments will be worth more to me as the years go by. And though our current personal growth journey may seem uncomfortable, daunting and overwhelming, investing in our health now allows us to preserve the quality of years we have left.
“In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”