I am three weeks into a 4-week pre-holiday bootcamp class. We meet at 5:50am. I’m a night owl, and all I know is that sane people do not wake up at 5:10 to go work out. It’s pitch black outside when the alarm goes off and I, in a panic, sweep almost everything off the night stand trying to figure out what is making that horrifying sound.
I shove a half piece of toast with peanut butter in my mouth and run out the door. It takes me about 20 minutes to drive to our outdoor location, and the full warm-up to even realize I’m awake (and wonder how the heck I got there, with all of the right clothes on!)
The class itself is great. Women only, all working hard and pushing themselves. It’s cold out, but it doesn’t seem to matter. We do pushups, squats, sprints, weird ab exercises with even weirder names. Sometimes we even skip, arms linked, like a bunch of six year old girls. There’s giggling and high-fiving (I hate high-fiving, but I make an exception). Real camaraderie among a group of women and very little competition or cattiness.
It is interval training, which means we bring our heart rates up really high and then let them come back down again while we’re working on another part of our bodies, then heart rate up, then something else. It might look something like: sprints, deep squats, side shuffle, pushups…or something along those lines (give me a break, I’m not a trainer for a reason). We do those up and down intervals for a full hour and then most of us head off to work…I mean, really, why else would you choose 5:50 as a work out time?
Today after class I went home and showered and zipped to work as quickly as I could. And then, a few minutes later I did a (seriously amazing) dance all around the bathroom while my two year-old friend shouted “I do it! I do it! I do it!” Yes, it’s that time. Potty training. I have perfected the “potty dance” (and not that stupid one you see on the commercials). I’ve got moves, let me tell you. I’ve also got some potty training tricks that Supernanny would be jealous of. As I twirled across the tile this morning I thought to myself, “I have potty trained WAY too many kids to not have a diaper-less kid of my own.” And I started thinking about being challenged.
In bootcamp it is expected that we push ourselves to the point of not being able to breathe quite right. Sometimes I’m scared I’ll never get a full breath of air again! We’re sucking wind, faces bright red, and muscles screaming at us. We push and push because we know that the discomfort of the moment is making us better and pushing us further than we could go by taking it easy. Sure we could walk around the lake and burn a few calories, but instead we push our muscles to failure. We force our lungs and hearts to work overtime. It hurts, and it’s scary, but it feels so good! No pain, no gain, right? And it improves our cardiovascular systems immensely. And it visibly changes our muscle tone. And it makes us feel so strong! What are a few little growing pains when you get results like that?
At work, nothing pushes me. Potty training is supposed to be a challenge. It’s hard! My 2 year old little lady is challenged by it, and gets so excited when she’s successful (and I get excited for her!). But potty training her is no longer a challenge for me. Neither is discipline or teaching her manners and to play nicely with her friends. I have a million and a half projects, activities, songs and games to entertain her with. I have a word or phrase for every situation. Even an answer to every, “but whyyyyy?” Watching her face her challenges is so much fun. Watching her excitement as she learns something new is fantastic. It’s something new every week: learning to put her own coat on last week, putting her dishes in the sink after meals this week. She is growing every minute. And it’s awesome!
But I’m not.
Not at this job anyway. Three days a week, despite the love I feel for this little girl, I feel like I’m taking a slow stroll around the lake, burning a couple of calories, but not really making any progress. On my non-nanny days it’s a different story.
Some days I get feeling down about how hard it is to start and run a business. I wonder how I’ll wedge myself into the niche I have fallen in love with. I wonder about finding more clients. I am terrified that if I quit the nanny gig, the clients won’t come and I’ll be broke. I worry every day that someone is going to realize I’m not a “real photographer” and call my bluff. My “to do” list is 8 miles long (probably literally). Sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up. I’m working myself so hard, pushing every day. I’m learning new things and building my business slowly but surely. I keep reminding myself that the discomfort I’m feeling right now is making me better. I keep reminding myself that without challenges, I’m stuck exactly where I am right now.
I just keep wondering at what point, I will have to suck up the fear, and just go for it. I’m going to have to work my muscles to failure and force my heart and lungs to work overtime. It’s the only way I’ll grow. Yes, it hurts, and it’s scary, but it feels so good! God knows, I don’t want to be doing the potty dance forever! When the day comes that I can quit this job and move forward, accept the growing pains and ignore the fear…when that day comes I expect giggling and high-fives and skipping like a bunch of six year old girls. And you’d better get your skipping legs ready, because that day is coming soon.
I am choosing not to be more loyal to my fear than to my dreams.