There have been more times over the past year than I would like to admit that I thought or said to myself, “I can’t do this.” After losing my mother to a grueling battle with cancer (a process, which I know too many of you have experienced in one form or another, that is just plain ugly), losing a dear friend also to cancer shortly after, going through a major breakup, and countless other aftershocks in my personal life I could list, all while trying to grow The Sweat Life and needing to show up daily to play my role as the face of this brand, the founder of this company, and the leader of my small, but mighty team, it all felt, at times, like more than I could bear. As the universe continued (and continues) to test me, and no matter how hard I tried to gather up all of my might and strength to step up to these challenges, there have simply been days I just haven’t thought I could do it.
Then something occurred to me a few months ago when I was having a really low day, and admittedly feeling quite sorry for myself. I realized I was actually okay. While so many challenges were happening in my life, I, Aly, the person, was actually alive, breathing, and doing just fine. Was I sad and struggling? Yes. But I was here. I wasn’t fighting for my life or losing it, and as long as I was here, I realized I should be grateful and make the most out of every moment. Was life testing me? You bet it was. But I was and am alive, and I realized right then and there it was entirely up to me to decide how I was going to keep living my life. While I still had breath in my body, I could face anything. Having watched so many people — in particular my mother and Alex — brave (and I mean, BRAVE) the battles of a lifetime, battles that were likely to be lost, and were lost in both cases, suddenly my little tests from the universe didn’t seem so insurmountable anymore. “I can’t do this” quickly turned into, “I got this.” It was a simple change in my own mind that changed everything. “I got this.”
While I realize everything in life is relative, and I don’t say any of this to undercut the realities of human struggles — love, loss, career, parenting, parents, friendships, and health — I have come to realize that we, as people, are stronger and more resilient than we often give ourselves credit for. Even myself: While I so easily write above that since I am alive, everything is fine; when it comes to being a living, breathing human being with feelings, that statement is clearly far too simplistic. The challenges I am facing in my life are real and raw and deep and will take years (or a lifetime) to wrap my head and heart around. Loss and grief are real, and hard, and not to be taken lightly; the process is to be respected. However, as hard as they may be, nothing, and I mean NOTHING in this life is insurmountable. There was a picture I posted on our Sweat Life Instagram account after the attacks in Paris, of thousands of people lining the streets holding up signs that spelled out, “We are not afraid.” Even in a moment of such loss, fear, unknown, and sorrow — there they were, united, strong, and powerful.
I will say, one constant for me to keep my strength and make it through both the hard times and good is staying active, keeping my body strong, and nourishing myself with healthy foods. If this last year has taught me anything, it's that we have little control of what happens to us in this life, but we can take as much control as possible of how we face this world — and for me, that strength that is so often needed is easier to muster when I am feeling strong and healthy.
So in a time like the holidays, which, on the one hand is filled with such joy, merriment, and gratitude, but also seems to muster a high level of stress over buying the right presents, attending the right parties, the fear of eating too much chocolate, or not working out enough — I challenge you to take a step back, and realize that everything is okay (even if you have that extra cup of eggnog), be grateful for all of the blessings around you, relish in the merriment of the season, indulge a bit, don't forget the power of what staying healthy and strong can offer you, and when it comes to life’s challenges, please know - YOU GOT THIS.
Our contributors this week all embrace the “I Got This” state of mind: #theprogram athlete Sam Jorgenson dug deep to stay strong in the face of a cancer diagnosis; Olympic triathlete Gwen Jorgensen is on her way to the Rio Olympic games in 2016 in hopes to be the first American gold medalist in the triathlon event; fashion designers Amanda Schabes and Zara Terez Tisch from Zara Terez started #LinkedNotRanked to create camaraderie among NYC’s fitness professionals instead of competition; and voice teacher and yogi Elissa Weinzimmer had to find a way to embrace the red, scaly psoriasis spots that popped up all over her skin.
I also contributed a piece this week on a topic that is near and dear to my heart — the power of the language fitness instructors use, and how it can make or break whether people feel like THEY GOT THIS or not.
Just remember, no matter how bad it seems:
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” -Unknown
Until next week,
Founder, CEO, and Host
The Sweat Life