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Don't judge. I own a shower radio, a soft pink, blatant anachronism, reminiscent of my carefree glory days. I've been known to turn my bathing experience into an America’s Got Talent audition if my jam randomly pops on. For me, music is typically a mood elevator, but one particular evening, it took a twist in a different direction. Let me explain.
I was exploring the FM band (remember that?) and somehow ended up listening to "Delilah." You remember her, right? (I know I'm turning up the cheese factor - just humor me). She's a "Dear Abby" of sorts and has been dedicating songs to happy, sad, in love or lost souls for decades. Her voice is drippy sweet and her modus operandi is to select just the right song (break out the tissues) to mend any aching heart—if only for one minute and thirty seconds.
So, there I was with my laughable, but lovable shower radio now blaring. A caller reached out to Delilah to say that he was sitting in his dark bedroom alone, thinking about all of the birthdays that he'd celebrated with his late wife. As Delilah does, she tossed out a musical life preserver, thrown just to him in the midst of life's choppy waters. It resonated with me.
Without announcing the song, she proceeded to play Through the Years by Kenny Rodgers. Now I know what you're thinking. Come on Jami, indulging in Delilah's radio show was like five pounds of stinky cheese, but then you went and poured Velveeta all over it. I get it. But as I listened to the semi-familiar lyrics and Kenny's signature raspy voice, I was moved. Deeply.
"I can't remember when you weren't there, when I didn't care for anyone but you. I swear we've been through everything there is, can't imagine anything we've missed. Can't imagine anything the two of us can't do. Through the years, you've never let me down. You turned my life around. The sweetest days I've found, I've found with you..."
Now, I’m sure you've experienced the feeling—you know the one deep down in the pit of your stomach adjacent to your semi-tortured soul. It’s omnipresent. I had one of those amipassingakidneystoneorhavinganepicepiphany? moments recently. In a nutshell, the cold sweat woke me up, literally and figuratively. And in the solitude of that lucid moment, I decided to change my life and maybe even my world.
Here’s the back-story. A very long time ago, I was that complex woman who overcame much too much. Some say that I must have invented resiliency. I’m telling you, no one should have to endure what my kids and I went through Incidentally, previously mentioned Delilah has been through quite a bit herself!
The world has changed, the economy has changed, I have changed, and yes, you probably have changed too.
But how on earth do we process all of this change at once? I know that sounds profoundly existential and too deep for a Publisher's Page but follow me here.
As human beings, our hearts morph over time. And 2020 might have turned our hearts into pretzels. Like pretzels, hearts can be soft or hard. Perhaps they just have some sort of protective gear on them now, rather than being exposed on an unassuming sleeve. This scenario resonates with me.
Our physique changes too...um…and for some of us, not for the better. (I call it COVID -12). Some of us have come to terms with aging bodies, I know that I won’t let those female fat pockets get the best of me! But I’m talking about things that are way beyond moisturizer, yoga and vitamins.
The family dynamic shifts as well. It’s true. Kids really do grow up at supersonic speed. In our hearts and minds, we yearn for earlier days when we could pick them up and take them everywhere. Kids were our shadows and now some of us could be feeling lost in the shadows. Reality has hit and letting go has become something we must learn to do and do well. Watching a child grow into an adult is a blessing. They always come back, and may even bring a wife and baby along with them, as in my case! My oldest child, Derek, is even closer to us now than he was when he lived at home (if that is even possible). Ugh, I hear Kenny Rodgers in my ear again.
In recent years, one of the biggest things that I’ve struggled with was letting go of what turned out to be fabricated stability. I’m talking about a job that started as part time hustle but became my life. I thought I needed a new one, too much heartbreak, time for change. My boss and I had a blast with our successes, and I loved mastering all of the tasks. But ~ A girl who is known for breaking glass ceilings should never spend her all of her time on someone else’s hamster wheel. I know many of you get it. When I shared my pivotal moment on social media platforms recently, (resigning and taking the leap of faith to get back to being an entrepreneur) I received the highest engagement rates ever. Who knew so many of us also felt this way! Several years ago, after losing my parents, my husband, my best friend and what felt like my entire world, I had found solace and stability in putting the very essence of what defined me, on the smaller burner. I focused the lion’s share of my time on my new found “life” (or so I thought), growing and building someone else’s business—someone else’s dream. Rewarding in some ways, depleting in others. In the end, I felt empty.
In true Jami form, during that time, I worked my butt off, showed up early, and never took sick or mental health days (in hindsight, I totally regret this). I am very loyal, to a fault. Sprinkles of much-needed praise nourished my ego, but it wasn’t a panacea for my inner-confidence as an unstoppable entrepreneur. The further away I got from being true to myself, the more invisible I felt. It was like waving good-bye to myself going up in a hot-air balloon. I took my eye off the proverbial ball and let my soul deflate instead. Can you relate?
Note to self: *Working in an office full of women is NOT like working out in a gym full of ‘em! Lesson learned, no thanks! My “ah-ha” moment of reckoning inevitably came, and I am forever grateful that it did.
I left crazy, herky-jerky, precarious skid marks all over 2020. I resigned from my all-consuming job, and I’m now more energized than ever! Who’s with me?!? Who else out there is deliberately choosing to make 2020 a catalyst for change? Anyone else embracing that proverbial push of positivity needed to get one’s butt in gear? Have you woken up? Are you now boldly prioritizing what life looks like for you and not just drifting down a road that someone else owned?
Instead of resolutions, I say make a checklist. Maybe yours looks like mine? If so, I highly encourage you to re-imagine what 2021 will look like for you. Start committing to building your list now, before another year goes by! And remember, don’t ever fall prey to pigeonholes that you never desired in the first place. Trust me on this one. The gift of living your true passion is much heftier than the weight of your wallet.
Okay, that’s enough of that. For me, 2021 is about being brave (again). No excuses! Buckle up and soar in your own hot air balloon! Here are some examples of how I’m righting wrongs:
“No time for a workout” has changed to: “Three times per week and the muscle soreness actually feels amazing - makes me feel alive!” (Wow I missed that!)“Too tired to walk the pups after work” has changed to: “C’mon my furry friends - that’s all you’ve got?"
“Sit down to eat, what’s that?” – has changed to: “Put down the seconds. You’re getting a belly girl!”
“I feel stress knots in my stomach!” has changed to: “I’m waking up before the alarm excited to tackle a new day of opportunity!”
"I think I’ll check my friends on FB and Insta to see how they are doing” has changed to: “Hey, who’s up for a night of outdoor dining somewhere?"
Happy New Year to you, especially the New You!
And, yes, I’m thrilled to announce that PhillyFIT Magazine is BACK—better than ever baby! Whoop whoop!
Love and Burpees,