The Lesson of a Late Bloomer

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I was a late bloomer to the whole concept of athleticism. I loathed gym class back in junior high so much that in high school I took up band just so that I could use the fall football marching season as a PE credit. Silly as it sounds, the whole thought of donning gym attire and attempting to do what never came natural to me was terrifying. However, looking back after 30 years or so, I wonder why I hated doing what I have come to adore these days--being active.

When I was 67 pounds heavier, walking was beginning to become a chore, and tying my shoes was even tougher. There I was: age 43, with hypertension and heart disease in full bloom, feeling as though I were much older. Not only did I feel older, I looked older AND acted older, too.

On February 9, 2005, I jumped on my elliptical at home and logged in 10 minutes worth of activity. I can honestly say those were the longest 10 minutes of my life. I literally felt as though my heart was going to jump out of my chest, while my lungs burned with every breath as I slowly watched each second tick away. I did this not once, not twice, but three times a day. It was truly the only way I could accumulate the 30 minutes a day worth of activity.

I continued each week until I could log a little longer time each session. By the end of May I was able to do 30 minutes at one time. But then the dreaded plateau hit, the first of many. So I decided to up my time to 45 minutes, then to an hour.

November 2005. Nine months into my journey, I decided to join a gym. I can’t tell you how nervous I was walking up the stairs to the gym floor. I felt as though I had a sign around my neck that read, “Newbie on board. Has no clue what she is doing.” But the funny thing is, no one said a thing. Many people smiled and made eye contact, but no one remarked to me that I was too old or too fat to be there.

As the weeks and months progressed, I made lots of new friends and not one person has ever told me that I could NOT do anything. In fact I was probably my biggest obstacle when it came to trying a new activity.

When I took up running in March 2006, I was determined to become a runner. As many of my running mates have learned, when I was in 6th grade many, many years ago, I was unable to complete the Presidential Fitness Run portion that would allow me to get the much coveted Presidential Fitness patch. It wasn’t that I didn’t get the patch that hurt so much but having the PE teacher tell me that I would NEVER be a runner. She probably had no clue at the time how stinging her quick comment was to an influential 12-year-old , but it was, and it stayed with me for a very long time. Each and every race that I run to this day allows me to prove that I AM A RUNNER.

While I never knew what happened to the PE teacher, the words stuck with me for well over 33 years until I crossed my first finish line--and then I knew I WAS A RUNNER! No matter how many years pass, believe that you can knock down the roadblocks that others put in your way of reaching your goals.

And PLEASE be careful what you say to your kids...while the intentions may be well-meaning, children may not understand the context in which they were intended and this may have a lasting impression on them.

Did you have anyone say something hurtful to you that has kept you from meeting your goal(s)? Has anyone made a comment to your child that has had a lasting impression, if so what did you do to help your child through the obstacle? Do you believe people intentionally say things in a hurtful manner thinking that this will inspire you to change?