I’m a nostalgic person.
Change isn’t my favorite thing (you can say that again).
I hold on tight to the things closest to my heart.
When I graduated college just a hair past three months ago,
I let out a huge sigh of relief.
Finally, after 18 continuous years of schooling,
I was deflated of stress and filled with the accomplishment to have finally run across my academic finish line.
I will not fool you that for the past three, hot summer months, I’ve enjoyed settling into a “big girl” job,
I’ve enjoyed the carefree and spontaneous nights,
I’ve enjoyed the depletion of deadlines and drafts.
Still residing in my college town,
I am more than aware that the fall semester begins Monday.
Fleets of beach cruisers. Target — a zoo of new roommate posses, bright bean bags, and closet organizers that will be neglected after the first week.
When I tell you that the past three months have felt like “summer” rather than the start of new chapter in my life… I think, I hope, that can be understood.
It’s all I’ve known. Seventeen summers.
Each one concluding in August, in time for the school bell to ring once again.
So the nostalgia I feel in my bones, the nostalgia of wanting to organize my non-existent notebooks, schedules, and such… tell me I haven’t been the only one…
holding onto school — more specifically college — and the five irreplaceable years of growth and discovery, independence and unforgettable friendships.
If you’re still curious where this post hold its roots, after two dozen lines of text, I can inform you without a doubt…
It’s been on my mind all summer long. With every push-up, with every PR deadlift, with every HIIT treadmill run…
In two days, I have to break-up with the WREC. In the past three years, I’ve built an incredibly strong (pun indeed) relationship with my university’s state-of-the-art recreation center. It’s been my first real (gym) relationship, really, as I’ve never held a public gym membership.
If only I had kept a tally of the laps I’ve run around the red and grey 1/8-mile indoor track.
If only I would have documented my physic now and then, it would be only the slightest indication of how being a WREC gym rat transformed me — transformed me into the fitness enthusiast that I am proud to title myself today.
If it weren’t for the WREC…
I would not have a 3/4-inch scar hiding under the brim of chin.
I would not have trained in the fashion that I did for half-marathons #3-6.
I would not have squashed my PR at Halfs #3 and #6.
I would not have been so inspired to take my first kettlebell class… to experience the resulting three weeks of soreness from swinging a 14lb. iron bell.
I would not believe I can now swing a 30lb. kettlebell with ease, deadlift 135lbs., and power out 100+ push-ups in a single workout.
I would not have the everlasting peace of mind from Sheena’s vinyasa flow yoga classes.
I would not have squeezed into my neon swim suit from high school, diving into my youth pastime of swimming mile after mile in the salty pool.
I would not have put on a persistent smile for that cute trainer… that cute trainer I now call my boyfriend.
I would not have spent a full summer studying to get certified as a group exercise instructor.
It isn’t so silly to say then, on Sunday, I’ll be ending a relationship of many many many firsts. The anxiety of not having said comfortable environment – one of the few places my confidence shined with every bead of sweat – will create a void in my life — momentarily.
The WREC may no longer be the enormous part of my daily life that it once was, but with a permanent scar, it will never be forgotten for the inner and outer strength I have gained, and will wear proudly, as I leave my last WREC workout Sunday — no longer a student, but an alumni with a strong, healthy and happy heart.