Life is like a chapter book

Life is a series of chapters, one era closing, while a new era opens.  Each chapter should have a smooth transition, one to the next, something that distinguishes each part from the previous and the upcoming chapter.  

When I was a young teenager I started babysitting, like most teenage girls, to make some money. Once I could drive, I started nannying in the summer, and from there I progressed to a minimum wage job.  When I was 17 I started working in a gym, doing front desk work, learning all about the life of being a gym rat, and I loved every minute of it.  It was there, when I turned 18, I learned about the Exercise Science degree at Western.  I went to college with a plan, graduate with a degree in Exercise Science, become a Personal Trainer.  I didn't work my freshman year of college, I did the whole college freshman thing.  Figured out what it was like to not live with mom and dad, be on my own schedule (sort of), meet new people, be in charge of my own choices.  Like most college freshman, I went home for the summer between Freshman and Sophomore year, I nannied, worked in the gym, studied to become a Group Fitness Instructor.  I also bought my own car that summer.  I saved up all summer long to have my own car, and $5,000 later that dream became a reality.  I passed my Group Fitness Instructor Cert, and I started looking for jobs in a Gym.  I was 19.

My Sophomore year I started teaching at the Rec Center and Bellingham Athletic Club.  I loved teaching Group Fitness.  I expanded my horizons, teaching different classes, and decided I wanted to take the Personal Trainer Cert.  So I did, I passed, and started working as a Personal Trainer.  The following summer, at 20, I moved home, one more time.  It was that summer that I took Anatomy, a jump start to my degree in Exercise Science, worked in the gym and continued to nanny.  

My Junior year I was working part time teaching at multiple different gyms and Personal Training, and because that wasn't enough, I got a job working retail at the Mall.  All while attending school.  I was focused, driven, and energized.  That summer, being freshly 21, I balanced 2 paid jobs and 2 unpaid internships.  Literally, I spent my summer either at the Mall or in a gym.  My focus and dedication was impressive.

My senior year I continued with 1 job at the BAC, picking up more hours, classes, and clients.  I studied hard in school, staying driven, but still trying to have fun.  I lived my life on a fully regimented schedule, flowing from one activity to the next, never feeling tired, or dull.  I turned 22 that year, I met Chris, and little did I know my life would change forever.  

I graduated college in the Fall, I moved back home with my parents, like a lot of post college grads do.  I worked in the gym I worked at in high school, and my 18 year old dream was coming true, only I wasn't happy.  Actually, I was miserable.  3 months of this, and I moved back to Bellingham, applied for Graduate School, and went back to working at the BAC and spending nearly every day with Chris.  Fall of 2008 I went back to school for my Masters degree, where I continued to juggle work and school (like most college students).  It wasn't until my Masters degree that I really got into cycling.  In 2009 I found myself loving riding my bike, previously I found my outlet from running, but ultimately I knew my body wasn't meant for running, and riding gave me the same outlet, the same feeling that running gave me, only I could walk after I went for a ride.  It was here where I learned to balance school, riding, and work.  I graduated my Masters in 2010, continued to work at the gym, opened my hours to more clients and rode my bike more, trained more, explored the outdoors.  

Since then I have continued to work, continued to train, continued to race.  I always found balance between everything, but then my love for the bike grew, my strength grew, and my desires and goals increased.  I continued to push myself beyond what my body knew, I became a better, stronger racer, but it was always a hobby.  In 2012 I entered my first UCI CX race, I did well, and all of the sudden I was traveling to races chasing UCI points.  In 2013 I went to more races, I improved upon my results from the previous year, and put a little more into my racing.  In 2014 I jumped in head first for a FULL UCI CX calendar, I juggled work, I tried to find balance, but I started to get tired, mentally and physically.  

2015 brought all new struggles.  The exhaustion I was experiencing from juggling racing, training, and working was unreal, I was cranky and tired all the time, I wasn't a fun person to be around.  When the 2015 season started, I was cracked, and the season hadn't even begun.  I was crying from exhaustion, from irritation to my first race of the year, complaining, angry, bitter.  Not a way to start the season.  I had lonely panic attacks sitting at host houses thinking about work, I struggled mentally, physically.  I was slowly losing the ability to juggle, to balance, and I continuously blamed myself, I used to be able to juggle multiple jobs, time with friends, and still exercise, but now I was struggling.  I don't know if it was years of wear and tear on me emotionally and physically, but I was cracked by the end of the season.  I took some time off work to recover, took a vacation to Hawaii, took time off the bike, and kept my hours low at work once I went back.  I slowly felt like my energy was increasing, my livelihood was back, and I didn't feel like an awful human being to be around.  By March I was in such a good place in my life, it made me realize how miserable I was in 2015.  I didn't know I was struggling so bad, until I stepped back and looked at how I was living my life the previous year.  I thought I would be able to maintain this upward projectile of positivity in my life, until things started to crumble once I started mountain bike racing in the Spring.  Anxiety, stress, and fatigue was coming back.  The guilt of leaving my clients behind, while I take off for a race, the anxiety of not getting enough sleep, of standing on my feet when all I want to do is curl up on the couch to take a nap, it became unbearable.  

I love what I do.  I love my clients.  I am so lucky to have such amazing clients in my life, but I made a choice and I quit my job.  I'm given 1 life to live, one ride, one chance, multiple chapters.  This chapter, it's taking me somewhere else, it doesn't mean I won't come back to my 1 true love of working with the human body, but for now, I'm going to fulfill the new chapter with adventures, goals, friends, and love.