Seventeen years ago today I started training as a Group Outdoor Personal Trainer at Le Page Park. For the next 14 years, around this time of year, we would celebrate the milestone. I would think about the words I wanted to say to express my gratitude for the previous years. As the years went by the gratitude deepened. I had a lot to be grateful for. I was surrounded by a wonderful community, by people who inspired and supported me. We shared our lives – grief, sadness, milestones, celebrations and always lots of laughter and fun.
Starting the business, back in 2004, was one of the most challenging things I had ever done. I remember seeing a Lawyer before I started. He told me to stay where I was – with a regular (low) income, superannuation, holidays and sick leave. I considered his words and then wrote him a letter to thank him for his advice, but I was going ahead. I wasn’t enjoying my job – I hated going there. Weekends couldn’t come around quick enough, Sunday nights I was always an emotional mess. I wanted to do something that was challenging and fulfilling. Something that inspired me, that I would be passionate about. I found all of that – and so much more.
Then in 2019, I closed the business. I had looked at so many options to keep doing what I was doing. With the threat of legal action over me, if I did continue the business under another name, I decided to close. The most heart-breaking decision I have ever made. It broke my heart and sent me down a path where I felt so much grief and sadness. I can’t explain the loss I felt. It ran deep and it hurt – a lot.
The previous year I had been lucky to meet my kind, smart, gentle Neil. A man who shared many of my values, hopes and dreams. After closing the business – struggling with my grief – I sold my home. I left my puppy friends, neighbours, my family and Step family and moved to a rental in Balwyn. Sharing a house with Neil and his 2 teenagers was challenging. (Neil had 100% custody of his teenagers. Now they are 19 and 20 and live with us.) Many times, we questioned what we were doing. And then the pandemic hit, and it became hard – a word I rarely use. In September 2020, we moved to Heathcote Junction. Hoping to be soothed by the country life and a beautiful home. It took about 9 months of anguish and arguments. Learning how to live with each other, to change and communicate was a rocky path. A path also filled with lockdowns and uncertainty. We stumbled many, many times. A week ago Neil and I celebrated 3 years together. We share something that is hard to describe in words – the best word we have is love.
Two years on, I can think about my Step years, my Step family, without my heart, feeling like it’s being ripped out. I am so grateful for those years. I learned to be strong, resilient, adaptable, flexible. I learned what it was like to be surrounded by a strong, supportive community.
To my Legends – thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your fitness for over 10 years.
To everyone else – thank you for joining our community and embracing it in so many ways.
To my puppy friends, we miss our walks still. Without you, I don’t know how I would have survived 2019.
To my sister – it was a rocky path but your commitment to support me is cherished deeply.
Once this lockdown ends I want to arrange a catch-up with my Step family. A chance to celebrate what we had and what we have.
Neil and I look forward to a time when we can have visitors and share our beautiful home with you all.
Two years ago I started an online training group. Every week I post 2 lesson plans to be completed that week We train together online every Tuesday at 6.15pm. Belinda, Cathie, Dagmar – thank you for trusting me to be your online trainer. You gave me focus when I had none. You continued to laugh at my jokes – even when they weren’t funny.
I am also blessed to have a group of Tai Chi ladies that train with me regularly (at the moment 4 times a week!). Your wisdom and understanding keep me grounded.
In the last 2 years, there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t missed my training days at Le Page Park with my Step family. Thank you for the wonderful memories.