Be Happy, Be Strong, Be Bright
A year ago, I walked up to a neon-clad group huddled together on the grass of La Jolla Cove. Everyone was smiling, hugging, shouting - at 6:29 AM. I shyly and awkwardly approached - overwhelmed, intimidated and pretty out of shape. A year later this morning, I approached the fountain at Balboa Park, smiling as I recognized my people, my tribe, overwhelmed with gratitude, back in shape and proudly shouting "fuck yeah."
Like I've said plenty of times, I moved to San Diego just over a year ago without knowing a single person in a 2+ hour radius. While, sure, I had done this when I moved to Tennessee and survived (with the best possible friends when I eventually moved back west), I didn't realize how difficult it was to make friends in "real life" when you weren't immediately forced upon other people inside classrooms and lecture halls. Other than work, how did people meet one another?
Just a few weeks into San Diego (when I finally had a place to live!) and after weeks of crying that I had absolutely no friends or acquaintances, I decided to push myself even further out of my comfort zone in a point of desperation to be honest. Cue walking up to the group in La Jolla.
I had no idea what I was in for.
The last year has been a whirlwind of laughter, joy...and sore, toned muscles. This group was so much more than I expected. Sure, the free fitness is amazing - where else can you get a killer workout for nothing...and all before work...and with a huge, dopey smile on your face?! But, this group of neon-clad dorks has become my family whether they know it or not. This tribe lifted me up (at times, quite literally) when I fractured my hip - the outpouring of positivity, the visits in the hospital, the texts and calls and referrals to PTs, the personal yoga sessions (s/o to the lovely, talented yogi Lauren Padula) mean more than I can say. This tribe has helped me seamlessly build a professional network in a new city - in a non-intimidating way. This tribe has encouraged me to shed a little bit of my huge inner introvert - it's amazing how much more outgoing and confident I've become in the last year, and I credit the total contagious energy of the people I surround myself with every Monday, Wednesday...and nearing on every day between now. This tribe has always been down for an early morning adventure and a detour to a coffee shop, among my favorite things in life...but never something I was able to find people to do with. This tribe has given me a new outlook on life with a simple mantra of "be happy, be strong, be bright" - something about repeating that to myself resonates on a daily basis and really forces me to see the bright and happy side of things, to not take life so seriously and to laugh and smile a whole lot. At the end of the day, this tribe celebrates your successes, mourns your losses, provides company when you need it most...and is always down for a solid torturous sweat sesh. In reference to the latter, I credit my rediscovered speed, my new drive to everyone in the tribe - every high five, "you got this!," smile.
A year later, I selfishly thank myself for really pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and waking up early that Monday morning to workout with a group that honestly overwhelmed me. I also thank my old coworker who constantly posted about November Project DC & Baltimore on social media, which made it intriguing to me. Mostly, I thank the people in the November Project for the constant support, the friendship, the laughter, the shoulder to cry on, the push to go a little faster and the inspiration to work harder in just about every facet of my life.
Sappiness done - happy one year anniversary, NPSD. You really made this city my home.