It's my birthday...happy birthday to me!! It's the first birthday since 2008 when I haven't been on a contest diet, unable to eat or drink the "fun foods" of my choosing. The last two birthdays have consisted of egg whites, chicken breasts and lots of asparagus and broccoli and extreme lack of carbs. Not so much fun. I am happily enjoying this day of being able to do what I want, when I want, and eat or drink what I choose. I know you're wondering how naughty I'm being...not so much. However, tonight will be wine, pizza and some crazy good dessert.
I got to thinking yesterday...about how much my life has changed in the last 2 years. Where I was just two short years ago was a far cry from where I am today. I was a stay at home mom of four. Not exactly my dream job, but the only choice our family really had when our "3rd" baby turned into "3rd and 4th". It didn't make sense for me to go back to work. The girls were 2 1/2, Brenden 5 and Natalie 12. I was a week out from my 3rd figure competition - the Vancouver Natural. I was on a very strict diet, lots of cardio, intense training, etc. I was the leanest I have ever been in my life (well, up to that point). I was really unhappy and felt trapped by my circumstances. In a marriage that was very unhealthy and far from fulfilling. I was pretty much just going through the motions of life, not really living. The only thing that really gave me joy was being in the gym and the special moments with my kids. I knew, 2 years ago on this day, that I was going to leave. It was inevitable, but I was waiting for the right time and I wasn't willing to give up the two spring competitions to make my move.
My friend Rich, always tells me his "Superball Theory" when I'm down in the dumps or going through a particularly rough time. "The harder it falls, the higher it bounces." He always assures me, with every hard fall I make, that I am going to rebound to a bigger and better place. He has been right every time. In the last two years I have had my fair share of "hard falls". There has never been a time where I was in complete despair wondering when I would ever find a way out of this place. Never. I've learned to accept responsibility for the choices I've made that get me to where I am and I have learned to never give up hope and to always have faith and most importantly to surround myself with an amazing "team" of friends who will remind me of my strength when I feel like I am in my weakest moment. They will challenge me to always be a better version of myself. And mostly, when I realize my dreams and how amazing and strong I really am, they are the ones who are there cheering me on, saying "if anyone can do this, Jules, YOU can." They are, no matter what, rising or falling, my number one fans.
In two years, I've become legally separated, had my share of financial struggles, returned to the workplace in a new career path, worked for 3 different employers, sent my babies to daycare and one off to kindergarten, competed in another 3 figure competitions, had an interesting experience with prescription diuretics and a rebound that screwed up my metabolism for the better part of a year, finalized my divorce and...opened my own gym and am living my life's dream. I stood in my gym yesterday with my dear friend, Elaine, looked at her and said..."Can you believe how much my life has changed in two years?" It's crazy really, how much has happened in two years and how completely my life has changed. I pretty much have just one speed...fast...and my life's dream definitely got put on the fast track. I couldn't be happier or more content. I love my life, I love my children and I am blessed with wonderful family and friends.
I am humbled by the many people who write to me and tell me that I inspire them, as well as the people I meet along the way in person that feel I'm an inspiration. I hope that my life inspires people who are in circumstances they want to change but fear there is nothing they can do about it. If your desire to change your life outweighs your fear of leaving your comfort zone, you can do absolutely anything your heart can dream. Change is not easy and growing is not without pain, but as Rich has always assured me, I assure you too, that the harder you fall, the higher you will rise. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Endure the pain and know that moving through it will bring you to a much better, happier place. And mostly...just be fearless!!!