Looking Back and Growing Forward: Embracing a Growth Mindset

The 10 year Anniversary of the opening of our Menlo Park studio has given me pause to reflect and look back and how my own life has changed since 2009. There are a few more candles on my birthday cake and more “laugh” lines on my face. All a testament to a decade of a life well lived!

 

In 2009, I was a full-time mom raising my 3 daughters. Amy was 17 and a junior in high school and beginning to look ahead to college. Molly was 15 and a freshman at St. Francis. Abby was 12 and attending St. Simon’s school. I was a part-time chauffeur, laundry service, short order cook, counselor, volunteer, etc, etc…And I LOVED every second of those years. (Well, maybe not every second!). While the girls were at school I was running a lot of miles at Rancho San Antonio with my running partner. We logged close to 40 miles per week when we were training for marathons, qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon twice. The endorphin rush of a good long run is something I still enjoy, albeit at a much slower pace. Looking back, I could mourn what is no longer… our home filled with the laughter of my girls and their friends (especially during high school when our home became home base after school). Oh, how I loved spending time preparing snacks at the kitchen island, silently listening to the deep inner workings of the teenage heart and mind. I still manage a run with my running partner on Friday mornings but they are shorter (and slower) and we don’t spend an hour afterward lingering at Starbucks over a non-fat latte. Yes, those years were fantastic but instead of longing to go back, I have learned to look forward. To “grow” forward and embrace a growth mindset.

 

In roughly 2010, our therapist posed the question of “what is next for you, Cathy, once your girls grow up and your nest is empty?” I had to give some serious thought to the fact that I was nearing a “forced retirement” of sorts. What would my next chapter be? I still had a few years to ponder my options. Would I go back and renew my teaching credentials? Go back to work? Devote time into more volunteer endeavors? Be a lady of leisure? 😉

 

Fast forward to 2011, I was taking classes at the Los Altos studio (after an IT band injury after the Boston Marathon). I worked at the front desk and grew to love the community of instructors and the clients. When Erin approached me to ask if I would be interested in training to teach, I thought she had lost her mind. I was 49 years old!!! A fitness instructor??  After consulting with Jeff and the girls, I leaned into my self-doubt and said YES! Was I scared? You bet I was! Would I be able to get up in front of clients/friends who once viewed me as a student, put a mic on and lead the class?? Would I remember what to say to cue them into position? Would clients be put off by my age? My inner critic was large and in charge! Training to teach allowed me the opportunity to confront that inner mean girl, lean into the challenge and flex the muscles of a growth mindset.

 

The decision to teach at Alkalign has changed my life in more ways than I can say. This chapter of my life has been incredibly fulfilling.  I love what I do and look forward to what is ahead at Alkalign and in other areas of my life. My three teenagers from 2009 are now embracing their own growth mindsets. Amy is 27 and getting married in August. She and her fiance, Max, will be heading to Germany in September so that he can pursue a master’s degree.  Molly will be moving from Washington, DC where she has been a pediatric transplant nurse at Georgetown to Seattle for a job at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Abby will graduate in May from Villanova University and is heading to NYC to work as an Economics Consultant. They are fearlessly embracing the unknown of what is to come. I couldn’t be more proud of them and I look forward to watching them continue to blossom.

 

My nest may be empty but my life is full because of my connections and community at Alkalign. As for Jeff and I, we are excited about what life has in store for us. We look back with so much gratitude while setting our sights ahead to a bright future.  

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