A Decade of Perspective
A post I never imagined writing yet here I am. A post that’s made me cry, laugh, smile & sit in total silence in an overwhelming state of humility.
A post to reflect on a single moment that changed the course of my entire adult life.
A moment that happened 10 years ago this very day when I put a key into a lock & turned it.
I opened a front door, walked through a lobby with purple carpeting & into a warehouse that would be converted from a filthy space with a large meat freezer in the middle of the floor to a gym.
What has transpired since that day can’t be fully explained but I’ll do my best with this long summary full of true yet random & somewhat unconnected thoughts.
Well, Jen, here goes.
Sometimes I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I said to my husband, “You know what, honey? Go for it. Quit your job & open ‘your’ gym.”
And, I still don’t know how the hell I got roped into it. And, honestly, I don’t know how to thank him enough for burning our ships & including me in the most wild ride of our lives.
I’ve learned some of the hardest & best lessons ever during these last 10 years.
I’ve learned that partnerships are the wrong way to go. They cost me friendships; one in particular still crushes my heart all these years later. #bestb
I’ve learned members will come & go. For a large portion of you, I’m happy you left because we weren’t a fit for each other.
For a small portion of you, I always hoped you would return to RtB. It’s why you heard from me now & then. It’s why I remembered you when you walked in years later.
What can I say? I missed you.
I’ve learned some of you missed me too.
I’ve learned a few other things too.
- I’ve learned to be a confidant, a cheerleader & an educator.
- I’ve learned when to use nicer words, harsher words & when to simply shut up.
- I’ve learned when to let go & when to fight for something or someone I believe in.
- I’ve learned some of you love to be hugged, some of you are avid fist bumpers & some of you cringe when another athlete goes in for a sweaty high five.
- I’ve learned that some of you smile when you want to cry.
- I’ve learned that I’ll cry with you when you can’t hold back.
- I’ve learned that a lot of people were terrified to walk into my gym for the first time, that it is totally intimidating in photos & that no one thought “the Jenny” in our promo videos was a real person.
- I’ve learned a lot of people still don’t believe I’m real.
- I’ve learned that when a pandemic pretty much took over the world, my gym family wouldn’t pull their payment methods but would carry on as if nothing had changed. They would smile when our virtual workouts had technical hiccups, laugh when my husband insisted I cheated on Core Cut & root for us in every possible way.
- I’ve learned that loyalty is rare but extremely beautiful.
- I’ve learned to be truly grateful & thankful.
To my family & close friends (framily) who have genuinely loved, guided & supported me in countless ways, you can’t begin to understand how much you mean to me or how much I love you.
I will never ever ever have the words. I just hope I’ve been as fabulous & amazing to you as you have been to me.
To my gym family who may or may not love me but truly love “what” you’ve found at my small gym, I want you to know I’ve noticed every single thing you’ve done over the years. I appreciate you beyond words & I cherish every card, every gift & every smile. I value your trust, belief & support more than you know.
To the questionable humans who trashed my gym’s name & spread some untruths & who stole time, actual products, services & cash from me, I thank you because I learned some really valuable lessons from your behaviors & attitudes.
I’ve learned what not to do & what not to say. And, I’ve learned that karma is a b*tch.
To all of the other gym owners & gurus, wow; I was truly clueless about a few things. I’m grateful I was never too proud to ask for help or admit I had no idea what I was doing. I still have questions. I still have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ve grown as a woman, a small business owner, a coach, an athlete & a human being.
I’ve somehow balanced a life that completely intertwines my personal & professional selves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I’ve been strong, focused, totally irrational & a complete basket case within the same 5 minutes.
I’ve cried in the shower, screamed into pillows & forgotten too many times that it’s ok to not be ok.
I’ve disgusted some people & I’ve changed others’ lives for the better.
I’ve stumbled, literally fallen flat on my face & made countless mistakes.
I’ve witnessed athletes do more than they ever thought possible & others completely give up on themselves.
I’ve thought about giving up on myself too.
I’ve questioned whether I’m qualified to do what I do & if I’ve really earned the right to be a player in my industry.
I’ve been cruel to myself over my weight & my physical abilities.
I’ve laughed when I’ve wanted to cry.
I’ve smiled when I’ve wanted to scream.
I’ve worn leggings that didn’t give me the support I needed & cheaply made sports bras because the “good ones” were “too expensive for ‘little ole me.’”
I’ve learned that spending money to get the look I want to feel my best is ok.
I’ve learned to dress like a gym owner because I am one.
I’ve disliked myself.
I’ve liked myself.
I’ve loved myself.
I’ve conquered every damn fear I’ve had.
I’ve accepted who & what I am.
I’ve morphed into the Jeneral.
There has been more ugliness than my family & inner circle know. 99% of which will go to my grave & 1% I’ve needed my prayer warriors for.
There has been an unexplainable joy & a sense of pride that only a married couple in business together would understand.
There has been a heated discussion. Or 50.
Maybe more like 500.
There has been shared humility that has dropped us to our knees countless times.
There have been enough tears to fill an ocean & enough smiles to take me to the end of my life.
There have been moments where my anxiety was so bad it triggered back pain & migraines. There have been others where my laughter couldn’t be contained & I felt like a kid without a worry in the world.
And, there have been so many indescribable moments in between.
I’ve been torn down emotionally. I’ve been encouraged & rebuilt.
Above all, I’ve been shown grace repeatedly.
I’ve never once felt anger or resentment towards my husband for pursuing his God job. I’ve never missed his bonus checks, our ridiculous bank accounts or buying anything I wanted anytime I wanted it. I’ve never missed his former professional title that nearly destroyed him. I’ve never missed crying myself to sleep worrying about him.
I’ve only looked back once over the last 10 years – the day I hugged my coworkers for the last time, packed up my personal belongings, skipped through the parking lot & turned around to wave goodbye to the building I would never walk into again.
The day I headed to my gym as an official full timer.
The day the final Sweeney ship was burnt.
I’ve asked myself over & over again if I would & could do it all again. The answer is yes.
The answer is actually @#$% yes (but only if you really know me).
For every moment of absolute hell, there have been 100 moments that have filled my soul. For every horrible human being who walked in my door, there have been 100 who challenged me & changed me for the better. For every mistake I’ve made, I’ve had 100 successes. For every $100 lost, God has provided another $100. And, for every punch that landed square on my face, there have been 100 hands extended to pick me off the ground.
The bottom line is I can’t imagine where I’d be without my gym. And, I can’t imagine who I’d be without my gym. Both are truly unfathomable.
Happy 10 Year Anniversary, RtB. I want to hate you but I genuinely love you with my whole heart & my whole a$.
It has been & will continue to be an honor & a privilege until the very day the Man upstairs says, “you’ve reached the ONE I sent you, Jen.” And then this chapter will end & a piece of my heart will shatter into a million pieces.
But for now, you’ll find me on my gym floor.
I’ll be the girl in metallic leggings, hanging Parental Advisory signs, doing burpees, dancing like no one else is in the room & asking my crew what their entrance/walk up song would be…or their stripper song depending on my mood.
Then I’ll pray for them like I’ve always done.
And, I hope they’ll pray for me.