When I was home for the holidays this past December, I spent a lot of time thinking about the things I want to accomplish in 2016. This year, I’m turning 25, and I feel like it’s a good time to close the door on the “I’m a recent graduate just trying to figure it out” attitude. Truth be told, I am not a recent graduate. I was done with college at 21 and I’ve held jobs at three very different companies since then. I’m at the point now where I know who my friends are post-college, I know what my hobbies are, and I know how I like to spend my time. I couldn’t say a lot of those things a few years ago, and I am genuinely happy to leave my early twenties behind.
I spent the majority of 2015 thinking about what I would like for my future, but I didn’t do much beyond thinking. Turns out, it’s REALLY scary to start putting momentum behind your plans. What if you fail? What if you’re not very good at it? What if it’s a mistake? What if you lose money? What if you change your mind? What if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing? There are so many reasons to hit pause on the things you want to do, and it’s not exactly a walk in the park once you decide to hit play, either. But I’ve come to discover that it’s a hell of a lot less stressful to start than it is to sit around and watch other people do the things you want to be doing.
So what do I want to do that’s so terrifying for me? A lot of things. I wanted to launch this blog for 2 years, but I was intimidated by WordPress and HTML and DSLR cameras and successful bloggers. I want to learn how to do a handstand in yoga. I want to own my own fitness studio and learn how to make wedding cakes. I want to own as many pairs of crazy leggings as my apartment can hold. Down the road, I’d like to write young adult novels and be the basketball/baseball/football mom who brings cookies to every game. Where to begin?
Step one was dedicating January to getting this blog off the ground. If you’re reading this, step one is complete! Step two involved doing a ton of research and then pulling the trigger before I could wimp out: I signed up for the American Council on Exercise’s (ACE) Group Fitness Instructor program to become a certified fitness professional. I auditioned to be an instructor at Flywheel (my favorite spin studio!) over a year ago, and while I didn’t get the job, I learned that I loved being on that podium and that this was something I really wanted to do. I realized I couldn’t rely on my high school sports background or current workout regimen to prove to people that I was qualified to instruct others. I had no idea that ACE or the other fitness cert companies (NASM, ACSM, etc) offered group instructor certification. I assumed you could only be certified as a personal trainer, which is something I have zero interest in doing at this time. I also didn’t realize that this certification was something you could do on your own time, a major perk.
As I write this, I’m on week 4 of a 12-week study program with ACE. I won’t lie, it’s a very overwhelming process. My textbooks look innocent enough, but each chapter is jam packed with information that all seems to be essential knowledge. As tough as it is to find time to read and study each week, I love what I’m learning. It’s pretty fun to go to yoga and think about which muscle groups are being worked in each pose, and I had a lightbulb go off when I was having a hard time doing a plyometric circuit at the gym last week. I had to get my CPR certification, and I thought it was going to be such a lame way to spend an afternoon, but it was so interesting! I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a huge nerd.
Normally I’m not the kind of person who gets excited by the new year, but I have a great feeling about 2016. So many of my friends are embarking on awesome journeys that have nothing to do with their full-time jobs. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by people who are embracing their passions and who are motivated by something other than financial reward. My friend Lauren signed up for yoga teacher training; Joy and Justin are re-launching their blog this month and creating a podcast to go along with it; Alison is hard at work volunteering with YoungLife and changing the lives of some lucky young women in our community.
Millennials get a bad rep for having too high of expectations, too much a sense of entitlement, and too ambitious dreams. We’re a generation that was told we can do anything we want with our lives, so we’re making our own rules. Maybe that does make some of us arrogant brats, but I’m proud to belong to a generation of people who are shameless about going after the kind of life they want to lead. Here’s to you, 2016!
What are you most looking forward to this year?