Back in my single, carefree, pre-kid days, I went to the gym six times a week without fail. I took Friday nights off, but otherwise, I was there almost every day. I love running, and so I logged miles on the treadmill while watching mindless TV on the screen in front of me. In those days, I had all the time in the world so I could go whenever I wanted. Running time was my time.
Even through pregnancy, I ran on the treadmill regularly. I eventually switched to walking when my bladder waved the white flag during my third trimester. Once I had kids, I moved out of my apartment and bought a house with my baby daddy. We got a treadmill, so I didn’t need to go to the gym to work on my fitness. Eventually, the only reminder I had of my gym membership was the monthly membership fee showing up on my bank statement.
After two years, I finally put “cancel gym membership” on my to-do list. Another six months later, I actually got around to getting to the gym to cancel it. When I got to the parking lot, I was surprised by the emotion that overwhelmed me. Why was I crying over canceling a gym membership?
It wasn’t because running was no longer a priority or because I don’t have time to work out. I still run several times a week, and the convenience of the treadmill in my basement + Netflix is basically the jam. When I really think about it, my gym membership was the last vestige of my old life. Canceling it was really admitting that I can’t go back to it. (The single, no-kids life, that is. Since my gentleman caller still hasn’t put a ring on it, I am technically still living the single life, but that’s a different post entirely.) I wonder if I subconsciously put canceling my membership at the bottom of the list, not because I was too lazy to make the five-mile drive, but because I wasn’t totally ready to signal the end of that era.
Tears at the Gym
Everything moved really quickly after I got pregnant with my first baby. None of it happened in the traditional “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage” order. There was no evolution from one step to the next. Baby number two came shortly thereafter, and then the speed at which life moved seemed to race by exponentially. I went from single with a cat to living with someone for the first time to mom of two in what seemed like the blink of an eye. I am not sure I processed all of that until I was sitting in the parking lot of Anytime Fitness, winding the door fob off my keychain so I could turn it in. One thing I am sure of? The fine people at the membership desk were definitely not prepared for the emotional basket case that walked in that day. Eh well. Tears in the gym. I know that’s not a first.
I wonder, do other women recall a moment that seemed like the end of an era in your life? Maybe it was when you finally donated your sorority sweatshirt. Or maybe when you first signed your name with your husband’s last name instead of your maiden name? Perhaps it was when you moved out of your apartment and in with your fiance, or maybe I am the only person who has experienced this? If I am not alone on this, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you…