Friends with Benefits

Not like that you pervert.

I literally mean that my friends come with additional benefits (other than their adorable little faces).  What exactly are those benefits you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

I think it’s important that you know that I cannot take total credit for having this awe inspiring moment of fitness and health that arrived to me like a burning bush to Moses.  I actually owe it to friends for getting my head on straight.  It was as though we simultaneously had life changing moments, but all for unique reasons.  We all needed a change that required us to make fitness and better choices a priority.

I’ve written about it before, but turning 25 hit me like… turning 25.  It is never easy to accept that you are no longer 16.  Life suddenly smacks you across your newly acquired cellulite and says “you cannot eat whatever you want, do whatever you want, live however you want.”  Even though there were consequences then, they never seemed as real.  Even the lupus felt unreal, I felt healthy, I looked healthy-  I must be healthy. Well, as I have spoken about previously, that caught up to me this year.

When I began my personal journey in May I was a weaker person.  I had limited commitment, limited self-control, and limited motivation.  Getting in shape just didn’t seem worth it- However, my couch, take out Chinese, and some good TV in my PJs did.  It was that post college, I have a career, I’m tired, slump phase, and quite honestly, it’s an easy phase to be in.  Because it feels so good.  I legitimately did not care, and I felt fine with my life choices.  Now, I explained how having a flare is what made me hit my breaking point and come to the realization that I needed some physical reform.  I cannot speak for my friends and tell you what made them arrive to their own personal catharsis-esque moments, but I will tell you that they are the ones that kept me going.

First it began with yoga.  We were a tribe of friends going to through hot yoga.  Occasionally we would glance at each other if something that needed to be discussed after class happened, for example any time the guy who makes provocative breathing noises would breath.  At times we acknowledged a ridiculously challenging posture just by making eye contact.  You can say a lot with your eyes in a 90 degree 1.5 hour class.   We would give slight smiles for a job well done that actually meant, HOLY COW- YOU JUST DID THAT, YOU ARE AN AMAZING SUPER-HUMAN… maybe I was just saying that with my smile, but whatever.

We would take this challenge with us to Bikram yoga.  Which led to longer amounts of eye contact, and 15 minute debriefs in the air conditioned bathroom following class.  We would high five and say, “we are survivors!”  I began to look forward to spin class, and step, and the other classes we would challenge together.  My workouts became friend time in their own way.  By sweating it out together we were able to commiserate on the difficulties after class and realize that we were in it as a team.  At times I would not have gone if it wasn’t for a phone call, “are we meeting on the corner to bike over at 4?” Or the pinky-swears that we are indefinitely getting up at 9 for the class on Saturday.  Even a phone call from Danielle, living in the city, telling me about a boot camp class, made me realize- why can’t I get up and just do something right now?!  They all inspired me when I didn’t have the strength to inspire myself.

Friends serve many purposes, but I’m glad to have friends that regularly make me want to be a better version of myself. I have come a long way since May. Surprisingly, even to myself, I actually enjoy running on my own now.  Running is now my release and a cleansing period from my day.  It is a time to reflect and relax and to push my abilities and challenge myself.  I needed my inspirations to get me to where I am today.  My friends are the ones that keep me because they keep going.

Am I perfect?  Far from it.  Every day requires some inner strength to get me out the door.  Even if I am tired, or the day was long, I know it will all be worth it in the end.  And do not get me wrong- I still love my couch, take out Chinese, some good TV, and hanging out in my PJs, but now I do it after I run.

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