Kevin’s Story – “My Truth”

Unless something changes, things stay the same. Simple right? Now what if  “something” has been a part of your life for thirty years?

I know that for me, at the age of 48, after 30 years of doing the same things, it seemed to me that I was never going to change. Deep down, I knew I wasn’t happy and that big changes had to occur. Not only did I need to change gears, I needed to throw away the bike and get a whole new one! Instead, I was riding the same bikes, pedaling away, pretending it was brand new and working just fine! 

Rewind it thirty years back, I had just graduated from South High School in Minneapolis, and decided that I was going to take a year off of academics pursue my dream, a profession in music. Out of the house, away from my parent’s rules, I found a new freedom. I also found an obsession with going out and drinking with my peers. That obsession, became my routine, became my normal. . and that didn’t change . . until last year. 

Somewhere along the way, long after I sold my drum set to pay the rent, I found group exercise. At first, I was embarrassed to go, thinking it was just for girls.  But soon I found myself loving it and before I knew it, I was an instructor. This was the way I could become that rockstar of my dreams! I can have a microphone, play loud music and people will love my classes! Boom ! 

In truth, I really hadn’t changed much at all. After the music was over, after the sweaty hugs and high fives, after the endorphin high began to dissipate . . I was drinking again. The pedal strokes stayed the same even I tried to change the road. 

I was a living contradiction. I had a dilemma I could not solve. Want to know one profound difference between being a rockstar and a fitness instructor? Fitness instructors are healthy, fitness instructors promote healthy living, not “partying”.

In May of 2016, thirty years after graduating high school, I finally realized I needed to change, and change big! It wasn’t a lightning bolt moment. It was a tide, slow and steady. I had to come this realization, this moment of truth, over many days of deep reflection. An honest look at where I was. I had to face my truth.

The truth was nothing was going to change unless I changed. Me. Nobody else. So I set out to make a change. One step at time. First was routine. I set my alarm for 6am everyday. I went to bed at 11pm. I did a lot of walking, a lot of cycling. I also did something new too, meditation. Sitting at the beach, I thought about my place here, and role in the life of others. I came to realize, I am not a rockstar, just a man. Human and fragile and trying. I had to deflate my ego a bit. My life is a gift that is not to be wasted. If I want to be in better service to others, I need to start with myself first. Then others can see what change looks like. What better way to contribute and inspire? Better than the roar of applause or the thrill of a party. 

Many people have told me recently how much I have changed. Though I have changed, what remains the same, is my love of music, my yen for fitness and my joy in life.I am proud of the big changes I made in my life, so I can live those truths to the fullest. The rewards are worth this epic journey. There is still much to be done; change happens slowly, a day at a time. Thank you to my enduring wife Kim and my family and friends who have been with me along the way. I could not have had the courage and strength to do it alone.

Unless something changes, things stay the same. Change Happened. I Changed. My Truth. 

written with SHiFT Blogger Emily Webster 

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