Written by: Rachel Embry
In just twelve years, I will be 50. Like many other women, just saying those words sends a cold little shiver and a gasp of panic through my psyche. Growing up on a farm in rural west Texas, I could have never envisioned what my life would look like in my late 30’s. I might have thought that life would be completely depressing if I didn’t have a husband, children, and a mini-van. I’m quite sure I never pictured myself running a marathon or seeing the Eiffel Tower or leading a large group-fitness outdoor boot camp. I definitely didn’t foresee myself living in a large city or running sub 8-minute miles. Life is amazing because of how impossible it is to predict.
At 38 I find myself healthier, stronger, faster, and surer of what I live for, believe in, and love than ever before. As I approach the phase in the human experience where many people face a crisis of identity and a sudden panic about the meaning of the life that is so quickly passing them by, I am excited about where I am and where I am going. You see, for almost a decade, beginning at around age 25 and continuing into my mid-30’s…I wasn’t living. I wasn’t thriving. I was barely surviving. I found myself trapped in a toxic situation that drained me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I lost Rachel. I lost purpose, I lost energy, I lost friends, I lost happiness and I lost the joy of experiencing life fully. When I found myself on the other side of those dark years, my thirst for MORE LIFE became unquenchable. I began to travel more and I began getting involved in the Dallas fitness community through running and boot camps. I started making new friends again…friends that were positive and like-minded in their enjoyment of an active lifestyle.
As I became more active and grew stronger and fitter, I marveled at how GOOD I felt. I fell in LOVE with how good I felt! Suddenly I wanted everyone around me to feel this good too! I wanted everyone around me to experience the exhilaration of a runner’s high or the sweaty but satisfying release after a hard workout. I wanted everyone around me to feel the freedom that fitness brought to my spirit! One day it suddenly clicked. With much conviction, I realized that this fitness thing is about much more than just aesthetics and appearance. God has placed a purpose and a calling on each of our lives. We have a work to do during our time here, a mark to leave, a mission to carry out. The trajectory of other people’s lives may depend on that calling and purpose. But if we are not healthy, if we are tired, depressed, overweight, battling health issues and low-energy…we can’t carry out that mission and purpose. Time that we could be making an impact on our families, our communities, and our world is spent at home on a couch, exhausted from the day or in a doctor’s office or hospital bed. It became crystal clear to me. This health and fitness thing is more than a hobby. It is more than just a good idea or something we probably ‘should’ do. It is absolutely critical. It is literally life or death. It can change the whole quality and direction of your life. The lack of it can prematurely end your life. And the tragedy of that is too overwhelming for me to stand idly by and do nothing about.
“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life”- George Sheehan
So I run. And run a lot. I go to the gym, to Camp Gladiator, to fitness classes. I meal prep and meditate and stretch and drink water. And then I talk about it to people. I take pictures and post on Instagram and write about it on Facebook and then do it again the next day. I do this not to brag but to hopefully motivate, to inspire, to give someone the spark of interest that may lead them to try getting active for themselves.
Now as another birthday and chapter of life approaches, I am excited to take everything to a new level. I’m going to run faster and farther and bring more people with me. I am going to get stronger and leaner and help others do so as well. I am going to put better things in my body and teach others how to do the same. There are some exciting new opportunities for me to pursue these passions and share the LIFE with other people (which I will elaborate more about in the days to come) so I wanted to start writing about it. I wanted to start sharing the things that I learn from, that give me inspiration and “ahas!” and that keep me excited about this journey. So thus…this blog is born! I just want to experience more and more life….but I want others around me to experience it too! Let’s grow and glow for these goals together and feel good doing it!
Health is not about the weight you lose, but the life you gain!