Please Don't Call Me During "My Commute"

3 Min Read

As I enter Week 6 of remote working — while also being the teacher, the cook, and the referee — I find myself on calls somehow every single day exactly at 8 AM and 5 PM. I am particularly cranky in these moments as I continually switch between looking down at my watch and up at the screen and then back at my watch again.

Suddenly, I find myself closing my eyes and imagining... The sweet scent of a Starbucks grande chai latte. The familiar aroma of my faded car air freshener. The smell of a half-eaten banana tossed onto the passenger seat…

Yes, I miss my commute.

Like so many of us, I have missed many parts of my daily routine. I miss saying bye to my kids as they head off to school (I really miss this.) I miss going to the cafeteria at my office to grab a cup of soup. I miss tea time with my colleagues. I miss picking up bananas from the grocery store, I miss talking to neighbors, and I miss spontaneously going out to dinner with the family on a school night.

But of all of the daily things I missed, I never thought I would miss my commute.

That same commute that I complained, cried, grunted, and groaned about for seven years. The 17-mile stretch that on a bad day of traffic could take over 90 minutes one way. Yes, that very same commute. I miss it oh so much.

Because I don't have my commute anymore. On any given day, I eat a banana while getting the kids to finally change out of their pajamas. And then I officially start the morning tag-teaming with my husband on Zoom circle time, art history class, and "class meetings." I go from my desk to the kitchen table to the couch back to the desk, and back to the kitchen table.

I take some quick breaks for caffeine and devour a not-so-appetizing sandwich for lunch. And then I end calls anywhere between 6 and 7:30 PM only to head straight into the kitchen as I wrangle my kids and get my husband off one of his many calls. To find something, anything to eat for dinner.

Then we go to bed and start all over again.

And I miss my commute.

I miss avoiding that really big pothole on Washington Street. I miss that red light that never seemed to turn green on River Road. I miss my Starbucks stop. I miss my heated seat. I miss Dua Lipa, Maroon 5, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and the other cast of characters accompanying me on 75 minutes (up to 90 minutes) commute each way. I miss stopping for McDonald's drive-thru (soft-serve ice cream of course) on my way home on those days that work just really, really sucked.

I don't, however, miss the pedestrians that would dart onto the street from out of nowhere. Presenting me with the middle finger, and then shouting (which I couldn't hear, too busy listening to Adam Levine.) As they continued texting and walking while wandering in front of yet another crosswalk.

So please don't call me during "my commute." I need my commute time back. I am taking my commute time back.

In fact, I'll be blocking my calendar now for the commute time. I will boldly label it on Outlook as "Commute Time." Not for the whole 90 minutes each way. Which ironically seems like a luxury now.

I'll book "Commute Time" daily from 8:30 to 9:00 AM and then again from 5:30 to 6 PM. The exact time it takes me to change into new or out of old pajamas after a quick shower. Just in time to break up another shoving and kicking match between the kids, and ready to look in the fridge desperately hoping that a magical fairy came and just happened to make our dinner.

I can't wait to go back to my commute. The potholes, the construction, the drivers cutting me off, and devouring my McDonald's soft-serve ice cream as I'm Adam Levine serenades me. And most of all, I can't wait to sit in front of that red light again that takes so long to turn green. This time, I won't mind waiting.

I'll be sitting there toasting in my heated seat, smiling. Smiling big.

5 Min Read

How Fitness Saved My Life and Became My Career

Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da

If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.

In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.

These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.

After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.

About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.

When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.

Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.

Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.

Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.

This article was originally published September 12, 2019.