Happiness and Health Club Membership

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

November 15th, 2008 • Mind-Body MedicinePrint Print

Last week, I was poignantly aware that despite the many blessings in my life these days — not the least of which are a dream job and a dream apartment — I have not been happy. The root cause, I realized, is that I’ve been feeling uprooted and lost in life.  I’ve gone through a lot of changes recently, including but not limited to…

  • moving from a quiet Northern California suburb to a loud Southern California city
  • adjusting to the culture shock
  • getting used to driving every day
  • starting a new job
  • working face-to-face with people, instead of phone-to-phone
  • wearing outfits other than pink and blue pajamas
  • finding my way around town
  • letting go of toxic family members whom I love dearly
  • growing out of old and close friendships
  • making new friends
  • letting go of new friends who can’t deal with my chronic pain
  • finding venues to dance
  • putting together a new health care team
  • finding new people to help with schlepping and cleaning
  • joining a program to establish healthy eating patterns
  • finding places to romp around in nature
  • finding places to bike safely

Although most of the changes have been for the best, they also have been challenging, overwhelming, and exhausting.  What’s more, I’ve been really missing Berkeley — plethora of bike paths, changes in weather, luscious gardens, flower pots blocking traffic, chilled-out vibe, car-free streets.

I’ve been missing it so much, I realized, that I have been resistant to fully engaging in my new life. Just having that realization began my process of letting go of the past and whole-heartedly embracing my present and future – freeways, nonstop sunhine, plastic people, and all.

I decided to dive into my new reality — making it a mission to get out there, regardless of whether I would have a terrific or shitty time.  So last Wednesday, I went to a professional networking mixer, not knowing if it would be a hip young crowd or just me and a bunch of crusty old corporate geezers.

Not only did I end up meeting two very cool people, but the meeting was at a bar in the lobby of the gym — excuse me, health club — of my dreams. Forget the amazing swimming pool, workout area, and jacuzzi and steam room.  The place had a restaurant, full-service spa, and athletics store to boot!

I thought I had exhausted all of the gym possibilities in my area.  I’m not sure why no one told me about this place, other than it is wicked expensive.  Regardless, I wasn’t working out at the gym where I belonged, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the vibe; there was no pool; and the machines were not maintained well. 

Following the professional mixer, I took a tour of the health club and joined on the spot.  I didn’t realize how profoundly my lack of a place to work out had been affecting me.  Immediately after signing up, I felt I had found my home, and I became deliriously happy. I now feel positive, grounded, and powerful. 

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