And to the community who gave me the strength to spread my wings and fly…
Crossfit Pacific Coast has been the most influential place for my life ever since walking through the door almost three years ago. I started as a quiet 17 year old, needing my mom to sign the contract to become a member of the gym. I am extremely fortunate to have been accepted into the community and treated with immeasurable love and support during my time here. Now, three years later, I bid you all farewell as I leave as so much more. With my head held high, I will conquer all challenges and take the next steps on my life-long journey… And I have my family at Crossfit to thank for everything.
The gym and the community that has grown immensely ever since the beginning became my escape from school, life, overthinking, and difficult emotions. It has been my second home and somewhere that I could always come and find people I care about, no matter the time or day. It has been my joy and happiness, and sometimes has been my frustration and anger. But everything that I have gone through has been a lesson in one way or another, and there is nowhere else I would rather have learned than here. The lessons, memories and friendships are something that I will always carry close to my heart, no matter where I go. Part of everyone here has helped to form who I am today, and a part of each and every one of you will be carried with me wherever I go.
As I began my departure from Santa Barbara, I have been filled with a mixture of emotions. For so long I’ve been ready to run from SB as fast as my legs would take me. I was ready to flee from college and leave everything behind. But as graduation approached, I was finally becoming more socially involved in our community, beginning with the fun-filled trip to Mammoth (and I will always treasure those 12 hours being confined in a car with Brogre, Andre and Bowers!). For the longest time I had a bittersweet feeling toward the social events, not yet being 21 and therefore isolating myself from the fun. In February I was slowly tearing down that wall I had built up and opening up to deeper relationships. As I opened up and became more social, I was closer than I had ever been to a large community that I truly cared about. How could I leave this all behind? Good-byes have always been difficult for me, so it has been harder to dive deeper into friendships with the knowledge that I will be leaving soon. The great friendships that I have built here have come at the cost of emotional farewells, but every last bit has been worth it, and they are relationships that will last a lifetime. Graduation seemed to come all too soon as I made excuses to stay longer, dreading planning the next steps of my life and leaving behind the people who have loved and supported me from the very beginning. If only I could put you all in my pocket and take me everywhere I go.
The emotions have been difficult; sometimes it seemed like it would be so much easier to distance myself as I slowly faded away. But what is life without creating all of these lasting memories and making every moment worth it, going out with a bang?
Following graduation, with the real world knocking on the door, I had to find a way to make the transition easier. What came out of it is this: I have come to accept that life is a never-ending journey. Of course, the concept has been known to me for forever; but what my next step has been, is accepting that Crossfit Pacific Coast is not my destination. Whatever energy is within me is restless, and I know I am meant to be out exploring the world, learning knew things. I’ve observed that many people are happy to settle down into a steady job and regular routine, but my greatest fear is falling into that routine and becoming bored. I know that having a regular routine and living somewhere for a long period of time is a great way to build a community within the Crossfit world. For the past few years I have insisted to myself that crossfit is the only thing for me and I haven’t been very experimental with new activities. Many crossfitters join and plan to supplement their other athletic activities with crossfit, in order to improve the other activities. But it seems that many people soon leave those other things behind, focusing solely on crossfit – their weights, their numbers, the PRs. These are so important, but I have learned that I need some time to play and try new things. Finally, I have been able to give myself permission to explore the world in other ways. I will always be a Crossfitter, but I am not going to treat it as my main activity any longer. As I travel the world, maybe I will learn to salsa in Spain, cycle through France, snowboard in Austria, snorkel in Australia, or backpack in Peru…. I will always drop into crossfit gyms as I travel, but I don’t think that I will have the stable lifestyle to build an experience like the one I have here. The family I have here is irreplaceable and the experiences that came along with that will never be able to be repeated, which is part of what makes the community here so incredibly special and close to my heart. This gym is my home and I know that if I ever come back to visit, you will all be waiting here with open arms.
Not only has it been a growing experience, but it has been an incredible learning experience for me. I’ve learned that strength is infinitely more important than being skinny. I’ve trained myself to live a (mostly) paleo lifestyle, eating healthy and taking care of my body. My life has improved drastically with such a simple lifestyle evolution. I will admit that sometimes I will get on a high horse, lecturing others about the unhealthy lifestyle that they are living. But then again, that what makes this community so special – we all get it. Through a rigorous training of both mind and body, we have all learned how to stay healthy and be the happy and fit person we all want to be. We have all the tools we would ever need to live a satisfactory life. I have been shown that I have the power to keep my life under my control.
I have also learned lessons that have made me a much better athlete than I ever was in team sports. True, I joined crossfit because I missed the competition of sports and the coaching that went along with it. I have had to tame down my competitive personality and learn to listen to my body. The most important lesson is that the best competition is with yourself. Often, comparison to others can only lead to disappointment and vanity. However, competition with others can still be fun if you know your own limits and the other person is within your personal level of fitness.
I cannot stress enough how important crossfit has been for me. To say that it has been life-changing is a huge understatement. I walked into the gym telling Eric and Traver that I wanted to look like Kate Hudson – after all, we all want to “look better naked.” Soon my values evolved and I discovered that strength, endurance, and stamina are infinitely more important than being skinny. Minutes, seconds, and weights are so much more relevant than pounds and inches on a scale. Life satisfaction is about how you feel, not how you look. You and I have been given the tools to treat our bodies as temples, thanks to our amazing coaches. We have every ounce of self control and discipline that we need to become the healthy and happy people we want to be. All we need to do is take the first step and listen to our bodies. The greatest part of all is that we have the support of over 150 other members who know what we are going through and want a similar lifestyle. The mind is a powerful thing and I’ve learned that it can make you or break you, but you must learn to embrace the human imperfection and keep on your feet. It has been a difficult learning process for me, and a huge lesson. I am learning now to give myself permission to let go, relax and go with the flow. We all have to learn to stop punishing ourselves when we experience some of that imperfection that is in all of us, loving our flaws.
College is probably the greatest period of growth in one’s life. Of course my family will always be important to me, but the people of CPC have become so much more than my family. Those who knew me from the beginning have seen my drastic transformation process, and I am so happy that all of you have been a part of it. What is more meaningful to me is that you have all cared so much to notice and appreciate my growth. Words cannot begin to show my appreciation.
Though I have gone through ups and downs, which I have not always been good at hiding, I am grateful that everyone has always shown me love and support. And though my time at the gym has sometimes been sporadic, whether with short breaks between semesters or three months backpacking through Europe, I have always been welcomed back with open arms by all the familiar faces and many new ones.
As anyone can see, Crossfit is so much more than part of a fitness movement. The community penetrates deeply into every aspect of everyone’s lives.
From this point on, I am taking whatever life throws at me and making the most of it.
I would like to extend my eternal thank you to Eric and Traver, who made this community possible. And thank you to our other great coaches, Baker, KJ, Zach, Heather and Fielding. You all know how much you mean to me. I love you so much.
I would love to stay in touch and keep everyone updated on the new and exciting experiences in my life. Feel free to come visit and have an adventure!
4 Rounds for Time
10 Deadlifts (225#/135#)
50 Double Unders