Like everyone else right now, my brain is ping-ponging back and forth between now and September 11, 2001. I was a relatively new mom then–my son was less than four months old when the twin towers fell, leaving me wondering what kind of world he would grow up in. I remember feeling like everything that was sure about the life I lived had crumbled into fine dust, like the dust that filled the streets of New York City, a place I’d had a particular affinity for ever since I was a kid, visiting my grandmother in Queens. It was like stepping off a curb into what looked like a puddle, but was really a bottomless hole. Tomorrow was a question mark … all we had was today, this minute, now this one.
But gradually, we settled back into this new world, and became surer and surer about tomorrow, less focused on this minute, this hour, this day. We–I–became complacent. As much as I would never want to relive those anxious days following the attacks, I realize that they shook me, at least for a time, into really “living for the moment.” What would I do differently today, if I didn’t have tomorrow? This is the question I need to keep asking myself, day after day, so the story of my life becomes a pile of those very best days.
I recently worked on a story for Spryliving.com about a woman, Jennifer Gold, who was not expected to live beyond age 13–and who is now, at 38, vibrant, smiling, living, breathing, being. It occurred to me that she’d been living without tomorrows for most of her life. Perhaps that is an unexpected gift, the silver lining to the clouds in her life. Perhaps that lesson is one good thing to come of 9/11 and its tragedy and pain.
I love my muscles. This summer, as a result of my newfound love of sweep rowing, I have shoulders and biceps and triceps like never before. The best thing is that they’re not just ornamental: They’re strong enough to help me get through grueling 1000 meter sprint races and 2ish-hour practices. There’s substance beneath this beauty.
For a Former Fat Girl like me, “outing” myself as beautiful–even partially–is uncomfortable. But beauty, confidence, strength (inner and outer) and contentment are inextricably linked. I’ve spent years excavating my confidence, uncovering my power, discovering my own particular brand of beauty. I love this journey I’m on because it’s led me here—no regrets—but I rejoice whenever I see young girls connecting with their self-worth and building that beautiful foundation from the get-go. Like Liz Wolfson, who started a charter school for girls in Denver that infuses sports, activity and a pledge that includes statements like “I take care of my body” and, “I stand up for what I believe in.”
“I wanted to build something that taught girls that it is their birthright to be strong and powerful,” says Liz. What an inspiration!
Some of Liz Wolfson's GALS.
Who inspires you to be healthier? Now’s your chance to honor her—and showcase her contributions to the world—by nominating your health hero for the 2011 Spry Inspiration Awards. We’re looking for inspiring women in the following categories to showcase on our December 2011 COVER (that’s right—a cover story!): Most Inspiring Mom; Most Inspiring Teacher; Most Inspiring Volunteer.
Winners also receive a trip for two to Red Mountain Resort in Utah (a FABULOUS spa!). Spry magazine (edited by me, by the way) is the largest health and wellness brand in the country, reaching 9 million readers each month. Winners’ stories will also appear on Spryliving.com. We showcase REAL WOMEN on every cover to inspire millions to live healthier every day. Get the details here!