It’s day 4 of my Whole25 and I already slipped up – but just a little! One of my colleagues who has become something of a mentor to me had just come back from San Francisco where she bought 3 gifts – one for each of her 2 sons and 1 for me. And this gift happened to be a bag of organic candy from a sweet little store in the Mission District. I resisted the gummies at first but then offered them to another co-worker later on. With the bag left open on my desk, I ate two. I don’t regret it. Regrets have no business in a gratitude challenge. Plus, as with most things in life, it’s a marathon not a sprint and I’m glad I didn’t have more. But I was a little disappointed afterward and kind of lost of the motivation I had to go to the gym – but I prevailed! Why? Enter gratitude Day 4 – I love my YMCA!
Normally, I am not a fan of faith-based organizations, especially Christian ones. Despite what is said about Christian values, they tend to lean more toward colonization, murder, war, rape, murder, slavery, discrimination, and a myriad of other injustices propagated on countless communities around the world. But I digress. I must admit I don’t know much about the history of the YMCA but I do know what it stands for today. The YMCA provides a safe place to engage in health and fitness for those who may not be able to find it elsewhere.
After 6 years of working out at student rec centers, jockeying for parking and watching 18-year-olds examine their veins in the mirrors, my partner and I decided to check out the YMCA and we loved our first visit. Working up the motivation to go to the gym is easier when you like where you go – when it feels like home. I am proud of the fact that some of the money from my monthly fee is used to provide programs for those who could otherwise not afford it. I like working out next to people who are different from me, come from different places, have different struggles. The YMCA provides respite for parents and caretakers of people with disabilities. They are known for their positive youth development programs that target at risk youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. And while it’s always a little uncomfortable being the only woman in the free weights area, I never feel intimidated by the staff, the members, or the atmosphere. If you know me, you know I’m not much of a kid person – but the crazy summer camp locker room situation doesn’t even drive me crazy! Sometimes I feel weird undressing when there are 7 year old girls running around looking for their hair brushes, but that’s a different story.
The YMCA is also more than a gym. It’s a community. I made it to the YMCA to get my lifting done on Day Four and I was greeted, as usual, with a great big smile from my favorite staff member. Everyone is in such a good mood at the Y! People are friendly, courteous, and all there for the same reason – to be better people, to take care of their whole selves, and to do it in a place that means something. I recommended the Y to a coworker because it is just short walk from my Y. After visiting he told me it was “abysmal” and that he could never work out there. Good! We may not have the most expensive state-of-the-art equipment, but that’s fine with me if it keeps the ‘bros’ away. My Y is safe, it’s a couple miles from my house and a couple steps from my office, it’s full of great people, it gives back to the community, it’s not there to make money, and I love it! I am thankful to be a member of the YMCA!