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photo by  Allyson Cheney

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Somewhere along the way, I started to forget her. I don’t know exactly how or why, but as I look back on it now, she began slipping away a long time ago. If I close my eyes tightly and really focus, I can see her on her childhood bed, books and papers strewn out around her, bent forward and filling her journal with the bubblegum pink flourishes of her dreams and plans. You see, she knows there will be a great love that will sweep her away, tall and handsome. She will write books and travel and leave an unmistakable mark on the world. She will live by her own rules and will create a life she adores.

Flash forward to this morning as I put away toy cars and clean out the stale Cheez-its from my couch cushions. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror -- I almost can see her. As I drop off my boys at school and daycare and head into work, I can feel her somewhere inside of me. I think a piece of her fell away the first time my heart got broken. The wrong boy with the wrong intentions (okay mom, you were right about that one) stole a little bit of that little girl full of hope. Another piece was chipped away when I got passed over for the job I really wanted as a young adult, and I started to question if I was even smart enough or good enough to have the life I’d planned for myself. Little by little, the black and whites of adult life started to replace the bubblegum pink dreams of my childhood. And now I find that though I’m still me, I’m also not.

I know I’m not the only person who feels as if I’ve somehow lost myself along the way. Accepting the reality of who we are and reconciling that with what we dreamed our lives would be can leave us questioning and searching. I believe that there is a way to find our true selves again and realize all we dreamed of can still be -- we can leave that indelible print on the world yet. The way to do this is by identifying our PURPOSE. Purpose is the ardent glow that lights us from within, the actual calling on our lives. I believe each of us has a purpose -- we are all created to do something beautiful with the breath and the heartbeats that we’ve been given.

If you’re exhausted or disillusioned, or just simply bored, here comes your revival (amens and praise hands included). You have one shot at your life, one time to do it right -- that alone should ignite something within you. What is your purpose? I would say look at what at you love, and then think about helping others. Your purpose should intersect somewhere between those two. It is bigger than your mistakes, the five pounds you lose and gain over and over again (chips and queso are the devil), or your least shiny moments. Don’t let a little brokenness deter you from what you are meant to do in this life. Maybe it all hasn’t turned out exactly as you planned, but if you don’t pursue the central driving aim of your life, you rob yourself of joy and you rob others of your best. They deserve your best.  

For me, I believe that my purpose is to work with women and help them find confidence, forgiveness, and learn to love themselves. When I am doing work to that end, I feel like things are “right” with the world. I feel fulfilled and extended and exhausted and deeply, truly content. Fitness is the vehicle for my purpose, mainly because I’m a certified psycho and love burpees and box jumps more than anything. I could have named one of my children Tabata, had my husband allowed it. I absolutely could have found another way to live out that life as well. I could have become a nurse, a teacher, a counselor, or a hip-hop artist. (Trust and believe I would have given Cardi B a run for her money, players.) My point is once you are connected to what you are created to do, you will find a way to bring it into fruition. If passion is the fire, then purpose is the fuel to that fire.

Though I’m much more likely to quote a Lil Wayne song, a line from “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran lingers in my mind, ‘cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen.  Evergreen means eternally connected to your roots, growing and flourishing. It means exquisitely full of life. This world needs people who are driven by purpose, who hold fast to the best parts of whom they have always been and live out who they were designed to be. My challenge to you, sweet friend, is to live evergreen.


  • photo by  Allyson Cheney
  • photo by  Jessica Roark