NEW YORK CITY, USA – This week, long after I went to a spinning class for the last time, I decided to give it a shot. I was never too much into biking but wanted to try something other than running or Pilates. Needed some exercise, burn calories, decompress for a bit. Little did I know that I was entering a 1-hour class with a motivational teacher, who would compare challenges in life with adding resistance to your bike every 10 seconds to climb fictional mountains.
As I started to pedal, memories started to come back, and each time I turned the knob to the right (for those of you, who are not familiar with what this turn means: setting our bike against heavy resistance), I would revive each challenge I came across. During my periods of transformation, I wanted the challenges to be over just like I wanted to fast forward this class. I failed in both and here’s why.
2015 began with a dismissal. I wasn’t fired, I was let go – as if this concept would make me feel less bad. The question “Why Me?” occupied my head long enough that at some point I stopped asking myself this. After all, there was no answer. Or at least the explanation I heard did not convince me. I was being substituted with somebody that was not better than me, whatsoever. Or maybe this is what I repeated over and over again and eventually started to believe in. The truth is that I did no crucial mistakes to deserve to be simply to let go. This new person just happened to be better connected inside the company than I was. I didn’t think it was fair, but there was nothing I could do about it.
Amongst injustice and angry feelings, I decided to move on with my life. So I got another job; one that wasn’t in my field, nor did pay all of my bills. But at that moment, I just needed something for my self-esteem not to go downhill and have my routine back. Experiencing a hip freelance kind of life was not an option for me, so I jumped into this new job.
Just when everything seemed to be working again, I got a notice that I would have to leave my apartment, where I had been living for over 2 years. It wasn’t officially mine, but it was what I called home. My roommate and I were subletting the apartment and the original tenants wanted to move back in. It was time to say goodbye to one more thing. Luckily, we found another apartment in less than a month, but as a person that was refusing any type of change, this was another visionary mountain to cross. And keep adding on.
The highest mountain to climb
Three months after I started the new job, that, by the way, didn’t have anything to do with me or with what I do, I realized it was a total waste of time. I was better off. So I decided to give myself some time to relax and try to enjoy the legendary New York City summer. And I even had somebody to spend those days with. This guy that I had been going out for almost a year was by my side during the previous events. Although he was never officially my boyfriend, it was someone I could count on during the worse days. I did like him a lot, but I was definitely very attached to the idea of having him in my life to hold my hand, so I could go through the challenges in an easier way, supposedly. And for him it was probably the same. He was also struggling with inner difficulties. We used to have a good time together, but it was too much going on for both of us, so after tons of arguments, we decided to go separate ways. It wasn’t easy. Letting him go was like the last time I added resistance to the bike. The highest mountain to climb.
While I was climbing up the fictional mountains on the spinning class, the teacher said out loud “it’s not easy, it’s not supposed to be easy!”
My last 9 months were tough. Lots of ups and downs, better days, worse days; days when you think there’s no way out and you’re not gonna make it. A couple of anxiety attacks, some visits to the psychotherapist, countless tears, endless talks with family and friends, among other episodes. What I experienced didn’t make me a wiser thinker; so if you are anticipating some step-by-step guide on how to go through major transformations without getting frustrated, I might not be your girl. What I can tell you is that, though, I honestly think there’s no easy way of dealing with challenges that are imposed in your life, they definitely come to teach you something.
Perhaps my biggest lesson was to learn that it’s completely useless to go against any type of change. They will happen regardless of what you want, and turn your world upside down again and again until you understand you don’t control a single thing.
Coping with life changes
People will give you tons of advice but at the end of the day it’s all about you… your beliefs, your concerns, your problems and finding your own solutions. And it’s fine if you haven’t figured out what to do next. Don’t ask too much from yourself. Here I am, coming through a scenario that I never thought I could enter at the first place: no full-time job, being a freelancer with no routine, no boyfriend (or even a boyfriend-ish), not living in the apartment of my dreams, and let days pass without a plan A, B or C.
But I am finally aware that I’m not in control. And above all, I am ok with that. I accepted the game.
Life cannot, of course, be resumed on a biking performance, but over this hour of exercising I could connect them both and got some clarity and was able to let go off certain things (apart from some calories). And oddly enough, the last song played at the spinning class, just as we started to cool down, was “I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For” the song we all know by U2.
After this intense experience of sweating and surviving, getting out of breath and recovering it, with hundreds of thoughts coming in and out of my mind, I finished it. I left that room aware that there are still many big mountains to come but felt accomplished by climbing some of the highest ones.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Renata Borges is a Brazilian producer based in New York since 2012.
She studied Journalism at the New York University (NYU) and has been working with TV and film over the past 6 years. Today, she is trying to embrace some changes in her life and she believes writing is a great tool in doing that.
Some of her work can be seen at website.