The Gym Isn’t My Happy Place Anymore

Two years ago, I was at the gym five days a week. It was my playground. I could unleash my energy and run around like a happy-go-lucky border collie at the dog park. It was where I wanted to be but the gym isn’t my happy place anymore.

I’ve been a relatively athletic person for most of my life. I started playing football (aka soccer) when I was seven. In my adolescence, I became keen on running. I later became a summer camp counselor at a gym which acquainted me with the good ole leg press, seated row, and bicep curl machines.

It wasn’t until my senior year of university that I started to go to the fitness center regularly. At the time, my main objective was to train in preparation for the military (I had been considering enlistment in the Air Force) and, although I chose a different career path, I found the gym irresistible and kept going back.

Until I came to the Czech Republic, I went to the same gym at the same time everyday. When I arrived here, however, I ran into two problems: my inconsistent timetable and unfamiliarity with the area.

After some time, I connected with a guy who took me to a more or less underground fitness center for the local power-lifting team. I loved that place. It was small and poorly ventilated but it had what I needed, including a strong sense of camaraderie. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go there anymore after I broke up with one of the lifters I had been dating. (Hey, life happens.)

For the first time in years, I didn’t have a gym to go to. Sure, there were other gyms in town but none of them felt right for me. I felt displaced.

To stay active, I began to run more often. I felt free, flying across the asphalt and gliding over puddles. With the bass-lines of EDM, rap, and rock music blaring in my ears, I felt energy surging through me. I smiled to myself as I saw children chucking snowballs and ladies gossiping frantically. I began to realize something that I had known but hadn’t acknowledged.

The gym was never my happy place.

I don’t have a happy place because happiness is portable. While working out isn’t my priority right now, being happy always is, no matter where I am.

This week, I challenge you to think about where you’re happiest and why. What about that place is special? How can you bring that same energy with you to other places?

Be happy, my friends!

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