As I shared in the last post, at the end of every calendar year, I do something called a Year-End-Review, asking a bunch of questions about my successes and failures from the year just past, and thinking about the lessons and goals I want to carry forward into the new year. I also revealed in that post that I was on the precipice of something new and scary. Read on for the reveal…
For me, 2016 was the year that I rubbed the sleep out of my immigrant eyes, and really began trying to integrate into Israeli society. We made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in August 2007, and if you had told me then that it would take me almost TEN YEARS to be able to comfortably do things like drive the car, read a newspaper, watch and understand television, speak on the telephone, go to the doctor, and speak to the kids’ teachers, I would have never believed you! Furthermore, if you had told me it would take that long before we had made aliyah, I doubt I would have even come at all.
It could have gone faster, I realize that. My husband is Israeli and I fell into the bad habit of just letting him handle everything. I set my life up so I could avoid many of the above challenges. But when 2016 began, I had reached the point where I was literally sick of myself being so helpless. I slowly started to try things like speaking to more people in Hebrew and driving the car on short errands. But because I had turned these things into such BIG OBSTACLES, even making the smallest steps, ignited an enormous amount of panic and anxiety.
Throughout all of this, my business, conducted entirely in English, has progressed nicely. However, as much as I love my clients and my work with them, I kept having that itchy sweater feeling like I wrote about in this post. I kept feeling like there was something MORE here that I needed to uncover and implement. I repeatedly had this idea of teaching Whole Health Workshops that would incorporate an empowering physical workout with a healthy post-workout meal, and an inspiring discussion on the challenges participants have in creating and sticking with a healthy lifestyle. It was really such a strong and consistent vision, that I kept reaching out to different trainers I know to see if we couldn’t work together to create this dream. But things just never seemed to work out.
By early summer I got the picture that if I was going to answer the call I was having to create this thing, I was going to have to do it myself.
I got the guts up to call the premier sports and physical education school in Israel, the Wingate Institute, and inquire about how I might become a personal trainer. I fumbled through the call in Hebrish (half English, half Hebrew) and the young man who spoke to me said he was sorry but I would never get in with my Hebrew being so lousy. He wasn’t being mean, he just honestly felt that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish the entirely Hebrew course material.
Now, I have already taken a gazillion Hebrew courses and although I am great in the class, it never seems to translate into actual out-of-classroom communication. Deciding I was ready to finally smash this language obstacle, I enrolled in a class that focused on conversational skills and spent the entire summer riding the bus back and forth to Tel Aviv for classes. During the long bus rides, I constantly listened to Hebrew podcasts. When class finished, I continued the full-court press, setting a timer and forcing myself to practice speaking, reading and writing Hebrew daily.
In early December, after a million conversations and pep-talks with a ton of friends and people already working in the field of personal training, I re-contacted Wingate and applied. Just yesterday, I passed the written entrance exam and personal interview, and was accepted for the 2017 school year! THAT is the great, sweaty, panicked hurdle I was praying to clear in my last blog post.
To say that I was terrified of the exam and interview would be the greatest understatement ever made. I could barely even breathe! Number one, I am 50 years old. Every person in there was at least 30 years younger than me. My brain, my memory, and my body don’t work as quickly as they did 30 years ago. Number two, obviously, my old nemesis, Hebrew. When they passed out the 3 page, long-answer exam and said “you have twenty minutes”, I almost gave up on the spot.
But I didn’t give up.
I Little Blue Engined my way through it.
And I got in.
Staring next week, I am going to be a student at Wingate Institute, and if I manage to complete the course, in six months, I will be a personal fitness trainer. I will still have a ways to go towards achieving my dream workshop, and maybe that dream will even change, who knows? But I have taken the first, biggest, and hardest steps in the right direction and I am SO EXCITED!!!!
I will still be taking health coaching clients as usual. I am just changing my work schedule a little – closing down two days that I’ll be at school, and opening two new days for seeing clients.
Here is a little video I found about Wingate for those of you who don’t live here. It’s a big deal place. 2017 is going to be epic.
Oh and my theme for 2017? Old Dog, New Tricks.
Yalla, let’s do this!