Epiphany on the Subway

 

A week ago, I had an epiphany about my life, purpose and passion. I was on the subway, on my way to run in Central Park. A young woman got on the train and sat across from me. She was probably in her early 20s. She was pretty. She was also morbidly obese. Her ankles, which were exposed, were hard to identify as ankles. Her body didn’t fit in one seat, and so she took up two. When I looked at her, my heart broke. I wanted to go up to this stranger and give her a hug. I also wanted to yell at her. This reaction struck me hard, and made me think and process my reaction.

This young woman has her entire life in front of her. A life, if continuing down the path she is on, will probably be cut short by decades, and a life of immobility, self-consciousness and medical problems. I wanted to hug her and tell her that she can change her fate, that it is in her power to be healthy and strong, and to live a life full of energy that lends itself to amazing experiences. I wanted to tell her that I could help her, and that I don’t want her to feel sad or worthless of judged. I wanted to yell at her and ask her how and why she could possibly let herself get to such a dangerous place. I wanted to yell at her for being stupid, and not learning and applying all of the knowledge at her fingertips regarding health and nutrition.

I left the train at the stop for my run without saying a word to her. As I ran through the park, I could not let go of the fire in my belly. I realized that not only do I want to help train and coach athletes and average Joes, I suddenly felt like I NEEDED to help.

Now, I am not giving up on acting and modeling – I REPEAT, I am not giving it up. HOWEVER, I have realized in my “old age” that the arduous process of being an actor in NYC has weighed heavy on my shoulders. Sometimes priorities change, and the beat down of the acting business beats down hard. I became an actor because I fell in love with theatre when I was 8 years old. It has been a love affair that has lasted 20 years, and I don’t see it going anywhere. Being on stage and singing my face off is one of the best sensations I can think of right now.

When I walked away from that young woman, I realized how selfish I am. As a country, America is in serious danger of obesity and the health problems caused by obesity killing us off and stressing an already expensive medical insurance crisis. Here I was, an actor, but also a runner and a coach with all of this knowledge and a passion for health. The odds that I will leave my mark on the world as an artist are small. Sure, it could happen, but what is the point? I realized that I could make a HUGE difference to individuals. There are people out there that need a hug and a kick in the ass towards a healthy life. I know I cannot help everyone, and you can only help those that WANT to be helped, but that fire in my belly has been blazing since that subway ride.

I knew before that encounter that I want to coach athletes, and had been studying for my certification in both Sports Nutrition and Personal Training, but now I feel that my passion for sport and nutrition is ignited. I want to train athletes, but I also want to change the lives of those who seriously need it. I want to help people lead a healthy, happy life. Sometimes people don’t have the motivation or self-control to do it on their own, and I am going to be happy to kick their ass in the right direction, all with a smile on my face.

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~ by Elizabeth on October 3, 2012.

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