Image credit: Yelp
Image credit: Yelp

have you ever known that you needed to do something but kept putting it off because you were afraid it was going to be awkward?

or embarrassing?

or just plain old weird?

that was me a few weeks ago.

back in december of 2012, nicole and i joined a gym down the road from where we lived. in fact, we were the first members at this gym and signed up on the first day that they were open. for a couple of weeks, we were the only members. we worked out with the trainers every time we were there because, well, they didn’t have anybody else to work out with.

this gym that we went to was different. it wasn’t a typical, traditional gym where you lifted weights and ran on a treadmill. this was a kickboxing gym where i got to beat the crap out of things for thirty minutes. not only that, but it was the best workout i’d ever had and i was enjoying it.

sounds like a win, right?

it was for a few months. i was losing weight. i was in better shape than i’d been in years. other people were even noticing the difference.

then i developed shin splints.

then nicole’s migraines started keeping her from going.

then everything in my life got weird.

and so i stopped going.

over the course of the rest of 2013, almost like clockwork every couple of months, we’d receive a personal letter in the mail from the owners telling us they missed us and that they wanted to check in on us. i always meant to respond to those letters or stop in as i drove by one day but i never did.

eventually, in my mind, too much time had passed to stop by and check in.

it would’ve been awkward.

i would’ve been embarrassed.

the whole thing would’ve been weird.

finally, after trying other work outs, other gyms, and gaining back all 35 pounds i’d lost the year before plus another ten, i knew i had to do something different. the only thing that i could think of that would work would be going back to the old kickboxing gym.

i knew it would be awkward.

i knew i’d be embarrassed.

i knew the whole thing was going to be weird.

i made sure to have a game plan on the day that i finally got up the nerve to go back. i parked a few spaces away from the entrance and thought through what i was going to say. i planned the entire conversation in my head. i had my story straight and i was ready to go.

i walked up to the door, opened it, and right there at the welcome booth was the owner that had sent all of the personal letters. she responded to seeing me in the exact way that i thought she would:

“where have you been? we were worried sick about you guys.”

then i launched into the story i had designed in my head. after a couple of minutes she interrupted me and told me she didn’t care why i’d been gone so long. she was glad i was back.

when i asked her what the current membership prices were so that i could re-join, she told me that they’d gone up almost double because the gym had taken off. i was happy for them but concerned that i couldn’t afford it anymore and that this whole awkward conversation was for nothing. then she looked at me, smiled, and offered to let me re-join at the rate that i originally joined at, less than half of what the going rate was.

she didn’t care about my excuses. she was glad i was back.

she didn’t want to punish me for being gone so long. she wanted to help me get on the right track.

she didn’t judge me or look down on me. she just smiled and said, “we’ll see you tonight for a good workout.”

i think we so often let relationships die because we’re terrified that reviving them will be awkward, embarrassing, or weird. we don’t talk to someone for years because life takes us in different directions and then when we have a chance to reconnect, we paralyze ourselves by trying to figure out what to say or do and end up letting the moment pass us by. we let mistakes and bad decisions from years ago determine our opinions on who people are today. instead of acknowledging we were all young and dumb back then, we keep people in a box of who they used to be.

i’m convinced that the person you’re thinking of right now and saying, “man, we used to be such good friends. i hate that we aren’t as close anymore.” has had the same thought about you recently. they want to restart the relationship but are afraid it’d be awkward, embarrassing, or weird.

the person you had a falling out with over something petty and juvenile? yeah, they’ve grown up just like you have. they want to move past it just as much as you do. they want their friend back too.

if the owner of my gym has taught me anything, it’s that the fear of reconciliation is a lot more awkward, embarrassing, and weird than actual reconciliation. that doesn’t mean that fixing problems, restarting relationships, and moving forward is going to be easy. talk to me after a work out and ask me if the workout would’ve been easier had i not quit for a year and i’d tell you that it absolutely would be. but even though the workout is harder now, it’s still worth it. it may even be more worth it now because i appreciate its value more this time.

who are you thinking of right now that you’d like to reconnect with?

is there a relationship that has been strained for one reason or another that you would love to fix?

do you have a friend, a sibling, a spouse that has done something and you know it’s time to move past it?

what’s stopping you from doing it? the fear in your head is nowhere near the joy of having that relationship back.

don’t wait any longer to start whatever it is you need to start. the longer you wait, the harder the work will be.

start today.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.