I moved back to the Dayton area in April this year, and I admit the transition was not without trepidation. I grew up in Huber Heights, studied political science at Ohio State, and with the exception of a two-year stint back in the area during 2003-2005, I’ve lived most of my adult life in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles. It’s safe to say I’m a bit of a big city guy.
Like others that I’ve met who’ve left and come back, I’m here to be closer to family. But since I’ve spent so much of my adult life away from Dayton, I’ve come back as a bit of an outsider. I’m discovering the city as one would any “new” place. This outsider’s status, coupled with a personal training career that I hadn’t even contemplated the last time I lived here, is inspiring in me a feeling I didn’t anticipate back in April.
Gratitude, and not simply because I’m closer to family.
Gratitude for the Dayton community itself. I’m not enjoying myself “despite being in Dayton,” but because of it.
You know by now my approach to fitness is that health and wellness are inextricably linked to the rest of our lives. I want my clients to learn how to pay attention to what matters most in their lives. I don’t want my clients (or readers) to obsess about fitness, but to see it as an avenue toward healthier, more vibrant, more connected living. This sort of life in Dayton includes things like exploring challenging independent movies, creative new art galleries, empowered understanding of our own sensuality, and venerable hometown institutions.
It’s easy, isn’t it, to ignore these things. We get so locked into our jobs, responsibilities, and commutes that we forget to see what is around us. I’ve been working with a remote client to build “mindful” lunches into her weekly routine. We came up with the concept together after realizing that she often works straight through lunch, picking at food here and there but never stopping to enjoy. She took her first mindful lunch last week, and you know what she found?
Quiet. Peace. Strategic thinking. When she gave herself permission to slow down, unplug, and pay attention to what she was eating, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that she found inspiration.
Dayton’s pace is undeniably slower than New York’s, but with maturity, experience, and more than a few stumbles under my belt, I feel better equipped now to enjoy what my hometown has to offer. Now when I travel to New York (or wherever) I find myself bringing a bit more of Dayton with me.
If you’re gathering with family tomorrow, I hope you’ll take a few moments to contemplate the community we live in. I hope you’ll make it a point in the coming weeks to shop local, buy someone you love a surprise cupcake, or take an interesting yoga class. You want to be healthy? It’s not just about diet, exercise, and sleep–although all three of those things are important. You also need to feel inspired, connected, and stimulated. I’m proud to call myself a Daytonian, but from a health and wellness perspective I’m proud to live in a city in which I know my clients can become the best possible version of themselves.