Exercise has countless benefits for health, but have you ever considered it as a road to happiness? For Avery Gordon, it was just what her heart needed.
I have never been a person who gets excited about doing things alone. I am a self-proclaimed scaredy cat, and even in my mid-twenties, I still make my friends accompany me to the bathroom on weekend nights out.
I had many close friends growing up. My strongest bonds were formed around hobbies and shared interests – my high school soccer team, weekend nights watching movies, and in college, my Psychology major. We all had things in common and we enjoyed spending time together. Luckily, in my younger years, these commonalities were dropped into my lap. Let’s be honest here, unless I wanted to sit through two hours a night of study hall, I had to play a high school sport, and I’m pretty sure a major in college is required. Looking elsewhere to find friendship wasn’t a pressing issue when I had pre-formed groups of people with the same interests as I did.
After moving to Washington DC and starting a new job, I was faced with a harsh reality. The people I knew here were all involved in other things, from late nights at the office to happy hours with their coworkers, and I was finding that I was often alone. I fell into the trap that many Washingtonians experience at some point – work was all I did, and outside of work, I did work. I complained about it for a while to my friends outside of DC, but as time passed, I noticed that they were pursuing interests outside of work. My friends were picking up yoga, taking night classes, and in one case, taking time off to travel the world. I had an epiphany one day as I was sitting on my couch eating ice cream and watching The Bachelor: I needed to get with it. I wasn’t going to be making much progress watching everyone else find joy outside of work and waiting for someone to text me.
I picked up Fuse Pilates as a way to get involved and get in shape. Without even realizing it, I was soon going to classes by myself four times a week. I had found something that made me happy, and it was something that people were beginning to associate with me. I started noticing that when I did see my friends, they would ask me how Pilates was going. I had unknowingly added something to my life that became a huge part of my identity, and others were picking up on it. It felt good. I wasn’t watching as much TV and I had finally found a hobby of my own.
As my friends saw how much I enjoyed Fuse, they became interested in it, too. They started asking about what makes Fuse Pilates different, and what makes me so attracted to it. They wanted to try it. Suddenly I had people who I hardly even knew asking me if they could try a class. Was I all of a sudden so popular? No. I just realized that to others, my passion about my hobby was way more interesting than a life spent at the office and at bars.
I have acquaintances that I have become much closer with as we converse about Fuse. I also have some good friends who have become even better after we have spent time together in a whole different setting. I’ve even made a lot of friends in Fuse classes. A lot of my friends are getting really into the studio, and I’m proud to be the person who introduced them. It is a good feeling to create my own circle of friends and strengthen relationships over a hobby that I found, and not over one that was handed to me.
Life on the DC grind has finally started looking up. Thanks to Fuse, I have made a ton of new friends and found an awesome, shareable hobby. Plus, the mean girl at work asked me about Fuse. I can’t wait to get her into a class to sweat that attitude out.
Since Fuse Pilates began in 2005, I have seen countless friendships form in the classroom, and they are, in my opinion, one of our greatest successes. In fact, most of my own close friends are past or current students. I’m a self-proclaimed introvert (Myers Briggs tells me I’m an INFJ). As someone who doesn’t frequent happy hours or bars, fitness was the perfect place for me to find my own DC social life and community.