In March of 2009, I was in the emergency room.  Not a heart attack, but the doctor put a big “YET” on the end of the “not a heart attack” statement.  That scared me.  I didn’t care about what I looked like.  I was scared I’d die early like my mom.  She was 56 and died of a brain aneurysm.  I watched stress take it’s toll on her for the last 10 years of her life until the day I told them to remove the life support. At 47, I KNEW I was on that same path.  At 47, I felt like I was entering the last 9 years of my life.  Everything changed.  I committed to doing whatever I had to do to get healthy.  I found a tool (the bodybugg) and a great coach and friend (Kim).  I lost weight and got off high blood pressure meds.

May 29, 2010 – everything changed again.  Paula died.  One of the bravest, spunkiest women I’ve ever known. We lost track of each other for decades, we were in different states, but thanks to Facebook, I was lucky enough to reconnect during her last year.

The journey that started a year earlier based on a fear of an early death transformed into “Tammy’s Big Adventure” in June 2010.  I was inspired by my online conversations with Paula.  She taught me that life is short and unpredictable.   DO what you’ve dreamed about doing.  Don’t be afraid.  LIVE.

So you all know how I’m choosing to do that “LIVE” thing.  I’m choosing a life that from the outside looks like one of discipline and sacrifice.  But when I’m lifting, I’m in my element.  Lifting is my bliss.  Lifting fixes me.  The bodybuilding contest is a goal to aim at, but the activity of it – every day – is the most amazing thing.  Being healthy and strong is wonderful.  There is no sacrifice.  It’s all part of the process.

Tonight I am so incredibly sad for the loss of a wonderful woman.  And trying to make sense of why she was taken so suddenly and so young reminded me again how short and unpredictable life really is.  I’m very grateful for the courage I was given  and the help I received to change my life and LIVE it – how ever much I have left of it – like this.  Living a dream I’ve had for over 20 years.  If I am in the last 6.5 years of my life now, I’m doing something I’ve always dreamed of doing but was afraid to do.

Life is short and unpredictable.

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