REFLECTING BACK ON MY FIRST YEAR IN COLORADO

REFLECTING BACK ON MY FIRST YEAR IN COLORADO

As I sit here at my computer looking out my window at the beautiful colored leaves swirling about on this first day of Fall and looking back at my first year here in Denver, I feel more at peace than I have in a very long time.  I realize how much I missed experiencing the full change of each season, and I am reflecting on how much my life has changed mostly for the better :).

My first thought is a feeling of pride that I finally had the courage to completely start over by re-locating to a different State, saying goodbye to long time friends and everything that was familiar to me for 32 years.  It certainly is something I’ve wanted to do for so many years, but the fear of the unknown and the daunting task of such a major transition at this stage of my life kept me stuck for a long time.

If I were to give any advice to someone contemplating this sort of a life change, I would say TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH and follow your heart!  By following your passion and taking risks in life, I believe that the Universe pays you back big time.  I kept saying to myself, “What is the worst that could happen?  You are miserable and you come back.”  I am happy to say that the gamble paid off for me.  It feels good to be reinventing myself at 54 years old.  I’ve always been of the mindset that change is good, despite my parent’s trying to influence me otherwise :).   I believe in following your dreams, challenging yourself and trying new things to expand and grow as a spiritual being.  Obstacles are only what appear when you lose sight of your goals.  One of my goals was to move from Los Angeles and live a simpler life away from all that hustle and bustle, pressure and traffic.  Although there are many things to love about Los Angeles, for me it was a very isolating city, and it never felt like home.

When arriving the end of September last year, I realized very quickly that I should have googled searched the location of the house I was leasing for a year :(.  I landed in a charming house that was built in the 1800’s in the West Highlands area.  It had been gutted and completely renovated.  Although quaint, because it was so old, that meant very limited closet space, tiny kitchen, no dining area and very small rooms.  It was also smashed in between the houses next to it and was on a major street.   I did enjoy the neighborhood, because I could walk to Orange Theory Fitness and Core Power Yoga, and there were numerous great restaurants and cute shops a few short blocks from me.  However quaint this historic little area was, I knew I was going to have to renegotiate my lease and move again in 5 months.  I did just that on March 1st and am now living in a wonderful neighborhood in a place with lots of space and light.  The best Sushi Restaurant is right around the corner as well as an amazing Farmers Market every Sunday.

Experiencing the Fall season again was sheer heaven for me.  It has always been my favorite time of year, and I would make a point to go back home to enjoy all the magnificent color, not to mention checking out Oktoberfest in Appleton :).  I recall discovering Washington Park for the first time and driving around looking at all the wonderful neighborhoods trying to figure out where I wanted to hang my hat.  I am so happy that I found the perfect area just minutes from that fabulous enormous park.  So now I just jump on my bike and in a few moments I’m taking laps with Barney in the basket.  It truly has given me a sense of peace that I had been searching for.

One of the first exciting things I got to do here was a one-hour radio show with Greg Giesen, Author and Motivational Speaker.  I’ve always wanted to do radio, so I had a blast.

October brought the first snowfall.  That was a rude awakening for sure!  It came pretty early, and I definitely wasn’t mentally prepared.  I did, however, make a trip to REI to stock up on all the necessary Winter clothing.   I’ve learned one important thing, and that is you must have lightweight, medium weight and hardcore down jackets to survive here in Denver.  You also need smart wool layering pieces, lots of cute knit hats, gloves, boots and scarves.  Whew!  I realized quickly why I had moved from Wisconsin all those years ago to sunny California.  Yet, there was a magical feeling seeing everything snow covered again.   I just had to layer it up before attempting to walk Barney down the street.  He definitely wasn’t too keen on it, because his poor little paws froze up after just a few steps, and he would just collapse shaking in the street :(.  I tried every kind of bootie, but he was not having it.  So I finally discovered the salve that I could at least rub on his paws to prevent them from freezing up.

And seriously, the most challenging thing about moving here has been keeping my doggie clean!

Another thing I learned is that the snow doesn’t stay.  It melts quickly and many times it was raining snow from the trees.  I also discovered that Denver even gets a winter wonderland in May!

With the Spring Season arrival, I really enjoyed watching everything come into full bloom.  It was so exciting after seeing nothing but stick trees for 5 long months, to finally see the little tulips bursting through the soil in my front yard and the walkway of sunflowers towering over me.  Not to mention, discovering the glorious lushness bike riding through Washington Park.

What also came with the Spring and Summer weather were numerous thunderstorm and lightning storms, giant hailstorms, not to mention so many tornado watches and warnings. I hadn’t witnessed anything like it since growing up in Wisconsin.

One thing I did learn is that I could just ignore all the text alerts and TV emergency alerts.  I only had to hit the deck if the sirens came on.  At least that is what my Sister, Judy, who lives 10 minutes away and who has lived here for 30 years tells me :).

Which brings me to a very important aspect of my major move to Denver.  It is so very nice and comforting to have family so close by.  Being from a family of eight, who all live in Wisconsin, and having both parents passed away, I realized how much I longed to be nearer to Family.  It’s been so great to spend holidays together and experience all the wonderful things that Denver has to offer with someone who knows you better than anyone else :).

As far as my career goes, it feels good to be pursuing what I am very passionate about.  I am so enjoying teaching my Restore and Repair Class (R&R) at Pura Vida in Cherry Creek North.  It is an amazing facility, and my class is an extension of the mindfulness that is the main philosophy at Pura Vida.  They integrate every aspect of wellness including health and nutrition workshops, cleanse and detox programs, meditation classes, as well as every kind of yoga class you can imagine, including Restorative and even Suspension Yoga.  They also have an incredible day spa, so you can pamper yourself after you are finished exercising by indulging yourself with a facial or a massage.  My class has been well received, and I was so very happy when Jennifer Broome, the weather gal from KDVR/FOX Channel here in Denver, took my class and loved it.  She got me on their morning show on Labor Day to demonstrate some of my R&R moves to help reduce stress and open the hips and release the back.  I hope to continue doing segments for GOOD DAY COLORADO :)!

Another thing I am pursuing here is singing.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved to sing.  I can remember sitting in my bedroom for hours pretending I was either Diana Ross or Connie Stevens singing “Hey, Hey Good Lookin’” by Hank Williams or “Stop In the Name of Love.”  I definitely am not a professional and had minimal training, but it brings me more joy than almost anything else.  So, I pursued auditioning at a very nice Steakhouse here in downtown Denver, and they gave me the thumbs up to sit in with other musicians who perform there on a regular basis.  Since doing that a few times, I got the itch to do an entire set, so I hooked up with an amazing singer and piano player here, who I have been rehearsing with a regular basis.  My first big moment will be in October, as I will be doing a complete set.  I am definitely nervous, but I am also very excited to finally be doing what I love.  I guess if there is one good thing about getting older it’s that I care a little less what people think and just go for what I want in life and what makes me happy!  I highly recommend it :).

In addition to that, I continue to shoot videos for my website to expand on my content, as well as write regular blogs and continually pursue new projects.  Please feel free to e-mail me any time on things you may want me to cover.

I also do the odd hosting job and speaking engagement here and there and truly hope to get regular work, as Hosting is my number #1 passion!  I’ve made some amazing contacts here so hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

Lastly, I’ve decided to volunteer at the Dumb Friends League, which is one of the largest and best animal shelters and pet adoption agencies here in Denver.  Last Spring, I raised about $2,000 for their annual Furry Scurry event, which is the largest fundraiser to help these sweet animals find homes.  I have a huge place in my heart for doggies, as my Maltese, Barney, is EVERYTHING to me.

So, a few other things I’ve learned or realized since moving here are:

I sing a lot more John Denver Songs :).

Winters are long, so it’s important to take a mini-vacation to a warmer climate once or twice to break it up.

It’s super duper dry here so you need a BIG humidifier, an industrial size jar of moisturizer, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and all new products for your skin and hair.

Don’t bother getting your car washed in the Winter.  If you do, make sure it’s during the week when people are working.  One Saturday I decided to risk it, and there literally was a guy directing traffic!

It takes a bit to acclimate to the altitude.

If you plan on taking a trip to the mountains, you better try and travel on a weekday or you will be stuck in major traffic.

It only takes 15-20 minutes to get almost anywhere in Denver.

There is very little walking and texting here.

Everything moves at a much slower pace here.  Even the traffic lights are longer, which people don’t really seem to mind as no one seems to be in a major hurry.

It is very nice to not have people honking their horns at you all the time or to feel the urge myself to honk my horn!

I am less stressed and enjoy the simpler life!

And, I’m looking forward to see what this next year brings :).

  • Anne Marie Kayashima

    Good morning Debbie! Thank you for the post. I started using your exercise programs in 2002 and have not stopped since. You are my daily good morning exercise inspiration. Thank you and I wish you peace and joy today.

  • Julie

    Hi Debbie: I really enjoyed reading your blog about your year in Colorado. I am going through a major life change right now and my end goal is to make it to Colorado, my sister and her family live there.
    What brought me to your site was your Slim Express series, because a while back, I order the slim series, but never worked out with them. I’ve just started and love the DVDs but sometimes they are a little long for my morning routine. You have a wonderful presence and I love your work! When I get to Colorado .. I’ll take a class in person! Thank you for sharing your goodness with so many!

  • Carol Decker

    Debbie i love slim in 6! especially the bonus core cardio, its easy to follow therefore an inspiring & not intimidating workout. i just finished a session 10 mins ago, i now feel energised & up beat & i didn’t felt hat way when i woke up !