Begging for Change – Publisher’s Page by Jami Appenzeller

Begging for Change…I’m not holding out a can, but rather a “can-do”… my kids are counting on it!

I know I’ve touched on this topic before, but lately I’m feeling like a flower that’s just opened up to drink in the Fall’s warming rays! Metaphorically speaking, I’m alive again! But, it didn’t happen over night and it would have NEVER happened if I had let my own pesky fears swallow me whole.
Haven Can Wait
Recently, I had decided to rent out my home. After all, what better way to change your environment, make new memories, and even change the air you breathe? Perhaps things will feel different, if I move…saying hello to new faces at new surroundings, sipping coffee in a different chair in a different spot, on a different porch. Heck, maybe the sun shines ‘brighter’ somewhere else.
After twenty years together, my home has seen the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a part of me somehow, and I can’t help but wonder if it had been “feeling the pain” through the rough spots too? Weird, but I decided to move to Philly (Queen Village) and “take a break”-or at least that’s what I called it at that time. A super chic apartment, that may as well have been called a Penthouse, was what we moved in to! Now THIS was change! It sat close to the water, I now had water views and a helicopter landing pad that reminded me never to sleep too soundly. There were new puppies to pet on my morning walks to work, and so many new locals. They were more transient than the suburban neighborhoods, but that was ideal for the girl who wanted to sort of blend in for a while. Ideal, right? The kids loved the move, at first, too.
Suffice to say, I let go of my safe-haven and wanted to create a new one. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t thinking it would be any safer being downtown, but I don’t think I even cared. I felt brave, strong, empowered. Don’t think my heart wasn’t tugging with, “Why am I even doing this?” But my reality had become that I felt like I couldn’t see past my own feet anymore. I had no clue what lied ahead of me, or how my past was making me feel. Life had become, well, humdrum. My purpose besides being a rock-star Mom had become unclear. That was not good enough for an ambitious, go-getter blonde like me.
Let me back up a bit here. Up until recently, I was white-knuckled about the whole ‘letting go’ thing, but I realized I no longer could hold on tight to things just because they’re comfortable, easy or soothing. In some strange way, our things define us, and I was feeling like they shouldn’t. The self-made temporary “heaven” (and yes, haven) I carved out for my family, was rebuilt-to-suit as each passing year my life and family grew. My pride was, and is, sky high with this little shoebox of love we called home. But somehow, deep in my bones, I had a yearning to just leave, step outside of all that I knew, go out there and start to understand what it is that makes me tick. It felt like it’s was time to change things up. The once known haven, was somehow feeling tattered to us, and my inner soul was on a
serious quest.
The memories and the love that poured out of the walls in my home are indescribable. Was I sure this was the “change” I needed? Anyone who walked into our pad was like “OMG, Zen, love, peace…can I just sit for a moment and take it in?” It really was, and IS, that COOL! Step back to the beginning, before I bought it: It was an empty house for over a decade. Raw and gloomy, the neighbors joked it was haunted. It didn’t even have a 220 line for an electric dryer! Think a no-frills, never updated box with ancient and even broken windows, rotted- out seals, original metal kitchen cabinets and a tiny square for counter space. But at the time, I closed one eye and held my breath (the day I bought it) because the vision in my mind was so vivid and intense, and beautiful! I could see it and feel it. It was calling my name as I tried to walk away. It spoke to me like a little pound puppy. I knew it was mine as soon as I opened the creaky front door, but more so once I looked out the back door. No pool, and terribly overgrown, it was a bit intimidating.
The treed and near acre yard had promise of kids and pets running around, screaming and barking with delight and plenty of privacy, which is something that I desperately craved and needed even at that time of my life. I was thrity years old at that time of purchase, only had my oldest son Derek who was 9. Let’s say I’ve battled more than one curve ball over the years.
Now, let’s get something straight here, this home has never had granite and tile, stainless steal or updated hard wood floors, but it never needed it to feel magnificent. It simply, is! Sometimes, it’s all about the things you can’t see with the naked eye that truly matter. PRIDE riddled me, and I think it may have carried over into other aspects of my life too, uh um…PhillyFIT. PhillyFIT was born here, in this home, along with Darion and Savannah. All huge pluses to the home we call “868”.
Truth be told, during my toying with the idea of moving, I even flirted with the idea of selling my home. Could I afford, or even stand, to play landlord to complete strangers, when life was already feeling strange to me? Rebuilding our own broken hearts, should I just sell and just start over.
I listed it.
I couldn’t go through with it.
So, the renting of the home began. It felt like I was giving up the family pet. But the decision was made, accompanied by feelings of relief, excitement, and utter panic! Darion, my intuitive and bright twenty year old along with Savannah, the creative little one, and I, went on a bargain furniture-shopping rampage, and Shazam! The new place was full! We had the sales people at Raymour and
Flanagan on their knees and I taught Darion the fine art of negotiation (grin).
I’m either a chicken, or brilliant, but I knew in the bottom of my gut, in the
deepest of my soul, I just couldn’t let go of EVERTHING. By the time our lease was over, we moved back home. The year “off” helped me realize I was barking up the wrong tree with seeking change. My home and roots was one thing I needed to keep, they matter.
Does having to walk away from a relationship, or something that has left
you feeling gloom, mean walking away from everything you built before that
relationship (or whatever) even began? Hell no! Yep, I am rebuilding my home and filling it back up with love-a new kind of love! For a nano- second I
worried about the realtor’s thoughts of me, but I don’t really care if I’ve left them
scratching their heads…
The lesson learned was just too big to be worrying about anyone else’s opinion (Re-read that sentence-it can apply to MANY aspects of your life). And quite honestly, those folks were part of my journey and awakening, whether they know it, or even care. Subsidiary lesson learned – let go of the fears that you can’t really control (worrying about letting others down).
Let the rebuilding begin, one paycheck at time, one bonus at a time, one
replacement window at a time, one wall painted. For what seemed like an
eternity, each dollar was earmarked for a DIY project of some sort. Over time, it morphed into a newly respectable crib. But it wasn’t so much about the objects we put in the home. It was more about the feeling of being together in it; the memories-both good and bad – made each passing day. Happiness and
togetherness, two words that really work for me. And when I say twenty, yes, twenty kids at a time sleeping over, there were many (happy) sleepless nights here. Man, it’s good to be HOME! And I am embracing it with a renewed heart and deep appreciation for all that I had worked so hard for in my past!
Change to Charge
I am emotionally charged and believe it or not, I am realizing this wasn’t just some panic attack. It’s my life, my love and my children’s roots, and it matters. In fact, we really haven’t lost that much in the big picture, we actually gained so much by stepping away from life as we knew it for a while! We have managed to forgive and still love and remain friends with those in our past, who are no longer part of our inner family. We are enjoying potential new beginnings. It’s true; life is the thing that happens when you’re busy making plans. But keeping the idea of “balance” this time round.
In my heart, my efforts to find solutions for the greater good were well intended. But in the end, I couldn’t bare the suffocating emotions that accompany good-byes. Saying so long to your home can be harder to do that saying
good-bye to people! Who knew? For a second, I felt like this “rebuilding” thing was a cruel joke, but now it feels even more exciting than the first time around. Hey EVERYONE, we’re back! No wonder I live with this eternal flame of
optimism. I get it-live your life, let your fears go. It’s worth it! My favorite workout spot…here I come! My favorite Chinese restaurant, start our “usual” order, we’ll be there soon! Walking the neighborhood, I can only imagine how silly I look with this big grin on my face for no apparent reason (or so they must think).
If you’ve followed my Pub Page over the past fifteen years, you may have noticed I took off the past two years, and didn’t publish. Man it feels good to be back! You know, truth be told, the unforeseeable circumstances bit me in the ass (chomped down really freakin’ hard actually). Realities and priorities shifted at the speed of light. I had the carpet pulled out from under me so many times; it felt like I had a mean rug burn. And yes, it hurt my (not so fit anymore) bum. I really had no other choice. I did go from change to charge, motivated by the future promise of good things to come, because I’m at the helm again darn it! And maybe now, I can settle back in to my life and get working on this ‘glum bum’ of mine again. After all, this is the home of PhillyFIT too, and I better be sure I’m living up to it!
Look, I’m a single mom in the throws of re-evaluating my life and just finally realizing that there is “nothing to fear except fear itself”. When starting any new venture, I always ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” And so, I have
decided to take on new challenges (added PhillyFIT Fashionistas camp for girls, a PhillyFIT phone app is almost ready to launch, and upped my game with a RELAUNCH and changed style of our print edition, the one you are holding! Hey, let me know what you think of it, by the way!
I think of it as adding a few more weights to the barbell- much like work in the gym. This time it’s my turn. Thankfully, surrounded by our PhillyFIT friends, I will be consulting with the local businesses to help me find my new hobbies and interests.
Maybe I’m Really a Cat
There are days when I feel like I’ve lived nine lives. But much like those darn cats, I’ve managed to land right side up on my feet after each fall (albeit a bit wobbly). Right now, there is only hope and love moving forward, thanks to all that I have learned. I need to own it, and be thankful for it all. Took me longer than most, but I believe I’m finally there.
Hey, the weather’s great – get out there and get fit!
Meow! Xoxo

Jami’s Five for Dealing with Change
1. MAKE A TIME CAPSULE
Gather up old pictures, keepsakes and meaningful items having to do with your big change. Keep it simple. If you’re moving, it could be a few flowers from your lawn or even a key from
your home. Bury it in a place you know you can go back to twenty-five years from now.
2. TAKE THINGS OFF YOUR COMPUTER AND BURN TO A DISK OR EXTERNAL DRIVE.
This is a biggie. I’ve found that old photos, old documents, etc.
can really make it hard to move on and detach. This is an
often-overlooked process that may take some time, but in the end there will be no pesky emotional remembrances on your computer. Cleansing your electronics (phone too) can be very cathartic and I highly recommend it!
3. WRITE DOWN LESSONS LEARNED/BE CREATIVE
Gosh, every country song I know is a bit of a ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ melody. Try taking a stab at writing your own song about weathering through your own personal storms. You may just opt to write a poem about moving on and not looking
back. This is something you can do with the entire family, if appropriate (every person could take a stanza).
4. LOOK FOR SIGNS
I know this one sounds hokey, but I really believe that if you’re open to receiving signs of assurance from “wherever,” you’ll feel validated in making your change. Read those fortunes inside those cookies! Watch the news, listen to the radio or just go for a drive in the car or a walk. I just taped one to my oldest son, Derek’s, bedroom door actually! Sometimes signs are all around you – you just have to be in the right frame of mind to soak them in. My late, father sends me signs all the time. I just know it; they’re too personal and too eerie not to be silent, yet strong messages channeled to me in clever ways.
5. EXERCISE
Ha! You know I had to FIT it in somewhere. Oftentimes, big change is accompanied by feelings of depression. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DEPRESSING! Letting go is quite a mournful process (I get it). There’s nothing better than releasing some powerful endorphins. The best way to do that my friends is to get your heart rate up. (Okay, so those of you with your minds in the gutter, you know what I meant.) Even taking a walk around the block counts. Start working out three times a week for at least forty-five minutes and the blues will scram, and so will those pesky pounds you hate too.

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 Renee Girifalco
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