Happy and Healthy in Tampa

Have you ever thought you were meant for something more? I’ve felt this way most of my life. There’s even an item on my Life List that’s “change the world” – no kidding! Every now and then you hear people say their line of work or hobby is a “calling.” Well I’ve been hearing a “call” all of my life, only it’s in another language or it’s far away and I just can’t understand what it’s saying. The result of this is that I’m constantly coming up with these big, grand ideas that fizzle out shortly after I have them because they’re not the right fit for me. 

I explain all this because maybe it’ll help you understand the crazy mix of anticipation and anxiety I’m having right now. See, ever since I’ve started on this leg of my health journey I’ve been wanting to CONNECT with others who have faced the same struggles. I considered starting a Facebook group but that didn’t seem real productive. So I’ve settled on a new idea that just might work – a Meetup group in Tampa (where I live) called Happy and Healthy. 

The goal of the group will be the combination of having fun and getting/staying healthy. I want it to include fun, active events (group hikes, dance parties, water balloon fights, etc) that show how you can burn calories just by LIVING. I also want it to include all the normal things people do for fun (bowling, game nights, dinners out, etc) so people who have struggled with weight loss can see that it’s possible to be healthy and still enjoy yourself. Lastly, I want it to include discussion – the full sharing of ideas and experiences we’ve all had while trying to get healthy so everyone can learn from each other and reach their goals.

Why Meetup? Well there’s a number of reasons, really:

  • I know I can do it. I’ve run a few successful Meetup groups in the past.
  • I love the creative side of organizing Meetup groups. The events we have are only limited by what I can come up with.
  • I like the idea of face-to-face connection and interaction.
  • Doing something local also helps me to get out more and explore the area.
  • I think more impact can be made when we all can see/do things in real-life situations.
  • Being the organizer in this type of group will be good motivation for me to stay on track with my own health journey.

So given all that, it makes sense, right? Well I’m anxious all the same. I think it’s because getting healthy is something I’m really becoming passionate about and, as such, this may be the closest I’ve come to understanding that “call.”   

Still, other internal and external doubts come to mind:

  • My husband wonders if there will be low interest because people will see this group as nothing but monotonous conversation. I think my target audience would be ABSOLUTELY interested in this but who’s to say which of us is right?
  • I’m notorious for taking on too much. What if that happens with this? Maybe there will be higher interest than I anticipate and I won’t be able to handle it all or I’ll actually fall off track with my own weight loss because I’m too busy.
  • What if I can’t let the group follow a natural progression and I try to accomplish too much with it at once? When I say I “dream big” I really mean it. At its basics this group would be a few casual get-togethers every month. But I’ve already imagined it being way more than that. Maybe we’ll do regular birthday celebrations for members. Oh, and I could encourage members to share their goals so I can encourage them individually. Maybe we’ll do huge celebrations whenever someone reaches a a milestone – that’d be fun! Ooh, what if we have photo shoots and ceremonies when people reach their end goal? And maybe I could establish a mentorship program where successful members help guide new ones! Maybe the group will be so successful that we expand into other cities! I wonder if I could figure out a way to make a living at this (even though I don’t want to charge people to participate)…See what I mean?
  • What if this requires too much energy to sustain? I work in a somewhat stressful job with high interaction with others. So maybe adding more highly interactive activity in my downtime will be too much.
  • Am I completely out of my element with this idea? I mean, who am I to think I can help others? I haven’t even reached my own goal weight yet!
  • What if I’m wrong about this being the path for me and I let others down because I can’t sustain the group? This is perhaps the worst negative thought for me. Every time I think I’ve found the right idea and I’m wrong, I HATE it. It makes me feel flaky. I’m fairly self-aware and I don’t think I’m truly a flaky person but maybe that’s a blind spot I have for myself. I would really like for that to not be the case.

Here’s the thing: Anytime we try something new or big there’s bound to be some doubts, right? So here is my logic for all of the above doubts:

  • My husband could be right. But he’s also never struggled with his weight or health so he won’t have the same perspective as those of us who have. All I can go off is how I feel about it.
  • Because I’ve run Meetups before, I know how time-consuming it can be. So I’ve already made plans to recruit some assistance from other members who like to plan events.
  • Since I’m aware that I “dream big” I can hopefully rein myself in to allow that natural progression.
  • It is likely that I WILL get overwhelmed at times. In those moments I’ll just have to remind myself of the larger picture and plan in some alone time so I can find my balance.
  • I may not be any kind of expert and I may still be working on my goals. But no matter what, I – and anyone else who’s struggled with weight loss – have something to share that might help someone else. 
  • It is still possible that I will find out this is not the right path. There’s no way for me to know that until I try. In the meantime, I’ve put a lot of thought into it and it still feels right. I can’t do much more than that.

Who knows what will happen with this group idea? All I know right now is the group is created and I’m in the intolerable 4-day waiting period before it’s actually announced to anyone. If all goes well, it will be announced, members will start rolling in, and will start having fun AND success! If not, well maybe this is not my “call” and I’ll keep looking. Time will tell I guess!


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