Surviving an Emotional Whammy by Becoming Ms. May

An emotional whammy can suck the breath of out you. It may be sudden or, it may be a long drawn out affair. It can change your life.

How it changes your life is up to you.


My emotional whammy of 2015 occurred in November, ending what had been the perfect romantic Lifetime Movie. The original script read: divorcee slowly falls in love with Gentleman Caller with Smiling Eyes (GCSE); quits her job; gets engaged; sells condo; buys house with GCSE; downsizes possessions so she can upsize her life with him and moves in.

 At that point, the credits role and the screen reads “Happily Ever After”.

Cue now the dramatic music and the new script: four weeks after moving in and without any warning, the GCSE abruptly discards her and takes his furniture and possessions and moves to another state… leaving her in a half-empty house with a broken heart.

Instead of being a happily-ever-after Disney movie, it turned into a dark drama during which I spent time crying and dwelling in the land of self-pity.  I also spent time doing something else….. I started visiting the refrigerator…. a lot.

And I was not looking for broccoli.

One morning, while looking in the mirror, a cartoon about two cats came to mind. In the cartoon, one cat was grabbing the other around its neck and screaming “I AM NOT FAT!!  I AM FLUFFY!!” 

I was obviously heading towards fluffiness and, in my current emotional state, fluffy would be bad.

Fortunately, there was a gym a mere 7 minutes from my new home with only two stop signs to slow me down. I drove to the gym and signed up. Feeling highly motivated, I scheduled an appointment with a fitness consultant, Theresa.

We met two days later. She asked questions such as “what is your current fitness routine” (walking to the refrigerator) and “what are your fitness goals” (I do not want to become fluffy) and then, trying to make small talk, she asked why I recently moved.

I was thinking…..SIT DOWN…HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE??  I gave her the abbreviated version of the 2015 Lifetime Movie.

When I was done, she was gasping and patting my hand and saying “oh my and he and oh my” and so forth. She looked at me seriously and said “hmmm, I need to give some thought as to which personal trainer to recommend.  Pause… Pause… Pause…  I know….you need to train with David. He will make you laugh.”

A trainer that will make me laugh? Ok…that could be good. Would I lose more weight if I am laughing while exercising?

Two days later I met David. I could tell right off we were not on the same page in regards to this training stuff. I have to confess….. I was thinking I would just do this for a couple of months. My mindset was I would “dabble” in training to get me over my depressed state and then I would return to my previous exercise routine of being a mall walker and lifting 3 pound weights.

David, however, made it clear working with him takes dedication. He is committed to helping his clients develop a healthy lifestyle. It is not just about the 30 minutes in the gym but he pushes and encourages you to be healthy all the time. In return, he expects you to give 100%.


Our initial conversation gave me an inkling of this…

David: Where is your towel?

Me: I don’t have a towel. Why do I need one?

David: to wipe off sweat when you exercise.

Me: OK. (Me to self—sweat? What is he talking about? I am not going to sweat. I don’t like sweating.)

David: And where is your water bottle?

Me: I don’t have a water bottle. Why do I need one?

David: (slight role of his eyes heavenward) When you sweat, you will lose fluids. You must replenish fluids. You need to start drinking 96 ounces of water a day.

Me: OK. (Me to self—what is his obsession with sweating??  And when do we start laughing?)

At the end of this story you will find pictures. And lo and behold, there is one of me—sweating—and I am holding (gasp) a water bottle AND a towel. However, in typical Janet fashion, it is not a boring white towel. It is one my (I Love Orange) grandson would approve of.

I signed up for 3 months of training and committed to 3 sessions a week—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was to train with David for 30 minutes and then do 30 minutes of cardiovascular on my own. Because I realized I needed a set routine, I also (in a moment of true depression-related insanity) committed to meet him at 5:30 AM.

Yes, you read that correctly—I said 5:30 AM.

For the first two months, there were moments when I considered quitting. It was winter and cold. I was still going through some very nasty post-engagement-breakup emotional issues.

The alarm would go off at 5 AM. I would roll out of bed; brush my teeth; pull my hair back; slap some water on my face; and, in keeping with Nana’s Rule #5a, put on lipstick; and drive to the gym for 30 minutes of personal torture training that pushed and challenged me.

Even now I am not sure why I never quit. Certainly some of it was due to David…. and yes, he did and still does make me laugh.

He also genuinely cares about his clients but his caring is not limited to your physical health. He encouraged me to get out and not stay at home all the time; he introduced me to other women at the gym so I could make friends; he and I have shared stories about his children (ages 11 and 6) and my grandchildren.

David has sayings—such as— “sweat is your fat crying” (he definitely tries to make sure my fat is crying) and, speaking of fat, I have “skinny fat” (whatever that is); when I am doing reps and wearing out, he yells “treat yourself…don’t cheat yourself”.

When I am moaning and saying I can’t lift the weight one more time or do one more squat, he will yell out loud for the entire gym to hear “Janet is going to do 3 more squats” and I have no choice but to do them!

By February, two months into my routine, I began seeing changes. I was stronger and started looking forward to the challenges those 30 minutes would bring.

But there was another motivation for me and it involved a date that was 3 months away—May 11th.


You see, on May 11th I was going to turn 65 and would officially be a MW—a Medicare Woman.

As I thought about this milestone birthday, I realized I finally had a fitness goal—I wanted to be in the best shape possible—physically and psychologically—on that day.

I told David if Medicare ever had a Medicare Babes calendar, I wanted to be Ms. May.  I became fully committed to creating my new healthy lifestyle.

At the end of this post you will see pictures taken during these last 5 months. These are not air brushed photos of a blonde with flowing hair smiling as she lifts weights. If it looks as if I am grunting or grimacing in some of the photos….. well….. that is because I am. They are real “oh-my-gosh….. I do not think I can lift this one more time” moments.

My November 2015 Emotional Whammy sucked the breath out of me. It broke my heart. It changed my life…. but in ways I would have never imagined.

David is right—being healthy is not just about physical health. It is a total package. To be truly healthy you must have balance and strength in all areas—physical and psychological.

I have learned there are various kinds of strength. Some strength comes from lifting weights or doing leg presses; some comes from screwing up enough courage to go to a neighborhood social by yourself; and some comes from sitting by yourself on a screen porch and not allowing feelings of self-pity to overwhelm you.

But when you develop strength on multiple levels—physical and psychological—you get an “I can do anything” attitude. I have that attitude now and I am stronger and striving to live life to its fullest.

Life is filled with mundane moments and it usually does not resemble Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Most of us have jobs and responsibilities and deadlines and family duties. Some of my days could be viewed as mindlessly dull and boring.

But I have learned  I can still feel outrageously alive while standing in line at the grocery store.

This I know for sure…..  I survived my 2015 Emotional Whammy by taking steps towards a new life ….. by becoming stronger….. and along the way, I found joy again.

Is it time for you to do the same thing?


Becoming Ms. May

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