Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you meet someone who rocks your world, changes its course and makes it different in a better way. And if you’re really lucky, knowing them gives you better abs, too.
I got this kind of lucky eight years ago during one more stop on the long bus ride that is having a bad back. I met Colleen Quinn (go to her website, it’s cool and you can train with her in all sorts of different ways), a super smart, witty and warm personal trainer, with a physical therapy background. I was skeptical of her being able to do much with me and my long standing back problems, but she came recommended by another back sufferer friend, and so I thought, why not.
It’s impossible to believe eight years has passed since I began working out with Colleen, but there it is. Eight years. My daughter was just eight, barely old enough to walk to school alone. Jake was in 6th grade, and on the brink of adolescence. I didn’t even have a dog. I could still dye my hair every six weeks back then. And my sister Joni still lived here. My strength was non-existent. I power walked as exercise and dealt with back pain episodes every year or two that would force me once again into physical therapy and Advil abuse. Enter Colleen and her studio Eutopia. Little by little, as Colleen got to know my body, she was able to get me to lift weights, twist (something I feared doing for like 20 years), do yoga. At some point, I think I even won a contest for being able to hold the longest plank.
But Colleen didn’t just give me core strength, she gave me core confidence in my faulty spine. And as an added bonus, she became my friend. Together, in her studio, we’ve solved most of life’s larger issues, with spiritual plans and jokes. We’ve basked in the sun on the Vineyard and lived to tell the story of a lightning storm at Crane’s. We’ve eaten pot stickers, and toasted our birthdays. We’ve texted through The Voice, and admitted most of our darkest, saddest secrets to one another. And we’ve laughed. At nearly everything there is to laugh at, funny or not. Because we both know that’s the real key to getting through this here world. We have a mutual admiration society for dogs, ours in particular. And a love for good music (Steve Forbert, anyone? Not that either of us can sing). She has helped Jake through knee surgeries, Ally through a soccer season, and Peter through the damaging effects of his arthritis. She’s stayed in my house and taken care of my dog. She’s one part friend, one part sister.
And on Wednesday she leaves for California, to start a new adventure, to enjoy warmer weather, and all that coast has to offer. I can’t say goodbye because I just don’t have the muscle. But I can say thank you. And I can say, I will never ever forget you. And I can say how grateful I was to be in your presence for so long. Yeah, I got lucky eight years ago. Sometimes that happens. Drink water, breathe and laugh, Colleen. Remember the Lansbury’s love you, and we’re all always just a phone call away.