August 6, 2011: the day I made my final decision. The decision that I was going to be moving the next month from California, a place I loved, to the unknown and (at the time), horrifying place called Mississippi. I was deciding to move to what I had considered “another country.”
I was prepping to take a handful of my clients on a hike in my favorite place, Lake Tahoe, the next morning as we trained for our upcoming 2011 Yosemite National Park Well-Weekend. Life was good. It was the day I decided to call my parents in Connecticut, and tell them the news that I was actually planning to move with my boyfriend, who was a pilot in the Air Force. Moving to Mississippi meant that I’d be getting married. There was no way that I’d leave without the comfort of knowing that. It was a huge decision that weighed on me for months. How could I leave a place I loved so much and was building a business in? I had clients who, for sure, would be lost. I had worked so hard to establish my roots in the area, and now I was choosing to be uprooted!? Talk about confusing times.
So, I made the phone call that I was nervous about. Once I said it out loud, it meant that it was really going to happen. I called my folks in CT to tell them the news of my decision, and that’s the night my life changed forever. I called home, at the exact moment that my mother had just gotten the news of my dad's (Dave Solomon) car crash. That he was killed just minutes before, and that our life would be changed forever. Suddenly telling them the news of me moving to Mississippi wasn’t so important anymore. In fact, there was no way to ever tell the news to my dad now. If only I had made my decision one day prior.
Needless to say, my life turned upside down for a few months. I still, to this day, have no clue how I got through it all, but somehow now, life was too short not to do things that scared me, and moving to Mississippi scared the heck out of me. But now, it was a bit of an escape (and break) from reality.
I always said I wouldn't move without a “ring,” so the day the moving truck was packed, I surely got that ring, and was engaged, and chose the life of a military spouse. Now, I would have to move my business, my life, and find new friends, every 1, 2, 3, or 4 years. How the heck was I going to do it? I had just spent 3-4 years in Sacramento building Live For It All, my marathon training programs, my personal training business, and I was finally beginning to be able to pay my bills! Now, I would have to rely on someone else, while I started all over… from scratch. The thought of it was simply exhausting. I was exhausted.
Out of this decision, however, was born the Trainer In Your Back Pocket program (TBP). If I hadn’t decided to move, my California clients would have never needed this program. I needed a way to continue providing them with quality workouts, quality nutrition challenges, and quality training, all while I was living elsewhere. Especially if I was to be moving every few years, I needed something mobile that could travel with me and keep me connected to my clients all over. The TBP was that gift. I put tons of effort into it. I rushed to make hundreds of videos before I left Sacramento. I saw the possibilities of the program, but had no clue how to execute it via technology. But, I got it going with the basic web coding that I knew how to do. And it worked! It wasn't fancy. It wasn't flashy. But it was there. It was a website that my clients could sign in to, and see their monthly workouts, notes and videos from me, and more. I was hopeful that this program would keep me in touch with all of my CA clients, so now moving didn’t seem as shocking, (in terms of re-starting a business). I had a program/project to keep me occupied, nonetheless.
So now I was off; driving across the country to an unknown place. I will never forget my ignorance as I drove down the highway toward Columbus, Mississippi for the first time, and saw all this farm land. I saw field after field for miles and miles, all covered in white. I had absolutely NO CLUE what it was. I was used to seeing green farmland! I asked Justin “what’s that?” and then I laughed at myself. I couldn’t believe I had actually asked what it was. I was in this place that never existed in my former world. I was in the cotton belt! Of course I knew cotton was grown here, but I had never seen a cotton field except in movies I had watched growing up. I was slightly embarrassed that I didn’t even put the pieces together that I’d be seeing cotton fields and cotton balls all over the side of the highways looking like litter. But, it’s something I’ll never forget! I really was in a new world, and it was going to be strange getting used to it. It was so strange, that I never imagined I would actually call it “home.”
Abby Malmstrom M.S. is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, wellness coach, and "real food" nutritionist. Her life as an active duty military spouse takes her all over the world, allowing her to influence, teach, and connect with folks in communities she never even dreamed of reaching. Life's an adventure, so stay tuned for the ride! It's time to "Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well, Be Well."