For all of us that have had a first day of something, school, work, swim practice (so…like, all of us), the tendency isn’t to think about the last day of it. We don’t enter into a new job, starry eyed and energetic thinking “man, the last day of this is going to be really, really sad.” Although life is structured that way and endings are inevitable, when you’re doing something you love you definitely aren’t counting down the days until you don’t get to do it anymore.
Leading my last bounce wasn’t something that I had ever really thought about. It may seem naive, but why the hell would I spend any time thinking about the last day of my favorite thing. I hadn’t ever bothered imagining my last bounce with my weird-ass face glued to paper plates, or getting 100 people to yell “fuck yeah” in front of my parents, or the discovery that Kay and Lizzie for sure haven’t ever opened a bottle of champagne before. Up until yesterday I was just the dude that helped run November Project Baltimore; it’s who I was and I didn’t ever want to be anyone else.
In the back of my mind though, while I hadn’t necessarily given much thought to the end, I had gradually begun to understand that change is most definitely a good thing. The goal was never to hang on until I was old and grey. The goal was always to pass NP on to people who were as amped and excited about the idea of NP as I was. If you’ve ever seen Lizzie Harkins lead a bounce of cheer you on through a PR day, you’d know I made the right decision. I’m grateful no one really asked me yesterday “why” I was changing roles, because the answer would have just been “It’s time.” (Or, more likely “Time it IS,” said in a Yoda voice.)
It was the right decision, but it was also a pretty damn hard decision. The reason it was so hard is because the day I ran my first hills at Federal Hill park 5 years ago with like, three people or something, I knew this is exactly what I wanted to be doing. I didn’t want to be a personal trainer, I didn’t want to be a fitness instructor, I didn’t want to be a coach…I wanted to be in front of November Project, with all its weird bounces and poorly executed dice workouts. Over the coming years NP would begin to teach me about all of the other things I wanted in life.
Turns out I also wanted really, really amazing friends who I might as well call family. NP gave me that. People that wake up at four in the morning to suffer through long, muddy races. People that help each other when they need it most. People that cry with you, travel with you, give you a microphone at their wedding, let you eat a pit beef sandwich in their bathtub or smuggle beers across state lines. If it hadn’t been for NP I probably wouldn’t have even known those types of people existed, let alone throw a rager at Lithuanian Dance hall with them. ( Don’t worry guys, we fixed the chandelier).
Then, NP goes and does something stupid and teaches me that if you have to work with someone, they might as well be the best people on the planet. I’ve had 5 amazing co-leaders by my side in five years, and to say I love them a lot wouldn’t do it justice. I don’t think you can understand how much time we all spend talking, scheming, plotting, planning, laughing, drinking and running together. How many rainy mornings Bryson arrived with an overstuffed backpack and ample cold brew. How many times Lizzie dragged me to a finish line or Pat picked me up when I was about to boot at PR day. You can’t know how far out of his way Kay has driven so that we have enough playing cards at a workout, or how many friggin photos and videos Sydney has tirelessly edited over the years. If you’re going to build something with someone, you might as well love those people. And please don’t forget Gio. If it wasn’t for that dude we wouldn’t look half as good as we do on social media. If any of those people have read this far, thank you for everything. (KEEP READING THOUGH!)
( Side note: To anyone that has ever been a partner to or in a relationship with a co-leader, thank you. It’s a lot of early mornings for everyone with a lot of stress about whether 5 or 7 burpees is the right amount. In particular, my partner Jana has been amazing, and particularly adept at navigating Tuesday nights riddled with questions like, “ hey that bag of mardi gras beads, pennies and old sourpatch kids… have you seen it?!”)
Finally, NP taught me that you can and should love what you do. It’s hard coming down from something that you believe in to the point that a 4 or 5am wakeup call every week seems like an afterthought. I know that for plenty of people NP is just a convenient free workout, but for me it was always a lot more than that. It was home, it was family and it was the thing I always wanted to do. I always thought one day I would just be over it, but I can’t think of a morning where I didn’t want to be right there. You’d think 5 years would wear down my enthusiasm. NOPE!
So while I am forever thankful for all of the love yesterday, I want it to be abundantly clear that NP has given me more than I could have ever imagined. I have traveled and made great friends all over the world because of NP. I’ve pushed myself physically because of NP. I have learned how to love and stick up for my city because of NP. I’ve learned how to really fuck up as a leader thanks to NP, and I have learned how to fix it. Most of all I’ve learned that it’s the people that matter and NP is just a good way of finding them.
Wherever you are on your NP journey, keep going, it has abundant love to give. It’s not perfect, and it’s not for everyone, but it is there for you when you need it. I’m happy to be leaving confident that will always be the case. To all the people that have made these 5 years so special, thank you*, I’ll see you in the bounce.
As always, Take Big Bites out of Life.
With NP Love,
*If you thought, “am I one of those people?”… you are.”Share via socials: