NP – Nostalgic People?

“You’re all my family. You took me in without knowing me, and loved me. I don’t lead you. You just let me choose the workouts.” – Leader Sellen (_5280)

Perhaps it’s the warmer weather, the longer days, or that classic summer nostalgia we all tend to feel around this time of year … but it seems as though tribe members across the country have been especially wistful with regard to their connection to November Project, and the impact it has made on their lives. Across their social media platforms, remembrances, acknowledgements, and photos have looked back at members’ (and leaders’) experiences since joining this goofy tribe, in greater doses than usual. No one here is complaining- even sweet maple syrup began with a little sap. But, it is worth noting. What is it about a workout group causes such widespread enamorings to happen?

To narrow it to only one element seems to injustice each person’s personal experience; to blanket its cause as “that vibe” … also seems to be too vague. But, there is something there. There is something inherently different about this #freefitness movement, represented by yahoos of all backgrounds, goals, ages, and abilities, that makes it more than just a workout group. It makes it a family, a source of accountability, a motivation, a tribe. By definition, a tribe is “a distinct people, dependent on their land for their livelihood, who are largely self-sufficient.” That seems about right: 1- we are surely distinct to all who pass us by; 2- the land and built-environment provide us life as a template upon which to gather and utilize as we please; 3- we don’t need a damn thing to do what we do. In this simplistic understanding, perhaps that is what makes NP so special.

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November Project offers a chance to transform not only ourselves (physically, mentally) but also a chance for us to help transform others, and inherently the worlds we live in. The intrinsic nature of seeing someone else succeed, knowing that you’ve been alongside them for the journey, is immeasurably powerful. Sweaty hugs and fist bumps are among the finest free medicine to life’s ailments. Ask any medical professional. The community that we’ve built around these foolish antics is something that most of us lack in the rest of our lives. We are constantly plugged-in, connected, updated and notified. With November Project, we are individuals, we are community, we are improving, we are free.

“My first November Project workout! [photo referenced] It’s completely changed my life here in Chicago, not just by challenging me with epic workouts, but by filling my life with amazing people and making this city truly feel like home to me.” -Tribesmember Rowlands (_CHI)

“I ‪#‎verbaled a year ago and my life really changed. I still run for me, my own goals, and my own mental health but now I do it after getting some ‪#sweatyhugs and with about 50 other people cheering me on. Thank you ‪#‎np_chi for these 365 days of support, community, grueling workouts, training partners, and FUN. You push me to be a better athlete and a better person every day.” – Tribesmember Salkas (_CHI)

There are only a few instances in life when remembering a date is important. These are usually occasions when something of significance occurred, and we can each relate to those moments in our own lives. But, to have hundreds of tribes’ members from all across the country remember the date of the first time they joined November Project – a workout group – speaks volumes. How many of us can remember  (and choose to celebrate) the exact date of other such freely elected events – the date we began school, he date we registered to vote, when we got our first library card – … my guess is hardly any.

Through these sentiments – reflective of the impact of one-, two-, or three-a-week workouts – we see how truly larger-than-life this movement has become. So, it then makes sense that so many of us keep track of when we first started, incorporate NP workouts into our traveling plans, and share our homes with complete strangers to allow each other to do so. Those in our lives who are outside of the tribe may not understand it and wonder what is exactly “the deal” with the onslaught of biweekly photos and #grassrootsgear that has seemingly infiltrated our lives and our social media accounts. But so what. They’re on the outside looking in. Invite them to join! Undoubtedly, soon they will become maple syrup members as well.  Until then, keep on sapping.

To the whole fam damily, particularly those among NP_CHI: keep showing up, keep sharing the love, keep pushing yourself and the rest of us. November Project is more than just burpees or sprints- it is a community, a family, a tribe. And it is only that way because of you. You are each the lifeblood of it, simply by being yourself and showing up. Embrace your weird (and please continue to share it with the rest of us). See you this week. #justshowup #riseandgrind #recruiteveryone #maplesyrupmembers

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