One of the most powerful pieces of November Project is the connections that you make. Today’s guest post is from someone I admire and respect tremendously. I’ve been taking notes since the day I met them and have nothing but powerful memories that bring a smile to my face. I know that many of you feel the same way about him and his family. He has a very unique mix of practicality, while pushing the boundaries and living on the edge. His sense of humour is fairly intelligent, and 90% of the time has me wondering if he’s being serious or messing with me. At this point, I’m 98% sure that he’s not messing with me about this move and that it’s really happening. And while I’m so sad about them moving, I’m excited for them to be closer to their family and to start the next chapter of their lives. Without further adieu, here’s a final goodbye from our friend, Matt Edmonds.
It’s not just a workout.
When Carleigh and I first showed up to November Project, it was our 7th day living in Edmonton. We’d driven across the country the week before so that I could take a job at the U of A, and our entire social circle consisted of one friend from Ottawa and our downstairs neighbour. Both recommended some morning workout group, and when everyone you know is talking about something, you give it a shot. That day, November 7th, 2014, we ran (/walked) Emily Murphy Hill, talked to no one, and wondered how anyone could stand to exercise when it was barely 5 degrees out.
Friday turned to Monday, solitude turned to socializing, and running turned to, well, more running. I don’t remember when the whole 6am workout thing became normal, but I remember the first day I opted out of NP because “I just didn’t feel like it.” The FOMO that morning was INTENSE! It wasn’t because I’d missed a workout; it was that I felt like I’d let down my friends.
Because here’s the thing: November Project is never just a workout.
You know this. Whether you’ve shown up twice or two hundred times, you can tell. This community gets in your blood.
For us, sure it meant getting in better shape. And it meant some pretty cool experiences along the way (I never expected to finish a marathon or lead the bounce when we started).
But the reason we kept coming back – the reason we couldn’t stand to be away – was the people. It was the high fives you’d get at the top of the hill, the encouragement from people coming down the stairs, and the hugs you’d get before and after.
More than that, it was getting to know the people around you; getting to be there for them, and them being there for you when you needed it. Those workouts turned into ultimate frisbee teams, movie dates, squash buddies, and skiing crews.
So what do you call that? Is it just a workout group? Is it community?
More importantly, what do you call people who come look after your dog when you have to rush to the hospital? Who help you move? Who take you camping? Who offer to look after your baby so you can have two hours of date night?
This is more than friendship. This is family.
Thinking back to that (admittedly pretty mild) November morning, it’s hard to comprehend how much that group of strangers would mean to us. We always knew that traveling from Ontario would mean leaving our family. We hadn’t expected it would mean gaining another one altogether.
So thank you, NP, for being the family we couldn’t live without. You have given us so much more love, support, and friendship than I would have ever imagined, and you’ve made me want to be a better version of myself as a result. You folks are what happens when a group of people commit to bringing out the best in one another.
And now, as Carleigh, Isaac, and I get ready to move back across the country, I’m struck with the same feeling we had five years ago before making the trip out here. I’m mourning the family that was built around us, knowing I’ll never be able to convey just how much of a difference you made in our lives.
With all my heart, thank you NP. You’re the reason this city feels like home.
Team B for the win.
See you Wednesday at the RG Stairs.
Find the Good,