Amor Fati

“Love of Fate”

 This tenant of stoic philosophy states we should love anything that occurs in life because all things are necessary; whether pleasant or painful.

Just as a blazing fire, we can make flame and brightness out of everything that is thrown at us.

“Amor Fati” was the note on the white board over my bright, good-looking, 21 year-old nephew Ian’s desk.  

He had gotten his first job working at the local gym in a small town in Washington. When he was young this was something I wasn’t sure he would be able to do. Each of us have challenges, some more visible than others. Being a brilliant and an exceptionally good-looking kid, few people knew that he struggled with Asperger’s syndrome and depression.

He was always kind, but Asperger’s is known for challenges with understanding the communication we do through facial expressions, which is a lot, so he found it difficult to make friends when he was younger. His determination was unwavering. Over the years I got to see him try and fail until he had several friends, managed to get his drivers license, successfully completed high school, and landed the gym job. 

I could not have been more proud. To add to my delight he had gotten the same determination and fitness gene that I had! I had the pleasure of teaching him to ski and being asked for nutrition and training tips. This was great!

This summer he was able to come and stay with me for a week. He was studying for his personal training certification and wanted to shadow my work. I felt like a celebrity. I was impressed by the knowledge of the muscles and terminology he had learned so far.

At home I was impressed by his emotional maturity. For example, I’d made taco meat in the past that he loved and had promised to make more. This time he was watching me. Asperger’s is on the autism spectrum and can come with many food aversions. He had a strong aversion to tomatoes and I was adding them to the taco meat. It was the same recipe I had used before, this was just the first time he knew it had tomatoes. You could see on his face that he was starting to freak out inside, then he stopped and said, “This is a part of my thing. I can make a choice. It’s ok to have tomatoes in the taco meat.” We had dinner and everything was great. He had already learned the secret to what EVERY adult needs to know to have world peace! “This is my issue, and I can make a choice.” 

On the way back to the airport Ian got very serious. He wanted me to know that when he had first started working out it was to punish himself because he did not like himself. Anyone can get these feeling sometimes, I had not understood how challenging and deep they were for him. He went on to explain that exercise ultimately cured his depression and saved his life. He wanted to do personal training because he wanted to keep exercise as an important part of his life, and to share it with others to help everyone else to feel good too.

Ian also loved motorcycles and had taken safety classes and found a group to ride with.  One month after his visit he slid out in some gravel on a curve in the road. One of the riders behind him was unable to avoid hitting him. Ian was unable to survive the injuries he sustained.

Ian was inspiring and even at such a young age he gifted us with many lessons. It is with great sorrow and the notable void left from Ian’s loss that in his honor, I share with you these treasures that he wanted to share with the world.

1. Exercise IS the best cure for depression and DOES help people find happiness. 
2. “Live your life in such a way that you are ready to face death at any moment with no regrets.” (One of his journal entries)
3. “Do good by your people.” (another journal entry) Treat them with love and respect  and remember “This is your issue, you can make a choice.”

Life can be so short. None of us really know if we’ll still be here tomorrow.

I appreciate your patience with my silence the last couple of months, now you understand why. It’s time to get back at it. Lifestyle Therapy encompasses all the components that you need to thrive and enjoy every minute that you’re here. Except maybe during the ball pikes…. 🙂

If you are struggling with depression, or simply not happy with your life, PLEASE,  let me help you with your health. It would be my honor. 

~ Aunt Sydney