What a difference a year makes and why you shouldn’t lose hope

My friends, this one is for all of you. I’ve had this post on the tip of my tongue — or fingertips — for a while. It’s about life, and the twists and the turns and the journey, as well as the fact that you never know what’s around the corner for you, even when you can’t see the light.

What a difference a year makes

This time last year, on the outside, I was doing amazing. Dave and I had just been named part of the East Bay of San Francisco’s “40 Under 40” from Diablo Magazine; our faces were still sore from the most fun and lavish trip ever to Las Vegas with our best friends, where I even got to meet Britney Spears (OMG!); and well, everything seemed to be gravy from the outside looking in, as we worked super hard and yet still managed to travel and fit in tons of fun activities.

Ashley and Dave 40 Under 40 by A Lady Goes West

But, this time last year, I also taught my very last BODYATTACK class at my favorite gym, in my favorite time-slot, with my favorite participants, because I knew I had to give it up to further reduce my exercise load even more than I already had. While I was doing well at my full-time job at a gym company as the editor of a health website and making fun trips to L.A. for fitness shoots, I was not loving it — for various reasons. And well, most importantly, I was totally struggling to figure out how to get my hormonal cycle to be consistent and regular and ultimately get pregnant, after many many months of confusion and disappointment and no real medical answers.

During this time last year, I knew that I was very blessed with many things in my life, but I was constantly dwelling on and thinking about my fertility issues and the fact that I had no real direction or answers on what the right path was for me or for us. Dave was right there with me. In fact, we were dying to start a family and just not sure whether it was in the cards for us, as we watched every single person around us announcing pregnancy number two and three … and we couldn’t even get to one.

Just show up every day and be positive

But rather than give up or give into this hardship, I kept on. I wrote two happy and fluffy posts on A Lady Goes West each week even when I contemplated giving up this entire blog, I commuted a couple towns over in terrible traffic to a desk job that wasn’t the right fit for me Monday through Friday, and I kept teaching the only workout class at the time that I thought wasn’t ruining my fertility, Les Mills BODYPUMP, in the early mornings to a large group of devoted folks, meaning I had to wake up at 5 a.m.. And also, may I mention that I had confided in VERY few people in my life, or in OUR lives, to tell them what was really going on, so I basically kept much of my struggle to myself and to Dave and my own Mom. From the looks of it, I was doing great, and a lot of times, I was … but sometimes, I wasn’t doing so great.

Ashley with the sangria flight at California Pizza Kitchen by A Lady Goes West

I made the choice to keep working hard on all of my various buckets, which at times seemed like too much for one person and included the day job, blogging, teaching group fitness, maintaining a social life and well, my infertility issues, which needed constant attention and many appointments. And because I didn’t give up and I didn’t crumble, I was able to see many of those struggles through, and two of them are no longer issues at all any longer.

If I had known last year at this time, that this year at this time, I would be working again as an entrepreneur and focusing on my own website (which has never done better than it is doing right now, and to which I am totally grateful), and I would be in my last trimester of a very healthy pregnancy, I would have been over the moon. I wouldn’t have worried so much about what was in store for me and felt so confused and frustrated. But you know what — I didn’t know that then. All I knew were the struggles in front of my face, and at times, they seemed to be never-ending. 

Ashley and Dave at BODYPUMP by A Lady Goes West

Whatever you are going through will get better

That’s why I want to bring this up today to all of you. If you have something hard in your life — whether that’s with your health, your family, your job or your finances — please know that it’s probably not permanent. And it most likely CAN and WILL get better. While hopefully it doesn’t take you a whole year to see improvement, know that waking up each morning and putting on your brave face is important. Things can change in an instant. And if you are chipping away little by little in the right direction, one day you’ll reach that destination where you want to go. It happened to me, and I wasn’t so sure it would.

And now, when I look back on tougher times, I don’t get sad that I had to go through things that were hard. I’m happy about what I learned. I’m happy about how I’ve grown. And I’m happy that I became a better and more healthier person for persevering. 

Let me repeat this thought one more time, so you really absorb it: If you are in the throws of the tougher times … believe it or not, there’s a chance that you too will look back on these times and find some small bit of appreciation for what you learned, even if you can’t imagine that now. You will be stronger. You will have growth. You will find happiness …

Ashley on top of Red Rock Canyon in Vegas by A Lady Goes West

Speaking of what I’ve learned, by the way, for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read my ebook, “Fit and Fertile,” I would still LOVE for you to check it out. I poured my heart and soul into that ebook, not only sharing my entire story (which has not made it onto the blog and only remains in the ebook), complete with medical procedures, lifestyle changes and a lot of helpful self-reflection, but I also offered some tips for women seeking assistance with cycle irregularity, hypothalamic amenorrhea and plain old balance with their hormones. If you want to buy the book, use the code, aladygoeswestfriends, for a discount too. Writing my ebook was perhaps one of the most therapeutic ways to put closure on a tough time, and I’m so glad I did it.

You are stronger than you think

My friends! Whatever you have on your plate right now, I wish you the best of luck handling it. You are stronger than you think, and you mean a lot to the people in your life — so keep your chin up and keep on keepin’ on. Because you just never know where you will be in a few weeks, a few months or even a year.

As always, thank you for being here on the blog. You have no idea how much your presence, your clicks, and your eyes mean to this lady. Be well!

Get your chin up! Here's a little #motivation on what a difference a year makes by @apstyle ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

What’s something tough that you’ve overcome in life?

What’s a positive mantra that you like to use when you need it?

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37 Comments

  1. I’m currently working on some issues similar to what you describe in you’re ebook so thank you so much for sharing some continued inspiration!

    1. Hi Erin! I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time with all things hormones/fertility/etc. because I KNOW how confusing and hard it is to feel helpless and like you don’t have answers. But if you keep trying to make improvements, you will make a difference and get better soon. Then it will all be a memory. Sending you hugs and strength, lady! πŸ™‚ Please let me know if I can answer any questions not answered in the ebook. πŸ™‚

  2. I feel like it’s okay in the moment to think this is the hardest thing and allow your time to wallow, to a point, and then like you did, work towards what you can do to fix it. I am so happy for you and can’t wait to see your bundle of joy!

    1. YES, Heather. I wallowed hehehe, for sure, but I kept doing the right thing. And eventually, things improved. Thank you so much for reading, lady! πŸ™‚

  3. I’m so glad you are in a better place this year and expecting your little bundle of joy! It is so hard to see how it will get better when you are in the midst of tough times, but often times you are making progress and it does get better. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Emily! Totally! That’s why I wanted to write this post, because I have come through the tough parts! When you’re in it, you have trouble seeing that there is light at the end. Thank you SO much for reading, friend. πŸ™‚

  4. This was so, so needed today <3 I'm in a similar place that you just described you were in a year ago and I've been feeling at such a loss recently! Such a great reminder to continue to show up and chip away, day by day. You've also motivated me to take the plunge and purchase your book πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kaitlyn, Feeling at a loss of what to do is how I felt ALL THE TIME. But if you are slowly making the right changes and keeping up with them, it’s bound to help. So do keep up with it. And I’m wishing you the best, lady! Let me know if I can answer any questions that are not answered in my book. THANK YOU for reading it. πŸ™‚

  5. This post came at a really good time for me because I am feeling incredibly defeated in several categories. I do put on my brave face daily and very few people know everything. I often feel like I am only floating through life and not actually living it because I am not where I want to be. Not even close. But I shall take your advice and do my best to keep chipping away and living life the best way I can.

    1. Hi Courtney! I know, friend. I know. You don’t have to tell everyone everything, by the way. I was not ready to share about the fertility stuff for QUITE some time, so I get it. But as far as feeling defeated in your buckets, perhaps you need to approach some of the buckets differently? hehehe If that makes any sense? Or maybe you are doing it all exactly right, and you have some improvement coming around the corner. No matter what, there are good things ahead for you – I just know it. Keep your chin up, lady! One day you will look back on this tougher time and know that it made you very strong! And of course, if you want to chat about anything, I’m here for you! πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you for this post! I had a miscarriage on my son’s second birthday a few weeks ago, and I’ve been feeling really lost and worried about the future, while also knowing that I’m so lucky to even have one child. I love your advice here and hope to put it to work <3

    1. Hi Julie! I am SO incredibly sorry to hear about the miscarriage, and I’m sure the pain and confusion and maybe even anger is rough right now. While I can’t relate to the exact feeling of a miscarriage, I can relate to the helplessness that you must feel. Hug your little child tight, and know that one day this will just be a memory. Thank you SO much for sharing and reading, and I’m sending you tons of good thoughts, my friend! πŸ™‚

  7. Ashely I LOVE that you shared this post. I think it’s so easy to only share the positive things online when deep down we all have things we’re struggling with. One thing I always try to tell myself when feeling in a rut, is if I change nothing, nothing changes. I’m so excited to see your baby boy in just a few months πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Patricia! I really appreciate you always reading and commenting! And yes — sometimes you aren’t ready to share about the bad, but it’s always worth opening up, especially if you learned a lot like I did! πŸ™‚

  8. Love this post so much! Social media doesn’t always paint the whole picture of ‘whats going on! Gosh when we had Charlotte and lost Declan I took a huge break from the blog….I’d write fluffy posts like you said but jsut wasnt into it. It is interesting to look back at where I was a year ago and where I am today….These things do get better in time! Thanks for sharing your story!! Can’t wait to see pictures of your little man soon!

    1. Hi Marielle! Exactly, you went through some seriously hard stuff, and of course, you’ve come away so much stronger. It’s totally okay to step away from sharing when you need to — and for me — I just needed to wait a while before being ready to share. As always, I truly appreciate your friendship, lady! πŸ™‚

  9. Ashley, I’m so happy to see you are in a happy place and I love reading the pregnancy updates! I think this post was so well written and so brave of you. In today’s social media-centric world it is tempting to put a filter (figuratively and literally) on everything and portray a vision of perfection. I myself had a hard time towards the end of my time in SF. I hated my job, hated my living situation, and was single. I worried so much about how my life would turn out. I did my best to put on a brave face. I kept a lot of it to myself. Fast forward a few years and I love my job, love where I live, and am about to marry the love of my life. I agree with you, if you keep moving forward, tough times get better and things have a way of working themselves out. As always, thanks for sharing. I love your blog.

    1. Hi lady!! I’m SOOOO happy to hear from you and to know that you are doing so well! Isn’t it funny how things start to work out eventually and more than one piece falls together in your own personal puzzle? While I’m sad to hear that your time in SF had its trouble, I’m VERY happy I was able to connect with you in classes. You and your man are ADORABLE, and I love seeing your happy pictures! Thanks SO much for saying hi, my friend!! πŸ™‚

  10. I’m so happy you are in a happier place. I know for me, leaving corporate America was the best thing I did for my health. It was how I got my periods back. Too much stress does more damage then we can often see. Unfortunately, doctors don’t look to that first.

    1. Hi Megan! Ohhhh stress is a killer! I LOVE how you have totally transformed your life over the last year or so and have seen so much success at the same time. Thank you for reading, my friend! πŸ™‚

  11. Great post! I’m so glad things are a million times better than they were last year. I’m going to remember this next time I’m feeling like things will never get better for me!

    1. Hi Kristen! Thanks so much! Definitely a good one to keep in the back pocket for when you need it. πŸ™‚ Hope everything is just peachy in your world! Thank you for saying hi!

  12. So happy for you ! Great inspiration. Great post.
    But for many of us we have reason to have no hope where issues of finances , housing and budget are concerned, especially we single women struggling in the Bay area without that -easy living- 2nd income from a male half. People with a 2nd income from a husband have no idea how bad life can be without that. I live in terror every day but I remind myself daily of my Moms Mantra she taught me as I stand in food lines, live each week on 5.00 and try to cope with financial disaster every single day. with no hope of improvement.
    Thanks Mom for this = “Be Smart, Be Strong,! Works every time I repeat it to myself

    1. Hi Lexie! Thank you for reading. And I know how hard it is to make ends meet in THE most expensive place to live — it’s definitely not easy. And surviving on your own income definitely presents more of a challenge, but your Mom was RIGHT! You can do it, and you ARE doing it. Keep up the great work, lady. As always, thank you for reading! πŸ™‚

  13. Life is such a journey, and a single year is a LONG LONG time. I am so happy for you how you have found the past 12 months–you have fought for what you wanted, you are realizing your dreams, and you are doing what you need to do to achieve you best happiness.

  14. Love this post! I didn’t deal with infertility, but I did struggle emotionally for YEARS in my late teens-early/mid twenties. I was suicidal for a long time and saw no reason to live. I went to counseling a handful of times and one thing that stuck with me was one of the counselors telling me that you don’t grow when times are easy- you grow when times are tough. Looking back, that has been one of the wisest things anybody has told me and I’ve told myself that so many times. I also put on a happy face a lot and I don’t know if people knew how much I was actually struggling back then, but eventually, that happy face became real. It was through health and fitness that I really stepped out of those hard times for good. It’s incredibly lonely to be dealing with so many feelings alone, but eventually, you really can come out on top!

    1. Hi Liz! Wow — thank you for opening up and sharing this. What a TRUE statement you said “I put on a happy face and eventually that happy face became real.” I think that is SO smart. It’s not like you were faking or hiding from your issues, but working through them, and here you are much stronger. I’m SO happy to hear that you are in a better place, lady!

  15. Ashley as you know I read your blog religiously, and I love the honesty of this post. More importantly, the message is perfect. Thank you so much as always for sharing, and congrats! Your last trimester will fly by…can’t wait to meet the new addition!

    1. Hi Vanessa! Thank you so much for reading! πŸ™‚ I really appreciate YOU! And I would definitely agree that things are already starting to fly by in this last trimester.

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