The A Team (Not That One)

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I hope you all are grilling, enjoying the sun, and relaxing to your heart’s content. Though I am not at all proud of many things that America has become in recent years, and there is so very much that I would change, if I could – I am still grateful for the many freedoms and privileges that remain to us. In a perfect world, they would belong to us all, regardless of nation, race, gender, sexuality, faith, and lifestyle – but we have yet to build that world, and it’s heartbreaking to see that possibility so challenged by the pain that we inflict on each other through fear and rejection. What we do with our freedom and privilege now will set the tone for how history remembers us – may we endeavor to remain the land of the free AND the home of the brave in the years to come. It is bravery that will carry us into a brighter future for all.

Today will be a very quiet, very rare day of peace in the Bruce household. Though we could go and take care of our usual self-exercise plans, my TRX class was cancelled this week due to the holiday, and we’re both quite exhausted from last week’s tough workouts. Today, and today only – we are choosing to rest. (We’re planning to try the PROjam class I mentioned before on Thursday instead. Fingers crossed!) John is off taking in a baseball game with a friend today – go Mariners! For my part, I am planning to catch up on a couple of sorely-delayed phone calls, get some good EXPER3 work done while things are quiet, and otherwise focus on relaxing.

Beautiful lilies and roses!

I wanted to share a little surprise with you all today. Last Friday, we came home from our usual workout to find a beautiful little bouquet of flowers sitting on our doorstep. This was surprising enough, but then we noticed that the attached card had the 20/20 logo on it. One of the many amenities the Pro Club offers is a florist shop; they cater to busy professionals who might need a bouquet picked up or delivered during their lunch and/or gym break. We pass by the shop all the time on our way in and out of the club, and I’ve often thought about picking up a bouquet just to brighten up our condo a little. Alas, I haven’t done it because we’re never home to enjoy the flowers! It was a major sacrifice for me to stop picking up flowers at our local grocery store too, since I’d gotten used to having that little bit of color and freshness around prior to the program.

To add to the confusion, we’d received a similar, unsigned card (sans flowers) in the mail the week before. That one contained an incredibly nice gift card, and thanked us for referring each other to the program. We’ve made so many friends among the staff that recognize us, stop to chat, and know our story from being at the club so often, and any one of them could have sent it, but it could have come from someone on our team as well.¬†We’ve been eating off of that card all week for lunches, which aren’t cheap at the bistro. This is in addition to things like birthday coupons and comped drinks that we’ve gotten from some of our closest supporters. At least some of what we’ve been paying into this program is coming back to us in the form of goodwill, kindness, and keeping our morale up, and it really helps to ease the struggle on tough weeks.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the level of kindness we’ve received over the last three months; while I’m sure it’s good business, I’m also sure that people have gone well out of their way for us when they didn’t have to. Even if I weren’t already dedicated to this process for my own reasons, living up to their respect and all the effort they put into helping us is another good reason to keep up the great work!

Amelia and John, We are all so very proud of all your hard work and success you have achieved. Thank you for your dedication to a new healthy lifestyle. Your 20/20 team
Kind words.*

The flowers turned out to have a much simpler explanation. In honor of the halfway point of our journey through 20/20, it appears that our amazing teams both got together to surprise and thank us for putting so much of ourselves into this program. I’ll admit that I teared up for a second when I saw the card. Last week was a great week for getting back on track, but I was also starting to burn myself out from pushing too hard. On top of that, all my fears and insecurities were starting to get the better of me; I was frustrated by not losing more weight than I had, worried I wasn’t working hard enough (despite not having anything left to give,) and generally feeling behind the eight-ball when it came to the rest of my life outside the program. I may now recognize that I can’t afford to be everything to everyone, and that other areas of my life might need to suffer for now while I do what’s right for me, but accepting the possibility that others won’t understand or accept that is still difficult.

Earlier that same Friday, I’d hit a point where I needed to talk to someone about this, and started complaining to John – and as if summoned from the ether by the sound of his program, Dr. Mark (the owner of the Pro Club, and the mastermind behind the 20/20 program) showed up to cheer us on. He’s the kindest man you’ll ever meet, and he’s taken a liking to us in particular, according to our team. Every time he sees us, he makes sure to say hello and encourage us. It’s rare for a couple to work as hard as we have; many folks can’t even get their spouses to support them, let alone go through the program with them. We started this program in deeper need than most people, and yet we’re still here, still giving it 500% of our best. I’m still not sure whether he heard me worrying I wasn’t doing enough, or whether he was just being his usual awesome self, but – well, I know serendipity when I see it. It’s been the story of my life since time immemorial. Things work out for me when they need to – or if they’re not meant to, it’s clear as day they weren’t meant to.

Thanks to our team’s kindness, the Pro Club’s kindness, and the always-present love from our friends and family that have supported us this far, I’m feeling a lot better this week, and I’m ready to shed more of this weight in blood, sweat, and tears! Getting through one day at a time is still my main focus, and will continue to be for the remaining three months of this program. It is more than clear to me now that I could never have made these kinds of changes all on my own, and I couldn’t be happier to have ended up in the company of such amazing people for the journey. While we accept and deeply appreciate the thanks they’ve offered us, we insist that the gratitude is all ours – for the patience, the understanding, the flexibility, the encouragement, and the knowledge that has helped us to make it this far. Between that, the love that our fine readers continue to give us every day, and our eternal love and devotion to each other, there is nothing that can stop us from achieving our dreams.

As we continue to spend this year in a distant, Washingtonian cocoon of our own choosing, we eagerly await our transformation into strong, beautiful butterflies. When all the dust settles, we hope and pray that you all will still be there to welcome us back into the world with open arms!

*For those that can’t read the card at this size, the text is as follows:

Amelia and John,

We are all so very proud of all your hard work and success you have achieved. Thank you for your dedication to a new healthy lifestyle.

–Your 20/20 team


  1. Carolyn

    How lovely, and so well-deserved! 8i8 (trying to create a butterfly using my keyboard)

  2. Cara

    Awwww! That’s so sweet and sounds like it came at the perfect time! It’s wonderful that everyone is so kind, generous, and encouraging in the program! Congratulations on getting past half way through and making such tremendous progress! Love to you both from Joe and I! <3

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