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chicago, il
united states

SOUL-filled Lessons.


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SOUL-filled Lessons.

Tommy Engstrom

Since graduating college six years ago, I have been trying to figure out who I am, what job and career path I am supposed to be in, and what truly makes me happy and excited about life. If I force myself to step back and honestly meditate on the experiences I have had, I truly haven’t allowed myself to just be me. To do what makes me happy. To take risks and jump whole-hearted with both feet. Sure, moving to New York City in January 2011 was a big step forward. However, when I lived there, my mind was constantly worried about what others thought about my decisions and actions. I could hear concern and worry in my family's voices when I called home – "How are you surviving? You clearly aren't making enough money." Every conversation I had was another reason to move home and start looking for the safe route in life. And in December 2011, that is exactly what I did. I moved back home to Libertyville, IL.

Following my time in New York, I began searching for jobs. With each job offer that I received I carefully calculated whether or not it was the logical or reasonable next step in regards to what I was “supposed to do.” I stepped into each role with determination and hard work, making the best of every situation, telling myself that I just had to push a little harder, work a little longer – I was making money, everything would work out in the end. With each year that passed, I began recognizing that I wasn’t truly happy. I never found myself truly passionate and excited about the work that I was doing. I would try to convince myself that it was a normal part of life to not like what you do. But in my heart, I knew that wasn’t true. I knew that there was something so vital and necessary about finding joy in the things that fill your time.

When SoulCycle opened its first doors in Chicago, I had no idea how much of an impact it would have on me. Having previously lived in NYC, I knew what SoulCycle was. I had heard all about it and had friends that swore by it. Making the decision to try out a class was easy. I would go to the 45-minute class and if nothing else, I’d get in a good workout. Leaving that first day, I knew I had found something I enjoyed. The music was fun. The atmosphere was energetic and full of life. The instructor was encouraging and motivational. However, at the time I was working out at a local gym and running a lot, so an additional class was not on my list of things to add to my life.

Enter Jaclyn Mitgang. Every once in a while you come across someone who is so enigmatic, so full of personality, so full of energy and life. And if you are really lucky, you find yourself clicking with that individual. That was Jaclyn for me. It wasn’t about the music that she played or the choreography that we did in class. Jaclyn was so purposeful in connecting with each and every person in the studio, making sure that they knew they were valued and important.       

While I no longer go to SoulCycle classes as frequently as I used to, I can, without a doubt, say that it has changed my life. It has allowed me to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin. I have been able to walk into that studio, clip in, let loose and be a part of a community. A community that is loving, welcoming, encouraging and filled with some of the most inspiring individuals that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. At the end of the day, SoulCycle taught me to live in the moment. To enjoy what life throws at you. to realize and understand that life is a marathon and not a sprint. Things work out and happen when they are supposed to.