The Breakfast Club

It is Saturday at 7:45 a.m. I could be doing any number of things.  I could still be lounging in bed (Impossible… I have been awake for hours and am incapable of sleeping past 6 a.m.) I could be relaxing with a cup of coffee and the NY Times. (Already been there, done that today.) Or, I could be having an early workout at the gym. (A strong contender, as that’s often where I am at this hour… but not today.)  On this particular Saturday morning, I am doing none of these things.

Actually, I am sitting inside a movie theater on State Street in Santa Barbara, California. I am attending the city’s 31st annual film festival and am waiting for the 8 a.m. showing of “Au Plus Pres du Soleil” (“Too Close to the Sun,”) a French-Canadian film, to begin. Until today, I was unaware that movie screenings ever happened earlier than noon.

As the lights begin to dim, the film festival host walks up to the front of the theater to greet the surprisingly alert crowd of 40-50 people (yes- there are other slightly crazy morning movie goers besides me!) and enthusiastically welcomes The Breakfast Club. With this reference to the iconic 1980’s ‘brat pack’ film (one of my old favorites,) the crowd breaks out in giddy cheers. I smile, proud to be a part of this singular group. We all share a special kinship that is vaguely reminiscent of a pre-dawn swim in an icy lake with the polar bear club at summer camp. Granted, this hour is not quite as early as the polar bear swims I recall from my youth (nor is the weather as cold,) but the experience feels similar. I am part of something larger than myself- and it is about more than just awakening early to see a film. This is an adventure.

Not only is the 8 a.m. movie a great way to avoid the lines that precede the afternoon and evening film fest screenings, but also, for those of us who are early risers, it provides an interesting and amusing morning activity to do while our slumber-craving loved ones sleep in.  Most importantly, it delivers entry into a distinctive club of fun-loving trendsetters who like to try new things.

By the time the film lets out, my husband will just be waking up and we will have the entire day to enjoy together. Long live The Breakfast Club!


Film Fest Theater


The Breakfast Clubbers queue up


State Street, Saturday morning at 7:20 a.m.



This morning in my exercise class, Jenny Schatzle—top fitness guru, motivational speaker and today’s lead trainer—shared an inspirational story that I believe bears further sharing. Here goes.

A regular participant in Jenny’s exercise program went on a cruise last week. One day aboard the ship, this man joined an exercise class. During the class, the trainer challenged the class to hold a “plank” for as long as possible. There was a 78-year-old man in the class who didn’t even know what a plank was. So, the trainer demonstrated. Soon after, each class member assumed the position. One by one, each person in the class dropped down from his/her plank. Ultimately, the only person remaining in the plank was the 78-year-old man who held his plank for 14 minutes! The trainer and classmates were incredulous; no one had ever seen anything like this. When asked how he was able to hold his plank for so long, the older man responded: “I’ve never done a plank before, so I didn’t set any limits on myself.”

This was an “A-ha” moment for everyone in that cruise ship exercise class and for everyone in my class (including me) this morning. After sharing this story, Jenny challenged us to refrain from the boundaries, limits and preconceived notions we impose on ourselves—not just in the gym, but at work, in our relationships and in all aspects of life. We were encouraged to look around the room, as Jenny pointed out the wide diversity of people: young and old, tall and short, some super-fit, some not-so-fit, a variety of jobs and professions—from CEO’s of major corporations to janitors, bus drivers, teachers, homemakers, doctors, students and everything in between.

In Jenny’s classes, there are no judgments or comparisons of who is better or worse—only a group of individuals who are fulfilling their potential each day not just to be stronger, faster and fitter, but also, to be better, kinder, friendlier people.

Living life without self-imposed limits and expectations of who we should be is very liberating indeed.  It frees me to be my best self, whomever I choose to be… today and always.


Holding the plank with no limits!