Carolyn Bever is an incredible member of our BR Family! She is a true Renaissance woman: she is an amazing violin player and teacher, a high-energy fitness instructor, an interior decorator, and all around inspiration to many. Carolyn has shown great resiliency this past year, having overcome a great challenge. Continue on to read her story…
What was your biggest challenge this year?
- My biggest challenge this past year was discovering a 7″X5″ tumor in my leg, which forced me to face my mortality. It changed the way I see the world. I had to give up the idea that I had total control of what was to come next. I had hoped that by living an extremely healthy lifestyle and limiting risk factors, horrible things like this wouldn’t happen. I have so many goals I haven’t completed yet: most importantly, raising my 3 kids to adults. The possibility of something taking that away from me was inconceivable. For almost 9 full weeks, my family and I didn’t know what the fate of my future would be. There were sleepless nights, lots of tears, lots of research, and humbly accepting the reality that I’ll take whatever I can get. Before my diagnosis the idea that I would lose my leg would have been horrifying, but now in exchange for my extended life, it would have become such an easy choice. Luckily, I found the perfect surgeon and was able to keep my leg, although I lost three out of my four-quadriceps muscles and my IT band. Now I’m up to six workouts per week.
How did you overcome these challenges?
- In the office of my oncologist, looking at my horrifying MRI and a tumor that looked bigger then I could comprehend, I decided that I would go anywhere, do anything to survive. If I lost my leg, no problem. If I had to do a study in Texas for three months, I’d move in a heartbeat. Whatever it took, whatever the treatment, I would find the best option, and I would hit it with the same crazy ‘Carolyn’ fervor I hit everything else in my life. There wasn’t the option of surrender.
When did you first find an interest in Violin?
- I started playing the violin in second grade. Most professional violinist start playing at the age of three and have private instruction. My parents didn’t have the funds, so I was a product of the public school system. It was clear I worked hard and had talent so I started private lessons in 4th grade. I started studying with a teacher from UVM in 6th grade and the rest is history. Inow teach 60 kids privately at my home each week. I start at 6:00AM to get kids that were on the waiting list in before school. I teach until 9:00AM, come to Body Resolution to teach a fitness class then head back home to teach violin from 2:00-6:00PM. I play at weddings on the weekends all summer and fall as well.
How would you describe your performance if someone has never been to one of your violin concerts?
- Performances vary depending on whether I’m performing with a full symphony, with my students as a team, or as a soloist. Playing classical music and performing are a passion, but teaching is an even greater passion. Teaching music, or fitness, or life lessons, and making real human connections is more important to me then performing. Teaching brings purpose and helps my feel like I’m making a difference in the world.
When did you first find an interest in fitness?
- I began running after my first daughter (Leah) was born 21 years ago. I was always the “musician” in high school, never doing well in team sports. I decided to start running and at first I couldn’t make it more than a few blocks. I’d walk then start running when I could breath again. I completed my first marathon 8 months later. I ran at least 2 marathons a year from then on. I knew I needed to cross train, and I met James when Body Resolution was one room and just beginning. He taught me how important it was to have full body strength and neuromuscular balance to keep my body prepared for running.
What advice would you give to newcomers, whether they are just starting to play the violin or it’s their first time in a group fitness class?
- Human nature is to be self-deprecating, to think or believe that you won’t be good, or that others are better than you. Ask yourself, “Does that matter?” If I’ve learned one thing from this year it’s this – we get one chance. Make every day count. What do you want from life? How will you get it? Surround yourself with people that love you, believe in you, and make you better. Everyone gets the gift of the same 24 hours in a day. Don’t waste it because of fear. Being defeated is often a temporary condition, but giving up is what will make defeat permanent.
How would you describe your personality if someone were to meet you for the first time?
- HOLD ON FOR THE RIDE!!!! Seriously, in one adjective, passionate. I am passionate about people, life, goals, fun, work, learning, and living each day with no regret.
What do you like to do during your free time?
- I’m passionate about design and decorating. I have a lot of interior design cli I draw out and design floor plans, kitchens, bathrooms, exteriors, and lighting. I like to make people’shomes and spaces easier to live in without having to build an addition. I love the feeling of coming into a beautiful space, which inspires you and supports great energy.
Name one thing that no one knows about you?
- We are building a house on the land I was raised on. I’m the youngest of 8 kids and we were raised in South Burlington on 10 acres. We tore down our original family home, to rebuild it more efficiently, but, even more fun, we are building a separate carriage home for my 80 year old parents, right behind us. This was a nice option for long term care, without them losing their independce.
Name one thing you can’t leave your house without?
- MY PHONE. That question is too easy:) Like I said before, I need connection with people at all times:)
Name your Favorite:
Meal: Stir-fry, or salad with strawberries, goat cheese and balsamic dressing. Dessert: Dark chocolate.
TV Show: Million-Dollar Listing NYC, or Downton Abbey
Exercise: Boxing with James.
Clothing Item (can be a brand): SHOES. Shoes. Shoes.
Music Genre: Classical, but I love house electronic music.
Holiday: Halloween or the 4th of July.
Number: 17, my birthday date.
Color: Black for clothing, gray for decorating
Hobby: Exercise, eating, driving too fast, shopping for bargains, teaching, violin, decorating, traveling, hanging with my kids, reading awesome books, trying new restaurants, finding new music, watching great movies, looking up real-estate values all over the country, hanging out with and entertaining friends, and loving my family to the death.