I haven’t always been a beacon of health. A long time ago, in a land far, far away I smoked cigarettes and pot, drank to excess and took pills. There were the happy pills and the ones that wiped my memory for days.
I was in my early twenties following the lead of the cool kids who I knew who took drugs. If I were to go back in time and analyze myself, I was trying to escape reality due to the fact that, at that time, my reality sucked.
My father had just died from stomach cancer.
Deservedly I was fired from my job and was receiving unemployment benefits.
I’d dropped out of college because it seemed a waste of time and copped a lot of shit from my college buddies for doing so.
My living situation got that bad that for a time I was homeless.
To top things off, my mother informed me that after she had gotten a divorce from my father, she tried to take her own life.
This was a lot to take in and I couldn’t handle it. Drugs and alcohol were the security blanket I snuggled into during stretches of cold, pointless days and nights.
It was easy to feel sorry for myself and point the finger at everyone but the wreck of a man in the mirror.
Fortunately, I was surrounded by a few friends and family who stuck with me. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.
I eventually crawled out of the bottle. A few times I tried and failed to get my life back on track. But in 1996, I got a real wake up call.
My college buddies had graduated and decided that before joining the nine to five rat race, they would travel around the world and party like it was 1999. I saw them off at the airport and was incredibly jealous.
This set a fire underneath my butt.
Within a few months, I got a full-time job, an apartment and started putting money away for my own overseas trip. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Within eighteen months I was on a plane travelling to Indonesia and then to the United Kingdom.
I won’t bore you with the intimate details of my trip but this life changing experience was when I met the woman of my dreams.
Within two years of our eyes meeting, I walked down the aisle in Dallas, Texas in the good old U S of A and she put a ring on my finger. I felt like the luckiest man in the world.
By that stage, I’d traded cigarettes (she hated them), pot and pills for a far more comforting security blanket. Back in Australia, I’d left behind my dream of becoming a sports commentator and was faced with the decision of……..
“What am I going to do for a living?”
Lucky for me, I started to join the dots.
I didn’t have a Green Card and couldn’t work, to kill time I became a regular at the local YMCA. I’d been lifting weights on and off for the better part of ten years. I found it a great way to blow off steam plus there was the benefit of being able to eat guilt free burgers.
I was following routines out of magazines and books. I thought I could write my own. I began to dabble in writing workouts. I was also giving workout advice to fellow gym goers when they asked.
A few years and I had two baby boys who were about to start preschool and the same decision was staring me down. What the heck am I going to do for a living?
When I took stock of my life and I came up with this:
- I like to work out
- I like to tell people what to do (dangerous territory when you’re married)
- I like to write exercise programs
- I like to live in tracksuit pants
- I am addicted to coffee
- I want to keep getting better
- I want to keep up with my kids
Once I combined these ingredients I could see this was a recipe for a career in the fitness industry. My passion was lifting weights, getting better and helping people to become better.
Wearing tracksuits pants was the icing on a very delicious cake.
I’d found my why.
Have you found yours?