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    « Yellow Belts! | Main | Making Exercise Fun »

    A Year in Review

    It has to be said that the last 365 days have been nothing short of an adventure.  A year ago, I woke up, looked in the mirror and thought to myself, "Wow.  You've got to change."  In about 10 hours, I'll wake up, stretch, and look in the mirror again like I do pretty much every morning.  The image looking back at me will be entirely different than it was one year ago.

    My 39th year started off with the same kind of laziness that my 38th year ended with.  I didn't make any meaningful changes until November 10th - nearly 4 months after my birthday.  When I started, however, I hit the ground running.  It took my wife and children going out of town for a week to allow me to get myself squared away enough to do what needed to be done.  Without distractions or reasons to make excuses for my inactivity, I was able to exercise every day and eat good foods.

    I took 2 weeks off during the holidays and started again on January 5th.  The 18 weeks following that date were my official Transformation challenge.

    The real challenge started, however, on February 7th.  That was the day that some things happened in my marriage that absolutely rocked my world.  My wife, who had lived with my anger and rotten self-image, had decided that she didn't want that kind of life for herself or our children.  She was set to send me packing and had already chosen a lawyer to help her carry out her plans.  Looking back, I can't say that I blame her.  I was a very difficult person to live with, and she certainly deserved a lot more than I was giving her.  The weeks that followed that episode were some of the most difficult I'd ever experienced.  They were also the most important part of my Transformation.

    I had to look deep within to locate and purge my inner demons - the parts of me that harbored anger.  I had to learn to love myself, which happened more in the gym than anywhere else.  What I really had to do, however, was learn how to love my wife and children in meaningful ways.  Once I earned my own respect, I was able to learn to love myself - and all of that extended into loving my family.

    We're still working on our marriage, but like physique Transformation, relationship transformation is an ongoing, never-ending process.

    In the midst of the marriage situation, I had to deal with a broken foot.  March began with me slipping from a step and planting my foot ball first into a concrete floor.  The result was a very painful fracture of the second metatarsal on my left foot.  For 6 weeks, I wasn't supposed to run or perform any type of weight-bearing exercise that would overly involve my feet.  The doctor would not have been very pleased to know that within 24 hours of hearing his instructions I was in the gym lifting weights.  I modified all of my exercises to take my broken foot into consideration.  The treadmill gave way to the recumbent bicycle.  Leg presses, squats, and lunges gave way to extension, flexion, adductor, and abductor machines.  It wasn't a great replacement, but it was better than doing nothing at all.

    Throughout everything, I made it to my goal on May 10th.  At the same time, however, I was faced with the possibility that I could lose my job.  State budget cuts in addition to a few other factors nearly put me in a permanent state of vacation from the job I had enjoyed for the previous 15 years.  Those were some stressful times, I grant you.  The constants I had in my life were Transformation and my family.

    Over the following weeks, I worked on, completed, and submitted my final Transformation packet to the folks in California.  Champions should be announced in the next few weeks.  While I would like to say I'm confident that I will be a Tranfsformation Champion, there's a great chance that I will not win.  That's perfectly fine with me, though.  I'm fully prepared to accept not winning the contest.  What I've gained in health, confidence, and future vision is worth far more than any prize money could ever match.

    With my newfound health, I've taken on new activities not the least of which is Isshin-ryu karate.  Karate was an activity I enjoyed when I was a sophomore in college but had abandoned after graduation.  Now, 20 years later I'm back in the dojo and loving every minute of my training.  As a matter of fact, my 40th birthday party will be preceded by my first official belt test - on Saturday, I expect to earn my yellow belt.

    Now, weightingon40 is taking off - people are talking about it more and more.  Traffic is up and people are reading the stuff that's posted here.  I've started helping others with their own Transformations.  There's a lot of great new stuff on the horizon for both Alice and me as far as promoting the fitness lifestyle is concerned.  Further, we are looking into ventures that we never would have considered a year ago.  All of this is intended to encourage others to invest some time in themselves and their health.

    Yes, the last year has been a huge learning experience that I would not trade for anything.  Despite all of the trials and close-calls, they were all a necessary part of helping me change into the person I am now.  I'm still working on myself - I have not "arrived" by any stretch of the imagination - but I am a totally different person than I was when I awoke on July 21, 2008.

    I'm going to sign off now and wait for the next 20 minutes to tick off the clock.  At 1:30 AM, I will observe my passing from 39 to 40 and relish the moment of transition.  I'm not disturbed at all that I'm turning 40.  Life for me has just begun.  The best years are yet to come!

    Be well!

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