Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It’s Amazing the Difference 10 Years Can Make!

My 20 Year High School Reunion is this coming weekend and it brought me back to my 10 year reunion.  Well, not really my 10 year reunion, per se, I didn’t attend, but back to my life 10 years ago.  Life has changed dramatically over that time!  

10 years ago, Andrea and I were on one of our patented “breaks”; I was a mess physically; I was a mess financially; I was about to graduate with my MBA and the job market had turned from great to awful in the 2 years I was in school; and I was in those “tweener” years, as I like to call them, in which I was no longer a college student but I wasn’t a working adult.  I felt like I was in “The Waiting Place” Dr. Seuss made popular in his book “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”  No truer words have ever been written than those written in this book!  I read it to my children, not only because I want them to learn the lessons contained within its pages, but because I, myself, need to be reminded of them every so often.
Today, as I sit and write this post, Andrea and I are married with two amazing boys; we are financially healthy; we are physically healthy; and we are incredibly goal oriented.  How did I get here?  What changed?  

It all started with a conversation I had with my cousin Kevin.  To sum up a 2 hour deep conversation, he told me that I could be whatever I wanted but that I had to go and make it happen; he told me that I had to surround myself with people who inspired me; he told me that I was a good person but that I had to find myself again; and he told me that he would be there for me.  This conversation had such a profound impact on my life that I named my second child after him.   

The weekend after that conversation, I applied for Business School.
In between my first and second year of business school, I saw a picture from a friend’s bachelor party and it was embarrassing!  I was fat.  I was very fat!  I hadn’t realized I had gotten so big, so unhealthy!  I decided to go on a diet.  I had lost weight before but this was different.  I needed to lose a lot of weight.  I read about and started the Atkins diet.  I lost the weight, and lost it quickly. I realize now how unhealthy a diet I had chosen but that’s another story.  I was feeling good but there were other aspects of my life I needed to improve.  

The next obstacle, the pack a day cigarette habit I developed in college.  I had quit many times before without success so I decided to make a change in how I quit.  I used a medication to help with the cravings but the big change to how I finally quit was to train for a marathon.  Andrea and I quit smoking around the same time and she suggested we train for a marathon.  How could I smoke while training for a marathon?!?!  8 months after quitting, I completed my first marathon.  To be honest, I’ve yet to complete my second but I think it’s time to run one again.  Unfortunately, Andrea’s bum knee kept her from training for, and running in, the marathon.

After I quit smoking and decided to train for a marathon, Andrea and I had conversation about getting serious.  For years we had floated in this thing we called a relationship, stuck in a break up get back together cycle that we hadn’t broken.  Not until we decided to break that cycle and actually commit to each other did our relationship take off.  Shortly thereafter, we got engaged!  

After Andrea and I had gotten married, she kept insisting that we needed to get out of credit card debt.  I knew she was right so I finally started my quest to find the perfect book to guide us.  As I mentioned in my “About Me” on the left side of this page, I found “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey and found my passion!  

I figured out that I am here today because I made the decisions to not be fat anymore; to quit smoking; to commit to my wife; and to get out of debt!  I became accountable for my actions.   I owned my shit!  No one was going to fix my life for me; not my family, not my friends, nor the government.  I had to start making good decisions and be accountable for my actions! I can’t remember where I first heard this but it fits, “Life isn’t complicated! It may be hard but it’s not complicated!"  Make good, thoughtful decisions, surround yourself with people who inspire you and more often than not, you’ll be making good decisions!  If continue to make good decisions , and constantly improve,  you’ll look back over 10 years and be amazed how far you’ve come.

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