During the summer of 1995 I was 25 years old with a bachelor's degree in Sport Management, a masters degree in Physical Education, some coaching experience.... and I was living with my dad painting houses for the summer.
Not exactly a career path that I wanted or expected.
During a run one day with my buddy Jeff we made a decision.
I was regretting my choice to leave Colorado and he was envious of my adventures out there. I had a lot of debt and it was dropping fast so I decided I'd go back to Colorado at the end of the summer and Jeff was going to go with me.
Two single guys headed out west for a life of adventure and intrigue.
Until Jeff got a serious girlfriend and I got a job.
Early in the summer (this is the pre-everything is on the internet days) I had sent out letters applying for a dozen or more local jobs in anything sport or athletics related.
I had stopped that because I had a plan but one day I got a call. I figured it would be a good experience to interview for a job.
The job was a Wellness Staff at small health club in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was about 40 minutes from my dads house. Not far but not close either.
I interviewed well and got offered a job which I accepted.
Just like that I had a real job with a salary; I felt like such an adult.
My 6 years of school, my two snazzy looking diplomas and a mountain of debt had landed me a job with a cool sounding salary of $18,900 per year.
It was a dream come true. I rented a room for $120 per week and got to work.
When my first paycheck came and it was like $250 I started looking at the numbers and wondering if this was really what I wanted to do...
For the next year I learned fitness from the inside out. I had literally never set foot in a health club so I knew very little about what people did there. I was a quick learner and I immersed myself in the process.
While I worked there I would find magazines that had pictures of different exercises. I would photocopy them and study them when I was off work.
I spend every waking moment learning to be the best trainer that I could be. I was learning from others but I was also developing the skill of thinking for myself and experimenting.
My responsibilities as "Wellness Staff" were to show people how to use the equipment, how to stretch and how to record everything on a little blue card. As part of this I also did the same workouts.
I didn't take me long to become ridiculously bored with my life.
After a year or so I became a personal trainer which I enjoyed much more. The challenge was that I was working 40 hours per week walking around on the fitness floor and adding training sessions on top of that. There were a lot of trainers at the gym and I wasn't great at marketing myself.
Training people was fun. Learning about fitness was fun. The life that this afforded me, working at basically minimum wage and all those hours made me very unhappy.
The other two aspects of my life were important to me as well and one in particular helped me to make my decision to quit after a year.
I was biking and running a lot back then. Plymouth was a great place to explore. Lot's of woods and trails. I was single for a while and being out and about on my own was very rewarding.
I knew that life wouldn't go on forever and it came to an end in a whirlwind.
I started dating a lady in March of 1998. Without a few months we become pregnant.
My job at the health club wasn't working for me financially so I went to part time and started working for my dad again.
This wasn't the first, and it wouldn't be the last time, that money played a major role in decisions that I made with my life.
That winter and spring (1999-2000) I also tried to get back into coaching. I spend a good number of months commuting back and forth to Boston to be an assistant coach for the UMass Boston track team.
I enjoyed that but it didn't work with all the other stuff going on in my life.
My son Colby was born in late December of 1999 and I was now a dad. I married his mom in June of 2000 and just like that I was married with children.
Colby's mom had 2 kids when we got together.
In the summer of 2000 they were 14 and 11.
I was working for my dad and at the health club. I was struggling to be father and stepfather but our lives were good. I was an adult and finally out of my dad's house but I didn't feel like my life was going anywhere.
Just like that it all changed again; it changed for the better.
The owner of the house that we were renting needed us to leave so we picked up and left.
We quit our jobs and bought a house in Conway, New Hampshire.
It was time to move to the mountains.
Life sometimes pushes you in the wrong directions. Not in this instance. I was headed off to live in the mountains.
It was a dream come true but it also meant starting over and I was fine with that.
In November of 2000 we packed up the Uhaul and we moved 3 hours north to begin our new life together.
The journey would be an interesting one.
The next part in the series will see me open my own gym and struggle with different aspects of my life.
Those were five great years in New Hampshire. I look forward to sharing.