If someone were to ask you where you see yourself in 5 years, would you have an answer? How about 10 years? More than likely, the answer is no. The reasoning could be that you’re completely confined to your current situation or have limitless paths to follow and no idea which decision to make, each are equally terrifying. Either way, you more than likely wish for growth in various areas such as family, financial, career, personal growth, spiritual, etc. Now, I know there are some who are completely content with their current lives, and that’s okay. If that is you, then you’re either extremely blessed or easily satisfied. I however, am not one of those people. I have a desire, a “thirst”, if you will, for an incredible life. A lot of people would probably be content if they were in my shoes. By the age of 23 I have obtained a college degree, successfully launched and maintained my own business, and earned a hard fought professional status in my passion, bodybuilding. While I am eternally grateful for these blessings God has given me, I am not done; not even the slightest bit. I want a life one could deem as a “page-turner”, in fact, I have a dream to write an autobiography one day. If I were to become complacent this very second, would you read it? Perhaps, but I bet you would grow weary after this current chapter. The fact is, I have big plans, and so should you.
I wasn’t always the person I am. This mindset grew over time, and unfortunately through times of personal hardships. The most profound moment occurred during my junior year of college. I had just come off of a 4.0 semester, lived with a long time girlfriend through the summer, and was the strongest and biggest I had ever been. Life was good, too good. Toward the middle of the semester, I began having relationship issues which eventually led to a break up. This crushed me, and I didn’t handle it very well. Luckily, the weekend following our split was fall break ( a 4 day mid-semester holiday for WVU students). I recall not even making it through the entire week before leaving for home. I had packed abundantly, because I was planning on staying a little longer than 4 days, I even contemplated staying indefinitely. On my way home I decided to stop at my best friends house. We are life-long friends, so I just went inside with the clothes on my back. That night we had great conversations, and I had felt truly happy again. Life was good, too good.The next morning I woke up to find that my car was broken into. Now, if you recall, I had mentioned packing everything for this trip. My books, notes, a ton of clothes, my laptop, iPod, and even a brand-new pair of shoes. It was all stolen; all of it. The perpetrator had just grabbed the bags without examination and fled. At that point, I had hit the bottom of the barrel. Just a few months ago I was on top of the world, and now I had been dumped and robbed of my greatest belongings in one short week. The psychological set-back and the fact that I had lost all of my school materials, inevitably caused me to achieve the worst academic semester of my college career. The hangover actually led to a terribly poor performance the following semester as well. You see, up to that point I was planning to attend graduate school, but now I believed my recent grades were the nail in the coffin. So what was the point in trying as hard as I can? After all, C’s get degrees, am I right?
Towards the end of the second terrible semester 3 things forced a complete U-turn in my life. The first was a minor shoulder injury. This injury forced me to attend physical therapy (which exposed me to my career choice FYI). During my time in therapy, I had a therapist to whom I told everything. After hearing my story and the oh-so pitiful outlook I had in life, my therapist essentially told me it wasn’t over and to stop feeling sorry for myself. Sometimes you just need an open ear and a swift kick in the butt, so don’t hesitate to talk to someone. The second thing in my life had been my bodybuilding prep. I had just completed 2 long and hard years of gaining muscle after being a close runner up to my pro card as a 19 year old. This gave me some sort of motivation in life, something I had to work for, something completely in my control. The third and most important event was the acceptance of Jesus. Up to that point I had felt incredibly hopeless and alone, and finding him filled that empty void. You see, that prep, my new found relationship with God, and my therapist’s advice served as the sling shot that would land me where I am today. These all ignited an incredible boost of ambition and drive. If you had ever wondered what created the drive I have today, it was this very defining moment. What’s even more incredible is that these 3 things had grown from the ashes of a very very low point in my life. I wasn’t always driven like this, I CHOSE to be like this.
Ever since my announcement about my return to school, I have been asked a certain question from numerous people, “Why are you going to school and giving up your business?”. The answer is simple, I’m not. I just have bigger plans for it, much bigger plans. These plans require a step back in order for 2 giant leaps forwards. So, now back to the question that opened this post, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, better yet, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”. Well, allow me to illustrate my plan. First, I plan to complete my doctorate degree in physical therapy. During this time, I will continue a small amount of clientele work (roughly 15% of the current). This will allow me to graduate as debt free as possible. Then, the years following graduation I will work as therapist in which ever setting I find most appealing. During that time I will save as much money as possible, and hopefully have a significant other (hopefully lol). I will also be working on my SCS (sports certified specialist) during this period for a specialty. After I feel the time is right and I’m financially ready, I will open my own practice. This will not be any ordinary practice, this will be a more of a health center. The center will have a gym, a cardiac rehab section, a chiropractic section, a massage therapist, and of course physical therapy. Hopefully by this point I will be married with kids, but I’m not overly concerned with it. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I trust the Lord with that one. After I have retired from direct clinical work, I will then delegate most of the business to someone trustworthy (possibly a kid of mine), and pursue part-time work as a college professor. I have always had a passion for speaking and teaching.
What’s the moral of the story? Don’t accept a life of mediocrity and complacency. Even if you think you have no choice or it’s too late, just know, it’s not. I was once the smallest kid in high school, I graduated high school with a measly 2.9, and even graduated college with a GPA deemed to be “too low” for physical therapy school. Despite that, I am who I am. The fact is, you can be whomever you want to be, doing whatever you want to do. All you need is a little thirst, a lot of drive, a fear for stagnation, and a clear and ultimate goal in life. The choice is yours to make, so I suggest you accept God and get busy.