Summer’s Ending

This entire summer has been a journey through territory I’ve never traversed before. Quitting my steady, stable, union job back on June 1 was the first step into a whole new world for me. Suddenly, I found myself facing down the world and future without a guaranteed income, or plan for what to do after six months was up.

I also found myself at a massive crossroad with my relationships to others, especially with my former husband. I knew change needed to happen, and that I needed to face down something that had been nagging at me for a long time.

In the act of clearing the decks, in taking stock and making fundamental changes to my life in order to be a healthier, happier me, I stumbled, kind of haphazardly, into a deeper relationship. David, who returned to the house, and my life, all around the time that I was quitting my job and my marriage, has been by my side through this summer of realization and recovery, and continues to be an element of my life that I can’t quite put my finger on. Something there, here, between us, feels authentic in a way I haven’t fully realized or wrapped my arms around. I’m getting there.

On top of all of this, there’s my coaching. I’ve had a summer of taking on a few clients at a health club I started working at back at the end of May. It’s been some time getting my feet under me there, figuring out how to best find my place in the community there, and what skills and abilities to bring to the table while I’ve got my uniform on and I’m working with clients. It’s still all a little wobbly, but with each passing week, I’m meeting new and renewing clients there, and feeling much more confident in what I’m doing. I will be teaching a class there, later this fall, which will be for people who are nervous about weight lifting, and how to lift safely and with confidence.

Today, I’m coming up with a new pitch to gain clients on one of the coaching platforms I’m part of. I’m retooling my own approach (digitally) to ensure that the kinds of clients I’m getting are the kinds of clients I want – ready and willing to make changes, trust in the process, and let me hold them accountable. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that the money I had set aside to ride on while I got my wind in my sails is just about gone.

Soon, in the next thirty days or so, I’m going to be at another crossroads.

Will I be able to afford to continue on as a coach, full time, doing the thing that has brought me utter joy and a feeling of purpose unlike any other profession I’ve been a part of? Or will I need to sure myself up with a regular (albeit part time) job where I’m on someone else’s calendar and clock?

The fact is, I don’t know.

I don’t know if I’ll make it, but I do know that I’m trying.

I *do* know that I’m just going to have to give up and let the Universe guide me forward. Already, just this week, I’ve identified some of the barriers that stand between me and doing this sustainably and for the rest of my days, and it’s my own self-confidence in what and who I am.

The rest of Summer, and on into early Fall, and right up to my Birthday, this is my focus. Finding my self-confidence again, and getting myself to a place where I don’t need to rely on David, or anyone, to keep my head afloat and in the groove I’m in.

Locked Down, Again

I started to feel off on Saturday. Scratchy throat, headache, and a dry cough that no amount of cough drops could soothe. I wasn’t stuffed up, and my allergy meds and nasal spray weren’t really doing any heavy lifting, so I figured I’d rule out something I’d thought I’d been vaccinated and immunized against for a while now – COVID-19.

Turns out, that’s exactly what I’ve managed to contract. Again. For the third time.

Sunday, my positive test result took the wind out of my sails. I called off work, let them know that I was poz, and sat in kind of a blank-stare stupor for most of the day. How was this possible? I mean, I know how it’s possible. This virus is very, VERY happy to mutate, and since my last infection, and last dose of vaccine, I’ve lost count of how many variants have been discovered and labeled and started their march across humanity. I don’t know which strain I have now, and it doesn’t matter, but the symptoms are vaguely familiar, though not as sharp/steep as the previous rounds I’ve had with this coronavirus.

This is a forced time out. This is the universe telling me “chill, bro” and catch your breath (as best as you can, the virus has my chest all kinds of tight). So, that’s what I’ve been doing. No, that’s actually not quite true.

I’m not a “chill, bro” kind of person.

In fact, what I have been doing is working on the things I have been kicking down the road for a while now out of a lack of time and focus strength. I’ve started to put into place the pieces I need to launch my coaching career, and so far, with only a few minor hiccups, things seem to be rolling on.

I have a site up – kind of quick-and-dirty and subject to refinement – that both markets my coaching skills and links to software that I will be using to engage with my clients. Right now, I have three beta-testers who are getting twelve weeks of nutrition coaching for free in exchange for their feedback on elements and the process along the way. I will be coaching them for sure, but part of our check-ins will also be to get feedback on the process, software, information, and how well my coaching aligns with the curriculum they’ve got for themselves.

I’ve gotten some intake surveys from the people who’ve started, and immediately, I am finding myself focusing in on both the areas I’m spotting that have the most need for my help, and setting expectations for myself, and for my clients, about what areas I want to really hone in on for them.

I’m really, really excited for this! It is tapping all the way into my Healer/Teacher/Guide self, and I feel like I can make a MASSIVE impact on the people who engage with me, if I trust my instincts and listen with my heart and mind aligned.

I feel really, really in alignment. For the first time in a long time.

This journey is just getting started, and I’m excited for it. I can already sense some massive doors just starting to peek open for me, and it’ll be up to me to both check what’s behind them, remain vigilant for opportunities that align with who and what I am, and to remain in this state of utter gratitude for this opportunity to change how I engage with the world around me.

On the Job

I know it’s time to change. It has been time to change how I draw income for a long time now, but it really, really is time.

This last week was far too much effort.

Last night, on my last trip on my last day of the work week, I once again reached the end of my rope. I lost my cool with a customer who was being unruly on my train – most like due to intoxicants or mental health issues or both/all, and I lost control of my emotions.

While I acted forcefully, decisively, and for the good of all people on my train, I felt like I’d failed myself, having lost my emotional grounding, and letting this person get the better of me.

I still feel shaken by this feeling that I’m not capable of doing my job to the level that’s expected because I’m weak or broken or unable.

I was warned this might happen, by a senior operator when I started, who’s long-since retired. Elizabeth, you knew better, and you tried to warn me. I will never forget it.

The job hunt is on, and has been on, for some time now. Sadly, I’m tied down fiscally in ways that require a minimum salary guarantee, and that means a limited job pool to draw from. I’m also very limited by my work experience, as I’ve been in the same line of work for nearly a decade. I’m also old, and while age discrimination doesn’t happen on paper, it definitely happens in reality, and so making the changes I need are an uphill battle.

I am nearly done with my nutrition coaching certification. I need to dig down and get through my personal trainer certification as well, which is sitting like a large, daunting lump on my dining room table. Still, I know that’s where my joy is to be found, and a future-self exists.

I will get into my future, and find a way away from this mountain of anxiety and stress that work is brining into my life. I will find a balance. I owe it to myself, and to those who love me.

Shifting Gears

I put down the alcohol for a while. As of today, I’m nineteen days sober. It’s not anything to write home about, but it’s also not nothing. I realized, nineteen day ago, that my time and energy and money doesn’t need to be spent at the bars. Nor do I require alcohol to make me feel some kind of way in the presence of other gay man. In fact, I make more of an ass of myself liquored up than I do in real-time, and that’s the damn truth.

I might not be drinking booze, but that doesn’t mean
I won’t still pop into my favorite locals to shoot the shit.

In that clarity, I’ve also made more choices.

I’m done with the job I currently have. I know, I’m forty-fucking-four years old, and now isn’t the time to be messing around with my career and that’s unstable talk and yadda yadda boomer bullshit whatever. I’m done with what I do, and am seeking a change. So? I’ve begun to learn the ins and outs of being a nutrition coach. I’m also, once the books arrive, beginning my certification to be a personal trainer.

Your Dad here spends a fuck-load of time at the gym already. I’ve been at it for nearly five years now, and while I might not have the body of some Damned God or whatever, I know what I’m doing in that Hall of Iron. I know what moves do what things, how to work for leanness or bulking, and the benefits of a cardio finish, even on leg day. So why not throw my hat out there and see if I can help someone else with this, for money. Dad’s gonna hustle a bit, if it can possibly lead to some goddamned freedom with my life and how I make a living.

I’m still working on a business name, but ”Lone Wolf Fitness & Nutrition” kinda hits.

I haven’t been this fucking into something in a long-ass time. The more bullshit that gets thrown at me at my current job, the more fired up I am to do this thing. Wish me luck, or at least pay attention. Shit’s happening around here, and it’s getting so much better.