Today I officially embark on a new chapter in my life. For the past eleven years, I have been lucky enough to be a FF/Paramedic for the Prince George’s County Fire Department, one of the busiest and best in the country. I have learned a tremendous amount from many of the best and the brightest.
However, these past couple of years have been pretty rough for me. Honestly, I wasn’t self aware enough to realize what was happening. I was simply going through the motions. I didn’t realize the negative energy I was internalizing. I was pleasant on the outside, for the most part. I’m very sure I was a jerk at times. But looking back, I preferred to be home and away from people. I was standoffish and harsh in my criticisms of myself and others. Those that know me know that that is not part of my personality.
I was also drinking more than usual on my off days. I could rationalize this behavior because I would still perform both of my careers well- of course, not to the best of my normal ability, but well enough where people had no idea what I was going through. You see, this happens to public servants, soldiers and medical professionals from time to time. We hit a rough patch, then recover. It’s a constant battle throughout our careers. This time, I realized that I was not recovering.
Was it the job and the consistent death and violence I experienced as a medical professional? Was it the juggling of two careers? Was it the lack of sleep for over a decade? Was it feeling unfulfilled? It was a combination of all these things- but it finally boiled over after a few events.
When you’re trying to resuscitate a dead baby for 30 minutes and you can write your report afterwards without really feeling anything, there might be a problem. Yes, this happened. I wanted to want to cry, but couldn’t squeeze out a drop.
Within the past 14 months, many tragedies occurred among the ranks of our fire department. A co-worker unfortunately took her own life, my old shift partner was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a medical emergency, a former co-worker and all around amazing young man tragically lost his life in an auto crash, and my old Lieutenant, one of the best officers I have ever had the pleasure to work under, passed away at the age of 46 from a deadly brain cancer known to be associated with the profession of firefighter. All these amazing people left behind young families. These were all tragedies I was very upset about, but the final straw was the last event. When I heard my Lieutenant passed, I cried and decided that was it. I called out sick for a few shifts and told my superiors that I was done. All these events led to one very crucial realization- life is short. Therefore, I should do what I want to do, instead of doing what I think I should do because of outside pressures.
I suffered tremendous guilt for not feeling enough, not grieving as I thought I should grieve. I was angry at myself and everyone around me. Again, this is not who I am and I had to look in the mirror and have that crucial conversation.
In the end, I realized that I was not living true to myself. I gained everything I could from being a FF/Medic. I realized that I was meant for something else. You see, when people call 911, my interaction with them is limited and will not lead to them to making lifestyle changes. Heroin addicts will continue to shoot heroin after we bring them back. Diabetics will keep eating the way they do with or without my intervention. Transporting patients with severe cardiac issues will not lead to behavior change. That’s just the simple truth. I didn’t really feel like I was “helping” anybody, which is the entire reason why I became a firefighter and medical professional in the first place. You know that saying about teaching a man to fish will feed him for a lifetime? My passion is in helping people achieve “lasting” health. I’ve done it with numerous clients- getting them off their medications and helping CHANGE lives is what I am meant to do.
You see, it’s not just about weight loss, or mirror muscles- it’s about helping people move better, building confidence and self-esteem, teaching self-love and compassion, and creating a community that is both positive and familial. I have this wonderful skill of relating to and coaching people. I have a strong sense of compassion and empathy that has been quelled these past two years. I am going to embrace these fully, instead of being pulled in two directions. I am me again.
I made a phone call this past Friday. I am officially done as a Firefighter/Paramedic and will now dedicate my full time and talents to changing lives as a Fitness Coach. I leave behind a fantastic salary, amazing benefits and making 6 figures for the rest of my life post retirement. Yes, many believe I will regret this decision. They think I’m throwing away a lotto ticket. I understand their concerns. But I also realize that they are projecting their fears onto me. I don’t want to live a “safe” life. To me, that’s not living at all. Is it scary? Absolutely! I have had many conversations with myself, questioning my decision, worrying about future financial burdens. But in the end, I cannot “play it safe” and be unhappy for nine more years. I refuse to. We all have ONE life. I plan to live the hell out of it.
I am the creator of the life I want. I am the author of my life’s story. I refuse to allow anyone else to write this book for me. Plus, I get to build my company from the ground up, on my own terms, living life on my own terms. However long it takes, Evolve To Fit will be known as one of the most innovative fitness companies IN THE WORLD. So you can watch the rise of this company from the sidelines and look back on this post as the start. Making money doing what you love has always been a goal of mine. Now I get to live out my dream to its full extent.
Thank you to everyone at the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department for your mentorship and memories. You are some of the best people I have known and I look forward to making you proud in my new endeavor. Just watch me!