I am 44. The number itself doesn’t really mean much to me, as I’ve never let my age dictate my actions or attitude. But this birthday has a special significance, because I recently got a bad diagnosis from my doctor that has made me more determined than I’ve ever been in my life.
I’ve always been a big guy. When I was a kid, playing soccer (or, as it’s called everywhere but the U.S., football), my teammates nicknamed me “Bulldozer” because I had a tendency to go right through obstacles rather than seeking a way around them. I was younger than all my classmates by nearly two years due to skipping a grade, but size-wise you’d never have known it. My mom had to get my jeans from the Husky section, and I remember in high school being extremely embarrassed because we had to buy my pants for my performance in the One Act Play at a different store from all the other guys. At age 15, I was already a size 38 waist.
My grandfather was a big man, cut from hardy Scottish stock. My father seemed enormous to me, like a moving mountain. So, while I battled to keep my weight in check for most of my life, I never worried too much about it. The ladies seemed to like me, my size never held me back from going on amazing travel adventures, and my doctors never issued any cause for major alarm, even when I developed high blood pressure and high cholesterol a few years ago.
But in late April, that all changed when my doctor told me I have diabetes. I wasn’t completely surprised, as I knew I had some blood sugar issues and had been making subtle adjustments, using Splenda rather than sugar, cutting back on alcohol, and eating more fruits and veggies. But it wasn’t enough. In our efforts to build GGT, I’d become a total workaholic, and the combination of stress, lack of exercise, and sitting at a computer 12 hours a day had broken down my system. I was sick, and being told that if I didn’t make some changes I could lose a leg, my eyesight, or even my life whipped my ass into gear.
I’m ashamed of the person I became, not just out of shape but completely out of touch with the work/play balance in my life. But I’m working my butt off to make changes. I’m working out 5-6 days a week now, varying between playing basketball, swimming and lifting weights to turn my fat into muscle. I’ve cut carbs almost completely out of my diet, painful though it was, and satisfy my sweet tooth with sugar free treats. I’ve still got a long way to go to look and feel like the man I’ve always wanted to be, but I’m proud of my progress so far.
Because I want you to know that, no matter what obstacle you may have in your life, you can overcome it! I believe that miracles happen every day, and many begin with one simple thing: Faith. Whether it’s faith in a higher power or simply faith in yourself, there’s no greater magic than the power of positivity, and that’s what keeps me going when I want to give up.
With GGT, Mary and I are finally realizing our dream, and I’d like to think we’re doing our best to help others along the way. And that– as well as my deep love for Mary, my daughter, my friends and family– gives me something to live for, and makes me want to strive harder every day. Thanks for reading, and for being a part of our dream come true!
We understand that it’s difficult to keep up with everything that’s going on around the Internet on a day-to-day basis. So, just in case you missed it, here are links to some of the stories we posted this month:
How To Get To Antarctica Without Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities
America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin