I’ve been on the verge of writing this post for a long while now and up until today, it just hasn’t felt right. It’s coming up on 2 years since I last wrote something for this site but I must say with all honestly that I knew one day I’d be back.

And today is that day!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my blog, I started it in October 2010 as a way to blow off steam, vent about my miserable job, and hopefully connect with a few like minded people.

What ended up happening however was FAR greater an experience than I ever imagined.

The Beginning

After spending 8 years in a career that I despised, I decided to start this site. One would think that the logical choice would have been to quit my job and do something slightly more interesting and/or fun. Well I didn’t.

I chose to become miserable right along with my boss and proceeded to make just about everybody close to me miserable as well.

But before I had a breakdown of epic proportions, I chose to start writing my thoughts and frustrations with not only my situation, but with the whole of dead end jobs, soul sucking bosses, and all of corporate America as well. Thus started Ending The Grind.

Within a few short months, my (newly found) passion for writing coupled with my disdain for all things 9 to 5, this site started garnering attention. I read everything I could about blogging, social media, and WordPress (including WordPress for Dummies). I began a Podcast series interviewing well known bloggers and entrepreneurs, started guest posting on multiple sites, and reached out to as many people as I could who had quit their jobs and/or were looking to do just that.

The Peak and Fall

After a number of setbacks and one really HUGE step forward (thanks Penelope), I had a lot of great things going. My site was getting upwards of 20,000 visits per month, I had started a group project that was set to do great things in 2012, and I loved, loved, loved doing it!

What I haven’t told you is that all the while this was happening, my marriage was suffering greatly. Life at home had gotten just as bad as life at work and if it weren’t for my two amazing daughters, I don’t know how I would have made it through.

In February 2012, just a month after starting my Year Of The Grind Project, I hit a wall. Hard.

I realized that if I continued to put in as much time into blogging as I had done for the past year, my marriage had zero chance of succeeding.

So I quit writing. Feel free to read my previous post which discusses this in more detail. Shortly after I stopped blogging, my site was hacked an my traffic went from about 700 people per day to 2 overnight.

Somehow I ended up losing my customized theme, which I had spent a ton of time on and all my photos. And at that time, I didn’t care much about it. All I wanted to do was to fix my marriage.

The Aftermath

I honestly felt that stepping away from blogging was the right choice at the time. I knew it would be difficult as it had become a very important part of my life, but there were more important things to do.

In the ensuing months, my wife and I went through counseling, weekend workshops, and tried to salvage what was left of a crumbling relationship.

I missed blogging and all the people I had connected with over the previous year and a half, but that all meant little if I couldn’t keep my family together.

And I’d love to tell you that everything worked out fine and we are now happier than ever. I’d really love to tell you that.

The reality is that my wife and I gave it our best effort, but in the end decided that there was simply nothing left to revive. We chose to separate in December 2012.

The Bad And The Ugly

The first few months were OK for me, although my daughters didn’t take the news of daddy moving out very well. That was by far the hardest thing for me. The day I had to tell my already sensitive and emotional 7 year old that daddy was moving to a new place was extremely painful and it took all my willpower not to fall apart.

We didn’t want it to be a negative experience for her and tried to cast a positive light on what we were getting ready to do. Of course, regardless of how we worded it, in the end it was heartbreaking for her and the rest of us.

But I believed, and still do, that it was the best long-term decision for everyone.

But as the months went by, the loneliness, fear, sadness, and sense of loss crept into my heart. It was in these months that I hit my low point.

I spent most nights in a state of sorrow and heartache although I never once regretted our decision to split. I remember crying myself to sleep night after night, embracing the pain I had in my heart. I actually wanted to feel that pain. I wanted to suffer those deep feelings of sadness.

During this time, I lost all interest in exercising, which has been part of my life for 20+ years, I lost interest in doing well at work, I lost interest in taking care of myself at all. I lost my desire to be happy. I just didn’t care anymore.

The Good

Then one night, an interesting thing happened. A long time friend of mine met me at a bar and after patiently listening to me whine about my unhappiness, laid into me with a vengeance and promptly told me that I needed to get my fucking shit together.

Like now.

She shared a story of her close friend, who was my age and had 2 small children as well. He had terminal stomach cancer and was not expected to live much longer (he has since passed). After looking at several of his pictures with his children, so happy to be alive and with them, it hit me.

Life is so short as it is. God forbid something happens to us, we get sick, injured, or diagnosed with a terminal disease. It crazy not to live life to its fullest while we can.

So I chose to change. Not the following week or even the next day. I left that bar, went home and changed, and went for a run.

Running was something that had become foreign to my body. I had literally spent 6 months eating nothing but Big Macs, Pop Tarts, donuts, and drinking Red Bull and soda. I looked like shit and felt even worse.

It’s ON!

Starting from that day, I decided that I was taking back my life. I was going to be in control of my emotions, my health, and my future.

I woke up that next morning with a new sense of purpose. I knew that I could change and that I would change. I began by trashing all my junk food, which left my pantry and refrigerator empty and went to the store to buy healthy foods.

I started exercising every day, just for 15 minutes at first. I also started up my fitness bootcamp class again, which I had stopped teaching earlier in the year.

I decided to start eating Paleo style, drinking nothing but water, and taking care of my body.

6 Months Later

Now, 6 months after that night at the bar, I feel great! My energy has never been higher, I am sleeping better, and have lost 10 pounds of fat. I am also working hard to become a more positive person and focus on the good things in my life.

I’ve started to pursue things that I enjoy doing, begun reconnecting with old friends, and started to appreciate the small things in life again.

My life has literally done a 180 in just a few short months and what I think about often is how any one of us can do the same. It’s not that I’m particularly special, it’s just that I made a commitment to making a change and I followed through.

Ending The Grind..For Real!

For those of you familiar with my blog, you know that I have felt trapped in my corporate 9 to 5 job and have ranted tirelessly about how much I hated it.

I’ve whined and fumed about bad bosses, cubicle’s and boring meetings and yet never did anything about it. I never took the action that I needed to in order to change my situation.

But that has changed…..

Because, my old friends (and new ones),……..I have officially ended my grind!

Isn’t it funny how things just “happen” when your mindset changes? About 12 weeks ago, I saw an ad in Craigslist which was from a local gym looking for a part-time personal trainer.

Instead of sending my resume in like the ad said, I called the owner directly and introduced myself. I set up an interview for the next day and went to meet the owner of the club.

When I walked in, I instantly fell in love with the facility, which was unlike any gym I had ever worked in (or been in).

After a long interview, I realized that although I loved the gym, the hours didn’t work with my schedule with my full-time job. I thanked him for his time and said I hoped to keep in touch.

The very next morning, I got a call from the owner saying that he was so impressed with our conversation that wanted to offer me a position managing his facility.

Holy shit!!

Within 48 hours, I had an offer letter and a real opportunity to make the change I had wanted for so long. My background has been in fitness and I have been a personal trainer for 16 years and I knew that this was no coincidence that this was happening.

A New Beginning

After a long week of weighing my options, running cash flow projections, and lying in bed awake all night worrying about my financial future, I made the decision.

I went into work the next day, met with my two business partners, and promptly told them I was quitting. Surprisingly, they were both very supportive and wished me well.

For those of you with steady and “secure” jobs, you can imagine the anxiety I went through as I threw away my comprehensive benefits package, matching 401(k), stock options, enormous earning potential, and what some would call the American Dream.

Yea, it was nerve wracking as hell, but I knew it was the right move.

I will tell you that the feeling I got after walking out of that stuffy office for the last time was something I’ll never forget. Although I now had a financial burden on my shoulders given the significant pay cut, I no longer had the weight of a passionless existence. I now had something to work towards, to wake up for, and to get excited about!

And that is what life is all about…

Return Of The Grinder

Since quitting my job, life has been far from all rainbows and unicorns. The massive drop in pay coupled with brutally long days has taken its toll on me. The stress of having to hustle 24/7 to make money to live is exhausting.

But guess what? I get to do what I love for a living. I get to help people live healthier lives. I work out for a living for Christ’s sake! That’s an incredible fucking way to live!!

And with my newfound freedom and sense of purpose, I have repeatedly thought of 2 things:

  1. I miss writing and inspiring people to make positive changes in their lives
  2. I want need to do it again

So here I am, back at it.

I do not have a business plan for this blog or really a plan at all. Right now, all I want to do is share my story, reconnect with as many people as I can, offer hope to those feeling trapped in a miserable job, and provide an example of how we can change our lives if we choose to.

And I invite you to join me…

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