I knew the date was coming around, because I am kind of nuts like that. Facebook in its time tracking way of memories reminded me of a journey I started 3 years ago today. I found my new family, my FIRE Family. It didn’t feel like family that first day, my family never made me do push-ups. Maybe that was the problem.

I have made more progress in improving my overall health in the time I have been at FIRE than I did in the previous 48 years of my life. This past year I hit a skid, like so many did, with the pandemic. The gym was closed for a stretch, and so much changed in such a short period of time, and things got out of hand. I lost the path for a while. Not exactly derailed, just a little lost, that’s all. I put some weight back on, and let myself eat more snacks and junk that I had in a long while. Pizza really re-emerged in my life. I hadn’t realized how little of it I had eaten until I was eating gigantic slices of it on my breaks at Costco because we could have it for free.

Things started opening back up, including the gym, and I waddled my pizza eating butt back through the doors. It was what I needed for my physical self, but also my mental health too. That place is where I made the connection between the two things, and that is where I need to be to get back to the balance. It seems a little tougher this time, might be age, could be something else. But I keep going, and there are some great workouts and some I am struggling hard. And what is important is being there for the other people too.

We have been doing this ridiculous challenge this month, 100 squats per day, but for “fun” we add on ten extra each day, and it’s cumulative. By January 31st, we are doing 400 squats. But, or butt in this case, most of the days we are doing this as a group at the end of camp. Support, accountability and group pain. Today was 320, after a 45 minute camp and we did it together. Family. Dysfunctional Family. That’s my FIRE Family, and we are quite aware that we have lost our damn minds.

So that 823 up top, that is the number of times I have walked through the doors there in 3 years. I think if it hadn’t been for the pandemic shut downs, I might be closer to 900. Before it all shut down, I was going to 6 camps a week, a cardio class one night a week, and a few Friday night Black Labels camps a month. They added up quick that way. Now I am back to 6 camps a week, but none of the extras for now. I am proud of that number, 823, because that many times I did something for me. I expect it of myself now, and while it isn’t easy each day, I find it inside somewhere to do it, to give myself that one thing each day to be proud of, and I am.

Not every person can do this, I am well aware. I am surprised I can some days, but the support helps a lot, and it’s why I try to be supportive while I am there too, and why I like and love every post I see on social media from the various FIRE locations. They do it for me, I am damn sure doing it for them. It changed me, my life, my attitude and my health. I would wish that every person can find something in their life that can make the positive changes they need, physically yes, but more importantly mentally. I can do all of this because I have found a mental strength that was sorely missing for me many years of my life. Not that I didn’t care about others, I just didn’t care enough about me. But I do now, and it helps me care about the other things and people in my life too.

Find your Fire. It doesn’t have to be FIRE, but whatever it may be that makes you feel strong, inside, outside or both. It exists and it can be reached. Look around and see how strong you can be, if it does happen to be at FIRE, I know a whole gang that will lift you up and cheer you on. 824 comes on Monday for me, and I only go up from there. Happy day my friends, and very importantly, GO PACK GO. Completely unrelated, but very necessary today and tomorrow.

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