I know my posting has been almost predominantly about my four-hundred and seventy page manuscript, Once, but today’s post is right back where it belongs, and that means it is all fitness related. Today I want to get right to the point and talk about why I haven’t been posting as much as I would have liked to over the past several months. To be honest, I actually was in the process of completing my final semester of school (BS, Wellness and Fitness, Magna Cum Laude), and during this time I was searching for new opportunity in the Land of Opportunity! Well, I was already a citizen of the United States to begin with, but I was located in the Ohio Valley where opportunity simply did not exist. For those of you who were reading Comeback Kid, the second half of the book posted just before this post, River Valley is actually based off of the Ohio Valley. For those of you who are not familiar with Comeback Kid, let me feel you in on the Ohio Valley. For those of you familiar with the area or have read my previous posts on my wordpress site, please feel free o skip the next paragraph in its entirety.
So, I hail from Steubenville, Ohio, and had spent a lot of my time in Weirton, West Virginia, as I was employed at a local fitness center in the area, which rocked, mind you. Steubenville was once a major port town, as it is located on the Ohio River and was relatively close to Pittsburgh. Later on, Steubenville, along with the entire viewing area including but not limited to, Mingo Junction, Toronto, Wellsville, East Liverpool, Weirton, Yorkville, Wheeling, Rayland, and several other small places dotted along the Ohio River became mill towns. Other towns, such as Smithfield, Hopedale, Irondale, Bloomingdale, and others, contained coal mines. Last, but certainly not least, were the farm towns of Richmond, East Springfield, many of the other towns mentioned above, as well as others, were predominantly farm towns, where fortunately to this day one can still walk in and buy local meats! To make this description somewhat shorter, the area itself was once booming with manufacturing and farming. There were many more manufacturing sectors dotted along this historic area, but steel, coal, and farming were the frontrunners. To make this description even shorter, everyone had a job. Sure, we were talking about something far from fitness, but everyone took their father’s place in the steel mill, coal mines, or farms after he retired. Or, in all honesty, father and son would work side by side with one another for years before dad retired. One woke up, worked their shift, unwound at the local bar, went home, went to sleep, and did it again. Life was good and everyone was set with a living.
Soon, however, multiple causes forced companies out. Due to the amount of political differences in America today, I’m not going to elaborate the causes, because every single reader will have their own opinion and approach on the subject. I, however, am just mentioning this very briefly in passing. Anyway, the steel industry collapsed and Weirton Steel, the primary employer for the entire region, was way beyond it’s prime. Today, much of the steel mill is abandoned, sitting on the land, rotting, crumbling, and rusting, while the ghosts of its rich past remain trapped within the decaying walls. The entire viewing area was hit hard, especially once many of the coal mines closed. I believe one still exists in Hopedale, but I’m unsure of the state it is currently in. There are a few more mills and mines left in the area, but for the most part, they’re finished. Downtown Steubenville, once a fine area for entertainment with a vibrant nightlife, now sits in ruins. Housing projects that are falling apart fill the run-down streets. Poverty runs amok downtown. The Fort Steuben Mall, a longtime employer for the city, lost K-Mart and Sears in 2016, and today Macy’s is also on its way out. Over half of the once proud location located in between Steubenville and nearby Wintersville is now empty, cages leading into the darkness of what used to be a multitude of stores. One wing of the Fort Steuben Mall is now completely empty, save for a U.S. Armed Forces recruiting office. The state of the Fort Steuben Mall is now in foreclosure, with a very bleak future. So bleak that a betting man would be more likely to bank on the Cleveland Browns winning Super Bowl LII than the Fort Steuben Mall ever regaining its once great prominence within the region.
The economically affluent have migrated to nearby Wintersville, Ohio, the last great town in the Ohio Valley, almost the Monte Walsh of the Old West. Yet Wintersville is small, with a population of fewer than 5,000. In Comeback Kid, I call this location Summersville. Businesses continue to thrive in Wintersville, and very few buildings sit abandoned within the city streets. The roads are clean, the residents are satisfied, and the small town looks forward to the future. In fact, I only know of one bad area in the entire town.
So here I am, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city that also took quite a blow when the steel industry shrunk. However, Pittsburgh has since rebounded into a tech town, attracting everyone, including its former population, back within the city limits. I’m finally taking that plunge with the money I had taken four years to save and am now in process of doing several things up here. Of course, I want to publish Once locally, and hope and pray it becomes a budding success. Comeback Kid has already been completed and is free to read on this site. It might take some searching for the episodes, but a simple google search should bring them all up. I’m also looking very forward to beginning my own show when it comes to fitness and personal training, and I have a lot of ideas that I can finally use some of the money I saved up to implement. Things will be happening quickly and once I get rolling (uh, today lol) the future looks very bright. I chose to move to Pittsburgh because many of my clients who still live in the Ohio Valley (yet work in Pittsburgh) are my primary networks, a few of which are still willing to work with me in the great Steel City! And I can now call a large metro area home, something I’ve always wanted to do since I was twelve. I’m now twenty-five, and my dreams are becoming a reality. The hardest part was the move, which took months of research, planning, hypothetical role playing, a lot of ‘what-ifs,’ saving money, finishing school, gaining as many credentials as possible, obtaining information which will include necessities for my businesses (insurance, legal documents, accountants, marketing teams, websites, etc).
If I have any advice for anyone else currently living in a viewing area of little opportunity, I’m going to give it now.
- Save every single penny you earn: I know it’s tempting to order out. I know you want to go out with your dream girl (I did something smart and plastered one of my favorite female singers on my phone and computer background), perhaps buy that house, and start making full time money so you can spend on extravagance, but you were chosen by the goal. Wait, what was that? Is that a typo? Not at all! The goal chose you. You didn’t choose the goal. The goal chose you. The goal saw something in you that it wanted you to pursue. The goal is written in black and white in a very sacred book we Christians call the Bible. That goal that chose you is Jeremiah 23:11. If you aren’t familiar with it, read it. If you are secular, agnostic, or anything else, simply use this verse as motivation! So save every penny you earn and work towards you dream and not the dream today, but the dream you had since you were still in middle school!
- Learn to be a loner: Yep, this is a tough one, but it’s very necessary. I know hanging out with your best friends is a cool thing and you want to fit in, but hear me out, what do you really want? If you have nothing in common with these other people who think your dream is laughable, then they aren’t your friends. They like you simply because you’re with them, following them, and mimicking what they do! You need to stop this right now. Remember the goal that chose you? You will be lead to the people the goal that chose you has already strategically placed in your path. Just trust the goal! Trust the goal, and all will be okay. You will be put at ease! This goal chose you for a reason! So you will often be alone and left to your own thoughts, but it’s okay! Like minded people, those with identical goals as you possess, will be coming for you! These are your true best friends because twenty years down the road you won’t be left to wonder what could have been had I pursued this goal, you will only wonder what would have happened had you not pursued! Remember that!
- Expect late nights and early mornings: You are going to be up late working towards the goal that chose you and you will be up early in the morning working towards the goal that chose you. No other way about it. You had this goal that is calling upon you for a reason and for good reason. You may refuse the call initially but so did the hero in every single epic work ever created! Yet eventually you crossed that first threshold, did you not? Let’s use my own life for example: You have the Call, which is step one! You have refusal to the call as step two. So for me, step two was my fear of stepping out of my comfort zone when I had already built a perfectly fine comfort zone in Weirton. But eventually I grew dissatisfied with myself. I knew I could do better, but I had that first threshold blocking my path like a wall and standing there laughing at me! So what did I do? I proceeded to step three after months of planning! And I crossed that first threshold, which in my case, crossing that first threshold was the move to Pittsburgh. Now I’m at step four, which if I remember correctly is a trip into the unknown. For Harry Potter, this unknown was not knowing who he was or where he was going! Harry Potter didn’t know what lay ahead of him, but he knew that it was eventually going to be better than what he was leaving behind. The common denominator between Harry Potter, yourself, and I, is that we are dedicating ourselves to our plan of action on a nearly twenty-four hour, seven day a week basis in order to make things better for ourselves. Harry Potter went through this! Luke Skywalker went through this! You can name a thousand heroes who went through this! Are you getting it now?
- Never look back: Sure, I go back home once a week, but that’s so I can save 50 cents per gallon in gasoline (thank you, Ohio), do my laundry for free, not have to go to coffee shops in order to use Wi-Fi (because I’m too cheap to buy it myself for the time being), and save money on electric, water, and sewage. However, once I find my Freedom Number, I will likely cut out going back home entirely. I know one thing, when I went back this weekend I couldn’t wait to get back up to Pittsburgh! So it’s a good start. But in time, I’m never looking back at anything save for the memories that were created between September, 2012, and January, 2017. I loved working in Weirton, but I knew better things were out there, and they are. Sure, I’m not where I want to be as of right now, but I’m where I need to be, making a small income while I build a dynasty I had dreamed of since I was in middle school. All I can say is, thank-you, God, for developing a goal that chose me. I won’t fail because I know what is in my path and although difficult, it’s going to be totally worth it in one day, and one day is very, very close.
Thank you all for your time and since I’ll have ample amounts of free time in order to embark on my own journey (which means I have virtually no free time at all), things can finally move at a rapid pace. I can only succeed. I will not fail. Thank you all, and my God guide you on your journey.