2019 – Becoming Stronger

I’m not a “New Years” type of person – it’s just another day. If something is so important to my success, why wait until some (distant) future date before starting it? Start now.

But, reflection is the zeitgeist of now, and I got to thinking some… so here’s 2019.

It was a year I became stronger.

At the day job, I was on truly the most challenging and trying project of my 2+ decade professional career. I did reach my breaking point – and broke – from it. But I can also see I wouldn’t have weathered the storm and emerged on the other side, if I hadn’t already been strong. So that’s good. And I never would have thought it, but it sparked something inside me. I’m finding a new and renewed purpose in my professional career (beyond code monkey/architect): to helping build technical leads. We’ll see where this goes. I’m thankful for a supportive employer.

At my other job, I amassed 149 hours of formal training – most I’ve ever done in a single year. I broke through some mental (and thus skill) plateaus in my shooting, such that I was able to earn a Light Pin from Gabe White. I also graduated from the inaugural Rangemaster Master Instructor & Development course (if you can’t place the gravity of these things, they are a big deal). Made a lot of solid progress this year. The breakthroughs I had have helped me be become better, and set forth a good road ahead of me.

At the gym, I had both gains and setbacks. I finally broke through a long drought. I’ve been chasing a goal of “2/3/4/5”. That is, 2 “wheels” on (military) Press, 3 wheels on bench press, 4 on squat, 5 on deadlift. A “wheel” is a 45 lb plate, thus 225 press, 315 bench, 405 squat, 495 deadlift. I achieved those lifetime goals: closing out the year with a 225 press, 320 bench, and 515 deadlift. But squat eluded me, with a 358 best. I found my white whale, doubled-down, and wound up injuring my lumbar area. I changed gears, started tinkering with RPE and Conjugate, and literally on the last chance to squat in 2019 I hit a definitive 405 squat with the SS Yoke Bar (which is tougher than a normal bar). I set a goal of 2/3/4/5’ing in 2019, and I pulled it off totally unexpectedly. I attribute a change in mindset, initiated by injury, and having some supportive people around me that pushed me to be better (esp. Steve, Clay, and my wife). Truly, having 400 lb on your back, letting it sink you to the depths, not letting it crush you, then decisively rising up against that crushing force – all while knowing it’s been your lack of confidence, your fears holding you back from achieving your goals? The iron teaches you about life like nothing else.

At home, there’s a lot of change, with the kiddos getting older and dipping toes into their own independent lives. Working to pull back, allow them to be their own adults and not “parent” so much, even if it makes you wince and worry. Guiding them down new paths and roads, towards being a man or woman standing on their own 2 feet.  Being thankful for the strong-ass woman I’ve been fortunate to be married to for 2+ decades, for without her I’d not be able to stand. Diving deeper into my affection and love for her. With our age, time together, kids lives’ changing, and so on, that also means OUR relationship is changing. We must respond to the change, and build an even stronger bond between us.

In myself, dealing with the constant of what 2019 was, I withdrew a bit online. You all have enough people in your daily digital feeds bitching, proselytizing, manifesting hypocrisy, or some other sort of negativity to make you sick. I worked to only post when/if it could make people smile, laugh, be thankful, or some other sort of positive message/feeling – especially trying to make people smile and laugh. Or videos of me lifting, which of course is the primary reason I’m on Instagram. I have my opinions on issues, my “silence” (if you gauge how much I speak solely by what I say/post online) doesn’t mean I don’t work or contribute or fight for or against things. I simply prefer to be the sort of person that, when you think of me, you smile. There’s enough shittyness in the world – I can work on myself to minimize contributing to it, and also work to contribute better things.

So…

2019 set a bunch of stuff in motion, primarily because “bad things happened”. As the saying goes, “tough times don’t last; tough people do”. I’m not saying I’m tough, but I am saying I’m still here. And through those tough times, I’ve found some pretty cool things that I hope to continue exploring in my future.

And yes, thank YOU for your support… because if you read this far, I guess you care about me somewhat. Thank you for caring.

2 thoughts on “2019 – Becoming Stronger

  1. That was an awesome year, John!

    In the past year, running has been doing for me what iron has been doing for you.

    I wish you continued progress in 2020!

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