My Monadnock Adventure

Doesn’t that sound like a Lord of the Rings title? Like a prequel to the Hobbit? (Book and movie reference right off the top).

My Monadnock adventure doesn’t just happen overnight. It was thought about DAYS in advance. Weeks actually. You see, recently I’ve had a few friends and colleagues who’ve shared with me their strong and persuasive recommendations of hiking this majestic New England beauty, so I began to do some research and looked up various reviews and articles that described what hiking Mount Monadnock was like. I looked at the time it took to drive there, what time of day it was heavy populated, which trails to take up and down the mountain, parking, pictures of the trails, and how prepared I would need to be in terms of water, food, and gear. Those answers were planned, but the day I decided to make the drive was just this past Friday. I began looking at the weather for Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where Mount Monadnock is located, and despite showing showers on Saturday, said Sunday would be sunny with a high of 69. Various reviews did point out that if it rains, the gigantic rocks that line the trail become rather damp and slick, making it even more difficult to hike in and reach the top. (Which they were not making up as I will go more in detail later on). But I didn’t want to wait. When I saw the weather was sunny and comfortable, I knew that was a sign that it would be my day to go. So I did. Below is a breakdown of how that day went. Buckle up and enjoy! 😝

The 4:30am wake up

Yes, you read that right. I woke up, on a Sunday which is designated time for teachers to sleep in, at 4:30 in the morning. My plan was to hit the road by 5:15, without missing any of my morning tea and meditation of course.🧘🏻‍♂️ (Turmeric ginger tea is my go-to). Once I finished my tea and deep breathing, I packed my bag with all of the essentials; extra pair of socks, cold-gear under armor, an extra t-shirt, my water, cliff bars, a banana, electrolyte tabs (thanks whole foods), chapstick, sunglasses, band-aids, my muscle roller (great for warming up pre hike), and my car charger. My hoody was already on and I would put that in my bag for the top of the mountain just in case. That was everything. I brushed my teeth, went to the bathroom and off I went. (Hey, I’m just being honest. Bathroom before a long drive is a must c’mon people 😂).

The morning drive

I would be lying to you if I didn’t say how much fun the morning portion of the drive was. Especially when you’re solo. Driving to your destination, on the open road with little to no traffic, to the sound of your favorite music blasting as loud as you want, is the epitome of bliss. Then, add in the sun rising in the crisp, dark September sky, providing vivid colors of orange, pink, and red blending along the horizon, and you have bliss magnified. It was amazing. The two hours and 15 minutes that it took to get there only felt like a quarter of that. Also, when I reached the state border of New Hampshire, the sun began peaking through the tall trees lined up along the sides of the road, giving me even more visual satisfaction for the remainder of my drive to Mount Monadnock. Smaller highways guided my last half hour, which led me to fully take in the beauty that New Hampshire is. (Seriously, it’s beautiful).

Arrival

Okay. I have a confession. When I pulled on the road that led to the entrance of Mount Monadnock, I got a little scared. Out my driver’s side window, stood the highest point in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, or 3,165 feet to be exact. It looked MASSIVE. It even had the fog and clouds that is in every movie or tv show hovered near the top, only showing hints of the peak. However my thoughts of doubt quickly went away as the word “DOPEEEEEEE” came out of my mouth. (Dope is one of my favorite words to say and I probably say it way too much but hey, 🤷🏻‍♂️🤓). I was instantly excited. I pulled in, talked to one of the park attendees who was still setting up, and parked. Made it. (And beat the GPS by 10 minutes, take THAT GPS!).

The trail/climb up

All of the reviews I had read in the previous weeks, as well as from my recommendations from my friends and colleagues was that there were A LOT of rocks on this trail, and that I had to be prepared for some challenging rock climbing once I got closer to the top. It’s not that I didn’t believe they were telling the truth, I just had never seen or hiked a trail as the one they described, and they couldn’t be more right. The trail starts off on a gradual incline, filled with many tree roots and small to medium rocks that stick out of the ground looking for weak feet and ankles to sprain. The trail is plenty wide, so much so that you don’t feel cramped or tight when several people pass by on their hike up or down the trail. As I made my way up, the tree roots tend to get less and less only to be substituted by bigger, larger rocks. As I kept climbing up, it was easy to follow the trail, as trees and rocks are painted with a large white circle, (The white dot trail is the one I took. It’s the steepest quickest route up the mountain), so it’s hard to get off course. I saw people hiking in front of me going up or down the mountain, so that helped map out the course as well as affirm that I was in fact going in the right direction. (Mount Monadnock is one of the most hiked mountains in New England, so even though I began hiking around 8 a.m., the trail was already being put to good use). Once I got past the medium size rocks I officially graduated to the large ones. And I do mean LARGE. These rocks were relatively smooth too. Oh, and in terms of the incline, yeah, it’s pretty steep. Definitely the steepest I’ve tried to hike. I tried to follow the grooves or edges on the rocks and planned where to step, especially since I didn’t have the correct footwear. I decided to hike the mountain in older training sneakers that had sturdy support but so-so grip. That was almost my biggest mistake of the trip. There were a few times my feet slipped but I was lucky and athletic enough to regain my footing and catch myself in good positions where I could keep on climbing. (Thank you functional training). Going from a trail that was damp and soggy did not help in the matter as well, but going slow, planning where to take my steps, using my hands and body, all helped me in climbing the trail. I was also lucky, (Some say luck, some say synchronicity. It’s me, I say synchronicity), that there was an older couple, a woman and man, probably around 45-50 years old, who had hiked the mountain previously come up behind me and take the lead to show me the best route to take once on the steep, smooth, and slippery large rocks. The last portion of the hike was tricky. I reached a spot where I saw this gorgeous view below that appears between two perfectly placed trees, only to realize that I still had another 20 minutes to the very top. For a first time Monadnock climber, those last 20 minutes were some of the most thrilling hiking I’ve done, because when you’re on the rocks, its just YOU and the rocks. That’s it. You look down and its more rocks, EXCEPT it’s on an incline. It kind of reminded me when I was young and you’re on a playscape, you go down the slide the correct way, then you try climbing back up? YEAH. That is how the climb up to the top during the final leg of the hike was like. Oh, and yea, you’re pretty high up, so if you don’t like heights, just keep looking at the rocks. By this time, there was a slight drop in the temperature and the wind started to pick up. I started to pass by gigantic piles of smaller rocks that lined the path up to the peak. Even though there are dots that still show on the rocks, there are many ways you can choose to climb up. (On many reviews and trail sites they call this a scramble to the top). I chose a way that had edges, crevices, or a large side of the rock sticking out to grab on too when picking the spots to climb. I also made sure that every step I took I was balanced with my arms just in case I was to slip. I’ll save you the drama. I never fell.

The peak

Inhale. Smile. Have the wind almost take my hat off. Exhale. I made it to the top. Cue the picture taking. The peak WAS amazing. There were panoramic views of what seems like the entire country. There were several other people on top of the mountain during my time at the top, which in a way actually felt amazing. Here are other people who were celebrating and enjoying their climb, taking in pictures, sitting down eating snacks, or just taking in the view. They’re doing what I was doing. Just being present. Soaking up the moment. It’s that connection we all constantly search for. I felt that this entire hike. (More on that coming up). The wind at the peak was strong and cold, but not cold enough for my hoody. You do need to be careful at the top, as the wind gusts can get to 40 mph from what I’ve read AND experienced. Once I got my pictures, (Thank you to the bro I met who so kindly took my picture!), 🎶 “imagine if I never met the broski’s” – 🎶 (drake reference 😎)

I descended 10-15 feet and sat down beside a large crevice, blocking the wind gusts and facing the sun. It was majestic. Breathtaking. Peaceful. I felt like I was on top of the world. Nothing else mattered at that very moment. I was one with the mountain.

The climb down

The descent wasn’t as strenuous as the way up, but it was still challenging. Descending from the peak and traveling down the rocks on such a decline, I took my time in the placement of my steps and continued to brace my core and use my arms for balance. As I continued down the mountain foot placement becomes the theme as those same rocks I hiked on the way up are back in full force ready to chop away at my ankles if I wasn’t careful. I took the white dot trail back down the mountain, which was not recommended in reviews. The white cross trail is the less steeper of the two and is often the one that hikers take on the descent. But upon my descent, that couple who helped me trace my path up the peak, told me the white dot trail is prettier and more fun than the white cross, and that’s all it took to persuade me. More fun you say? Psss heck yeah, lets do it!! They were right. It WAS more fun on the way down. But not for the reason that most would expect. What I liked most about the way down was all of the connections I made. Remember how I said earlier that Mount Monadnock was the most heavily hiked trail in New England? Well, on my way down, I didn’t go 2 minutes without passing hikers on their way up. So, what did I do? I made sure that I greeted EVERY single person or group with a smile, greeting, and small talk. Not everyone gave back the same energy or enthusiasm that I did, but that’s OK! Some people did! And it was awesome! I even got a high five from a toddler that couldn’t be more than 2 or 3 year’s old that was on her dad’s shoulders in one of those piggy back seats. (Kudos to dad of the year right there). Those connections are what makes hiking so special. Everyone out there is hiking to enjoy nature, to get away from life, to be with family, to move, and to live! And I wanted to soak in that experience during Mount Monadnock, and soak it in I did.

The small town straight out the movies

Once I got back in my car, the first thing I did was search for food. I knew what I wanted. Breakfast. And a lot of it. I found a diner in a little town called Peterborough, about 15 minutes away, and set off. This town literally looked like it was right out of a movie. A small downtown equipped with old buildings and rusting paint, little restaurants and shops, and of course, the diner. When I walked in the diner, I didn’t know if it was just me or if everyone suddenly stopped what they were doing and stared, but it definitely felt like that. All of the booths that lined the diner (maybe 8 total) were full so I grabbed an empty chair at the bar. An older waitress came up to me right away and gave me the old “Ready to order hunny what would ya like?”. I knew without even having to look at the menu. “Two eggs over easy with a side of hash browns, no toast, full stack of blueberry pancakes, extra blueberries, and the real maple syrup please”. With a grin wider than the trail I had just hiked, the waitress responded, “You gonna eat all that hunny?”. I loved the hospitality. I smiled and said “Oh yeah”. What I didn’t realize is this brief interaction opened up a line of communication with what seemed to be every waitress in the place. They all started talking to me. I was flattered. I honestly felt like a celebrity. At one point in the conversation, a waitress, older than me, said “You aint from round here huh sweetie”. I said, “No maam, what makes you say that?”. (I really did say ma’am). And she goes, “Oh nothing, we just don’t see fellas like you come in”, giggling. I laughed myself. I probably was blushing too. BUT WHO SAYS THAT? Honestly. I thought that only happens in movies!! Nevertheless, breakfast was a lot of fun. It was delicious too. I thanked them for all of the compliments and love and headed back to my car. Time to drive home.

The drive back

The drive back home is never as fun as the one getting to your destination, but I was on so many endorphins from my post hike and breakfast that I knew I would still enjoy it. Traffic was heavier during this time, but it didn’t dampen my mood. I blasted my music on the way back, this time changing it to my country playlist, and sang like I was the headline act at the Xfinity theater in Hartford. (Can you imagine? Hey you guys going to see Zak Brown band tonight? D-Rob is headlining. 😂 maybe in an alternate universe). Anyways, I couldn’t be any happier to how my entire trip went. My drive home allowed me to reflect on what a tremendous day I had. I was grateful for all of the people I met. The sights, the sounds, the views, everything went better than I could have expected.

And that’s where I’m finally getting too.

To find what we’re looking for, sometimes we have to leave our expectations behind.

I’m so glad I was finally able to hike Mount Monadnock,

because life is an adventure, and it’s meant to be explored.

Go out and explore yours. 🤙🙌⛰

Peace, love and good vibes, ✌️❤️

and like always, thank you for reading. I know this was a long one.

D-rob

Summer break is over, now what?! (Tips to help make teaching, and life, more enjoyable).

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, actually yes I do, but Summer is over. Well, not officially. Summer BREAK is over. Yes. The break that teachers and students get from the last day of school in June to the last week in August. (A much-NEEDED break let me tell you). However, starting tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. that break is over with, and many teachers like myself, start the 2019-2020 school year.

Here is one question I will be continually asking myself as I prepare to embark on another school year adventure. (I called it an adventure purposely 🧘🏻‍♂️). Even if you are not a teacher, you can use this question yourself whenever you feel stressed or lacking motivation with your job or in your life.

What’s my why?

This is a question I am going to put on my desk and remind myself daily. There is one sole reason I became a teacher, and that is because I love to help people, and for many other teachers I bet the answer is similar. Last year was THE most stressful and most challenging school year I’ve had to date. (I am starting my 7th year teaching and 9th in the district). And it really can be traced to one simple thing, I forgot my “why”. My why is the rewarding feeling I get from the positive relationships I form with all of my students. My why is the joy I receive when students shout and wave and give me daps (a form of greeting). My why is the satisfaction I get when students come back after finishing middle school and tell me how much they missed my class. My why’s are not difficult answers. There are loads more. I want to see them learn, grow, and ultimately become compassionate, well rounded adults that are happy with themselves and put forth great energy into the world to make the world a better place. My why is to change the current trajectory of the world and planet. (Our earth is getting worse if you haven’t noticed, have you seen or heard about the Amazon fires? Or the amount of plastic and garbage in our Oceans? But those topics are for another time). My mission this year is not to forget that. No matter what my bosses or colleagues or anyone says or does, I will not forget my why’s.

There is a big IF with that question. And with teachers, that “if” is stress. With any profession its stress really. And overtime if stress builds up then our physical bodies won’t be able to mentally respond to asking the “What’s our why?” question. It won’t be motivating for us. So here is where the important part lies. You have to put yourself first. 🤯 Yup, that’s it. (Mind blowing right). How do you do that you ask? By asking more questions. (Duhhh 😝). What makes you feel alive? What brings you happiness? What brings you peace? Answer those questions and bring them with you into your work day. Don’t say you will TRY to do those things, try implies a doubt that you are going to fail. Say you WILL and CAN do those things. For me, its simply being more present during my lunch. This means enjoying my food. Not talking to anyone or checking social media. (or taking pictures of my healthy lunch. I mean it I promise 😂). It means scheduling 5-10 minutes of my lunch/plan time to meditating. It means bringing plants and salt lamps to put in my office and desk to make it more zen and peaceful. It means being more conscious and aware of shielding and protecting my sacred energy with other colleagues and my students. It means being more aware of what I’m communicating and how I am communicating to staff and students. It means letting my inner child out and ENJOYING my time teaching Physical Education. (You know actually having fun. Not like in Remember the Titans when Petey says during orientation, “Zero fun, sir”. Always have to hit you with a movie reference). It doesn’t have to be complicated. But for some reason, we as humans complicate it. We do things backwards, actually. Instead of using work as a means to LIVE LIFE, we value and prioritize work as our life. That’s not how it should be. Life should be fun. And work should be fun as well. Shame on the system for the convincing us otherwise.

If teaching, or whatever job you have, or your general life isn’t bringing you satisfaction and joy, then ask yourself those questions, ask yourself “What’s your why”, and accept whatever answers come your way.

I promise that in the process, you will learn and bring positive change to not only your work, but to your entire life. And that is the main goal.

Good luck to all of my educators, counselors, support staff, security, and school staff that will be taking on the 2019-2020 school year tomorrow. You got this. And if not, scroll back up and re-read.

As always, thank you for reading.

Peace and love,

D-rob 😎🤙✌️❤️

Don’t be an energy waster!! (Energy series part 2)

Ok, so in my last post which was a part 1 of a 3 part series about energy, I wrote about empaths, gave you some cool science behind our energy, and also told you how to protect yourself from people with negative energy.

Today is part 2 of my energy series and will challenge you to really think about if you’re TRULY giving energy to what you want most out of life.

Here are two simple questions you need to ask yourself.

What (or where) is your energy going to?

Who is your energy going to?

There are no right or wrong answers. However, any answers you do come up with are valuable insights to allow you to determine if you are on the path you are seeking, or if you need to start making some changes.

Your energy should be going into three things;

1. YOURSELF,

2. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS (friends, family, co-workers,)

3. YOUR GOALS/DREAMS.

First and foremost you need to be putting energy into things that make YOU happy. This is your ME time. Exercise, hiking, dancing, coffee with friends, reading, listening to music, having a spa day, playing sports, whatever it may be, you need to do more of that. Don’t make excuses about not having time. MAKE TIME. We all have the same amount of time in a day. If you need to wake up an hour earlier or re-plan your schedule around your kids then do it. I can’t stress how important putting energy into yourself is. You can’t put energy into numbers 2 and 3 if you aren’t putting enough into number 1 first! You should always come first. Put energy into you and watch how much more your energy improves.

Second, think about your relationships right now. This can be with your significant other, your friends, your family, co-workers or all the above. Are you getting what you want out of those relationships? If you aren’t, you may not be putting enough energy into that relationship, OR you’re not giving off any positive energy so your attracting more negative energy back to you. If you want more communication then you have to be the one to start communicating more. If you want more effort being put into planning dates or spending time with friends and family than you have to be the one committed to actually planning that. Don’t give the excuse, well they don’t hit me up so I guess that’s it. Nah, snap out of that. If someone is valuable to you then put in the effort. When the effort becomes too much and turns stressful and draining to your energy, THAT is when you have to cut that person off.

Lastly, your energy needs to be going into your goals and dreams. I don’t care how big or small these may be. Want to lose 10 pounds? Then what are you doing daily to bring you closer to that goal? Did you make a change to your diet? Are you going to the gym? Did you take the stairs instead of the elevator? These all are choices you make where you determine what your energy is going into. Dreams of starting a business? How are you getting closer to that dream? Are you reading books from top entrepreneurs? Asking for advice from people on social media? Researching the steps to market your business? Again, this is where your energy needs to go. If it isn’t, you are wasting it. Very simple.

I find far too often that many people seem to be living in auto-pilot. They fall into a routine and thought process that inhibits growth and without coincidence, unhappiness. There is nothing wrong with routine, I find routines helpful especially if you have anxiety. However, if that routine is not bringing you what you want out of life, or bringing you closer to your goals, then break the fucking routine!

You have every right to chase happiness, but make sure you’re putting forth the right energy into your chase.

Make today the day you start investing in yourself and taking your energy seriously.

I promise you it will be worth it.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for being YOU.

Have a great day. 🤙✌️😎

When it’s time to be selfish

This summer has been amazing.  It’s been relaxing, exciting and fun, with some small periods of stress sprinkled in the mix.  Two bachelor parties out of state, two stags I helped throw, one wedding including the best man’s speech for my twin bro (yes, I have a twin, and yes, my speech was phenomenal), and to top it off, some serious improvements on myself.  Oh yeah.  BIG TIME improvements. To the naked eye, they may not be as big, but to me, they’ve represented a shift in my viewpoint of what being happy truly means.  And you know what that is, being God damn selfish (sorry Mom I know you hate when I curse). Let me explain.

My entire life I have been a people pleaser.  I am a “go with the flow” type person, super laid back, the type to want to just have good vibes and avoid conflict.  Growing up this turned me into a “Yes man”, always wanting to do the right thing, to never let the other person down, to seek that sense of approval.  I think this view also represents the current state of a majority of people who use social media.  We are always seeking some type of validation for our posts, whether its on our main feed, our stories, whatever the case may be.  I myself also fall into this mix, and throughout my adult life, I’ve restrained from some of the posts I may or may not have put because I was afraid that it wouldn’t get that “approval” I was subconsciously seeking.   I don’t know what finally switched, it could have been a variety of factors, but sometime during the last few months, heck even the last year, I started being selfish.  Selfish with my thoughts.  Selfish with my communication.  Selfish with my time. Selfish with what I would say “Yes” too. Selfish with what I would post. Everything.

Here’s what I started to notice.  Freedom.  Freedom from the people who would take advantage of me. Freedom from my thoughts of any self-doubt.  Freedom from the opinion of others.  Freedom from the forced validation and competition of social media.  I started actually LIVING for me. No fear. No competition. Just doing what was right and best for ME. And in doing this, some of my passions that have been “dormant” or almost “hiding” have started to reemerge.  New passion and career paths have started to motivate me to new goals. I’m excited at everything I plan to accomplish within the next five years.

Heck, even in writing this, I feel back to my true creative self. I started this small blog because one I always wanted to help people, but two, because I LOVE TO FUCKING WRITE (sorry again Mom but the “f” word was needed in that sentence). So here I am again, being selfish in not only this blog post, but in how I’m spending my Sunday afternoon. I’m eating a salad, I’m drinking a seltzer, and I’m sharing my thoughts with the world (or to the 20 people who actually decide to read this), and yes, I couldn’t be happier.

Peace be the journey,

-Derek

(Always have to throw in a movie reference) 🤙

Just a normal Sunday, or so I thought…

But if you push that anxiety and fear away for just a few minutes, the universe can surprise you with something special.

The universe works in mysterious ways.  It can truly work in our favor if we let it, and this morning was a perfect example of that for me.

Sunday morning is one of my favorite times of the week.  I sleep in, (which for me, and many other teachers, is to about 8:00 a.m.), then get up and drink a big glass of water.  I perform some light stretches to get my body up and moving then head to the gym where I dedicate a couple hours to mobility work, a full body workout, foam rolling, finished by a quick session in the sauna and hot tub.  This time is amazing for me.  I blast my music and get lost into another world.  Anyone who works out consistently can attest to the addiction of finding and staying in this zone.  What sets today apart is what happened and who I met after my workout was over.

Walking into the hot tub at a gym can be a scary experience for some.  The anxiety of sharing a tub of water and jets with strangers can be pretty intimidating, and I understand that.  But if you push that anxiety and fear away for just a few minutes, the universe can surprise you with something special.

Today as I was walking in the hot tub there was a man already inside, who smiled and greeted me, “hello” as soon as I entered.  I greeted him back with a hello, and a routine, “Nice and hot today!” before sitting down next to one of the jets.  The man continued to talk to me, including telling me his age, 75 years old, and how it wasn’t fun to be old while stating how much pain he is currently dealing with in his back.  If you don’t know me or my story, (scroll up to read “Heart of a Lion”, my first blog post about my health journey), I am also a person who has struggled and still deals with chronic pain.  Instead of writing this complete stranger off, I opened up to him and briefly summed up my health journey.  I then told him about chiropractors, physical therapists, massages, trigger points, mobility exercises, breathing, dry needling, cupping, anything I knew off that helped with back pain I was listing it off to him.  He was very receptive to my advice, and asked questions about people and places I would recommend to get these treatments done.  He went on to state that the only care he is receiving for his pain is from an orthopedic doctor, who is currently prescribing him pain relievers and possibly surgery.  I offered him more advice about seeking these natural treatments first before getting surgery, as I am a big believer that surgeries ultimately cause more harm than good.  (I’ve had four surgeries in my lifetime and two on my knee and shoulder that could have been avoided if I didn’t fall into the hypnotic spell of the orthopedic surgeon and sought other options myself). He was receptive to my advice and assured me he was going to try some of these treatments in the coming month. What he went on to say next is what led me to write this post about this experience.  He looked me dead in the eye, with a huge smile, and thanked me for talking with him.  He told me that countless times in this gym he has tried to start conversations with people and they wrote him off.   We shook hands, formally introduced ourselves with our names, and exited the hot tub.

The entire conversation lasted roughly 10 minutes.  It could have easily been 10 minutes of silence, two men just relaxing in the hot tub, completely oblivious to the world and each other.  But it wasn’t that.  It was 10 minutes of two people being human.  It was 10 minutes of two people connecting.  It was 10 minutes that I am so deeply and incredibly grateful for experiencing today.

As you go through the rest of your day, week, month, I simply ask you to be a little more receptive to what or who the universe drops in front of you.  As I learned today, there are no coincidences.

You’re alive…

Good morning, and happy Sunday! The sun is shining (in Connecticut at least), you’re alive and you’re breathing, life is good.

Sometimes it’s these little things you need to remind yourself to be thankful for. Today was one of those mornings in which I had to do the same.

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote about my auto-immune diseases and even though I’ve made great strides this last year, today was a morning which one hit me square in the face. Last night I ended up eating some small treats, and despite them being gluten and nut free, it had milk and lots of sugar. If you’re not familiar with certain aspects of nutrition, sugar and dairy are the devil for people with auto-immune diseases. They are triggers of inflammation, and can cause flare-ups with certain people depending on how their bodies react to them. This morning as I woke up I knew immediately that I screwed up. My body was so stiff it took me 15 minutes longer to get out of bed. Once out of bed, I quickly saw both the back of my hands, my forearms, arms, and back had a large rash. In appearance it looks similar to that of a heat rash or hives, but for me it was a common symptom with those who have psoriatic arthritis. (One of the two auto-immune diseases I was diagnosed with two years ago).

After dropping the kids off at the pool (get it? 😂) and washing my face I went downstairs and had a large glass of water. (Drinking water right upon waking has tremendous benefits, and I will write a post about that soon). Once finishing hydrating myself I went into my stretching, foam rolling,and mobility exercises. Sunday are my days where I love to go to the gym and devote myself to a full body workout and this morning wasn’t going to stop me from that.

As I went through my workout I devoted more time spent between my exercises actively stretching to keep my joints and body fluid. This past year I’ve been blessed with a great team of chiropractors (Damato’s in Newington, CT) and physical therapists (John Odriscoll at Symmetry in Portland, CT) who have given me the tools and strategies to get stronger while focusing on building the core and maintaining proper form.

Once my workout was over, I hit the sauna, cooled off in the pool, then spent 5 more minutes in the hot tub. This felt great on my body and am so grateful I go to a gym that houses these.

As I’m writing this, my body, especially my joints feel amazing. The rash on my hands, arms and back is almost all gone, and I’m ready to tackle the rest of the day.

The point is, we all have moments where we will have setbacks in life. We can look at them as roadblocks, or challenges, the choice is ultimately ours. I pray that anyone reading this, especially those with auto-immune diseases, to not give up, to keep fighting, and keep winning the day. Remember, you’re alive, and breathing.

Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T.

Hating on Tom Brady is like hating on Captain America. You just can’t do it.

First off, let me just say I am NOT a Patriots fan.  Never was.  Never will be.  I need to point out that the team I root for is currently at the bottom of the NFL, however, is also the ONLY team to account for all of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl losses. (Thank you Tyree and Manningham).  But just because I cheer for a team who ISN’T the Pats (short for Patriots), doesn’t mean I don’t admire (secretly of course) a player who has revolutionized the sport in such a way that we may never see someone on the same level for years to come.

Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T.  And for you non-sports fans who don’t understand their acronyms, G.O.A.T. stands for “Greatest of all time”.  This isn’t a debate.  Never will be.  The proof is in the pudding. (or avocado ice cream).

Just look at his storybook life. The man is married to a smoking hot model, (who also happens to be one of the most famous and most successful supermodels of all time), has three beautiful children (2 with Giselle), a huge house, (or houses I should say), that are equipped with all the bells and whistles that any of us can only simply fantasize about, and a job that many of us now wish we could have the opportunity to perform.  He’s just the All-American guy.  He’s tall, handsome, rich and successful, which in America are statuses in which of those we despise.  Hating on Tom Brady is like hating on Captain America.  You just can’t do it.

He has 5 Super Bowl rings, and is currently closing in on number 6.  Six championship rings in ANY sport would be and IS an amazing accomplishment in itself, and only a couple of basketball hall of famers can currently call this feat their own.  But football is a much tougher sport to win championships in than basketball.  There are possessions in basketball where the star player never touches the ball.  In football, the quarterback touches the ball on EVERY single offensive play.  The window of error is so miniscule in comparison that a small mishap on any play can cost the entire team the game.  Yes, as fans we take for granted the level of skill it even takes a person to catch the ball from under center and then be ready to actually throw the ball downfield.  Or even the simple 3 or 5 step drop a quarterback has to make every play. (Not convinced it’s difficult? Try it at home when you have a minute.  Imagine the ball is under center and make believe you are a NFL QB. Say “hike”, and take 5 steps back as fast as you can.  Make sure you are looking up and not at your feet.  How long did it take you? Longer than 3 seconds? Guess what, your sacked.)  Then take into account being able to read the defense and make a split decision of where to throw the ball, all while being chased by the biggest and fastest players in the world.  And make sure you don’t mess up, because you have millions of fans watching worldwide whose actual levels of happiness depend on the outcome of your throw. And then you also have Bill Belichick’s death stare to worry about. Yikes.  It’s INSANE when you think about it, but Tom Brady makes it look EASY! (At 40 nevertheless!). When I’m 40 I hope I’ll just be able to run around and play a simple game of catch in the backyard with my future son. (Who will NOT be named Tom or Brady don’t worry)

This is where as a former collegiate athlete I strongly admire one of Tom Brady’s most underrated qualities as a player, his WORK ETHIC.  Tom Brady works harder than anyone else in football.  I don’t think anyone else comes close.  (Except the death stare guy). This work ethic and desire to be great doesn’t just happen overnight.  It burns deep in someone’s heart, especially an athlete’s heart, and tends to be unleashed when the odds are stacked against them.  This is and was no different for Brady.

He was drafted out of Michigan in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft.  Yes, the SIXTH round.  (There are only 7 rounds in the draft). Pick number 199.  198 players were selected before him, including six quarterbacks.  Do you think any of those quarterbacks had 1/10th the career that Brady had? Not even close.  But where he was chosen in the 2000 NFL draft helped set up a mindset for Tom that would elevate his game to the highest level, especially when it mattered.  Just look at last year.  Not just at the iconic Super Bowl game of his historic comeback from being down 28-3.  But the suspension of four games, the negativity of being accused of cheating, and having his entire legacy and integrity questioned for the world to see.  Many analysts and commentators thought this would tear down Brady, but it actually did the opposite.  It built him back up.  The “nobody wanted me at draft day” fire that continued to burn in his heart got hotter.  It motivated him to push his body, his mind, and his game even farther.  (Hence the avocado ice cream reference). At 39, he had one of the best seasons of his entire NFL career, only to cap off the greatest Super Bowl win in history.  And now at 40, he has no signs of slowing down, which to be honest, is quite scary (especially as a football fan of another team), but also downright motivating.

I think that’s why I admire Tom as much as I do.  He’s an inspiration, and every time he touches the field I can’t help but be thankful that I am able to witness his greatness.

In my last post, I wrote of how I wanted you to wake up the lion that was asleep in your heart.  Tom had awaken his a long time ago, and his success both on the field and in his personal life attribute to that.

So what I leave you with now is, when are you finally going to awaken yours?

(And just for the record, Go Eagles!)

(Shit. I can’t cheer for them either. Maybe the Super bowl will be a tie? Hey, “It can happen”. Boom. There’s the 90 movie reference!).