Back in 2008, I was working on an IT consulting project at an insurance company in Atlanta, Georgia. I had taken the elevator downstairs to get a coffee and a quick smoke. Just out of a drama-filled, five year marriage, I was in terrible physical, mental, and spiritual condition.
I finished my cigarette and crammed the front of my shirt back into my pants. When you’ve got a belly, you have to buy longer dress shirts, and it’s a serious pain to keep them tucked in. My poor physical condition was a stark reminder of the perils of sedentary life–I had traded my mountain bike and climbing gear for an addiction that had almost killed me and eighty-plus hours a week sitting at my computer.
A brief flash of inspiration charged through me. Instead of taking the elevator, I would start anew by climbing the stairs back to my desk on the fourth floor. I tossed my cigarettes in the trash, and went looking for the stairs. Two flights up, I stopped to catch my breath, nearly passing out when I leaned forward to brace myself on my knees.
I was 33 years old and I couldn’t walk up two flights of steps. Who had I become?
Turns out I didn’t know because I didn’t know who I was to begin with, something that took me a decade to realize.
This is the story of my journey of self-discovery.