Tonight I’m pondering the question “At what point does a series of events in your life become a sign?” I think I’ve reached a crossroads – I need to make some definitive decisions about the direction of my life.

Some years ago, I became ill while in the process of buying my first rental property. I thought it was stress that was making me nauseous. A chance conversation with a co-worker led me to check out the beautiful Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica as a possible destressing getaway. While scanning their upcoming programs, it practically leapt off the page: a week-long retreat based on the practices of The Secret, a book I was currently reading! As the rooms were close to full, a quick decision was necessary.

Mountains

The early morning view from my room’s balcony

It was at that retreat in Costa Rica that I was introduced to IntenSati, a powerful program of affirmations with high-intensity interval training mixed with martial arts, dance, and yoga. It spoke to my soul. I went there knowing no one, and came away with some wonderful new friends, and a whole new outlook on my own spiritual nature.

Life returned to normal. It turned out that the cause of my illness was a bad batch of vitamins. Did I regret the result of poor quality control? Hell, no! I now think it was meant to push me along onto a path that I’m now just coming to realize.

In the intervening years, I’ve faced new challenges to my emotional, physical, and mental health. I’ve been sensitive to cold my entire life, and it suddenly got drastically worse. My hair started falling out. I started gaining weight. I wondered if I was depressed. Things that I had once taken pleasure from, I started to avoid. I became more and more withdrawn and irritable.

It was my hairstylist, dealing with gobs of my hair in her sink’s drain, that finally raised the spectre of hypothyroidism. I brought it up with my doctor and she did some bloodwork. No, your TSH is in the normal range. Oh, how I’ve come to rage at those words! I started reading and questioning, but could make no headway.

I decided to tackle something within my control – my weight and fitness, hoping it might lift some of the cloud I was dragged down by. But exercising bored me. I reached out to one of my Costa Rican cohorts – Tiffany Knight. She was now a fitness powerhouse, and a coach for Beachbody products. What did she recommend? Based on her suggestions, I came to a decision to take on P90X.

Before and after P90X

Before and after P90X

I surprised myself by sticking it out for the full three months, only missing about eight days, mostly due to illness, not laziness. I drank Shakeology most days (great stuff!). I lost 20 lbs – woot! And for the first time in my life, I had abs. I went on to do Brazil Butt Lift (what a hoot! and tough – I still can’t figure out some of the dance steps), but crashed on TurboFire. I was just so tired.

In the past two years, I’ve seen eight doctors, including an internist, endocrinologist, and neurologist. All say there’s nothing wrong with me. So why do I feel exhausted and miserable? (“Would you like to talk to a psychiatrist?”) I pushed and pushed and dug deeper, educating myself on the functions of the thyroid and adrenals, reached out to a naturopath, had allergy testing and changed my diet. I soon knew more about endocrinology than the family doctors I consulted with. I started working with a life coach. And finally, I found a functional medicine doctor who declared me to be hypothyroid, and just this past week, prescribed natural thyroid hormone replacement.

Through all of this, I’ve become so much more greatly aware of the sheer importance of diet and exercise. I’m cooking for myself instead of eating out (a feat in itself, that). I would like to exercise, but I’m still so tired, hoping that taking thyroid hormone will resolve some of that.

But though the path is not straight, I see how I’ve come to this exact moment due to a fateful decision to go to Costa Rica. I met inspiring people – Patricia Morena, creator of IntenSati, and her now-wife, Kellen Mori. Via Patricia, I hooked up with Molly Suggs of the Handel Group for life coaching. Tiffany Knight, now my Beachbody coach. Tiffany is also a successful graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, an online school for training health coaches.

So, my crossroad. I’ve been in the IT industry for 14+ years, and growing to despise it more all the time, particularly my current job. I may be at a point where my boss decides that my job is no longer relevant. I’m looking for a new job, but with little enthusiasm. So why not change career completely?

This is what I’m pondering. Are all of these events banging me over the head? Could I be a successful health coach? I’m discovering a passion for healthy living. I’m not an expert by any means, but I think I could could take a stab at learning. My one coaching success to date? Convincing a friend to drastically reduce soda intake. She still grumbles about it.

A change like this would require so many new skills, mostly social! That discussion will be a future post.