“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.” (Lewis). I remember the day like it was yesterday June 10, 2011 was the day that my life would change. It was the day after Graduation, and reality started to sink in. My entire life was always set up for me, go to school and then basketball. What was I supposed to do now? I was lost like an animal trying to find their way home. I did not get any offers to Universities, and had no idea what community college I wanted to attend to. To me it felt like my life was falling apart. I questioned what happiness was, and I needed to learn how to be happy again.

            That summer was not getting any better after graduation, I missed playing basketball. Basketball was like having love for a baby, I had played the sport since I was four years old and also watched my father coach. I was genuinely expecting to get an offer from a college, I worked my entire life for that. Since basketball was no longer an option and school was a mystery, I had no other choice but start looking for jobs. I did however find a job, but that made my depression even worse. I would get bullied at my work like a praying mantis stalking its prey. On top of being bullied I was on a medication that made my depression worse and gave me intense anxiety attacks. With my depression, I started to gain weight, a lot of weight. I was always thin growing up due to sports, so when the weight gain started happening I had no idea what to do.

            My family was really concerned about how fast I was gaining weight, in two months I gained 78 pounds. Went from 132 pounds to 210 pounds, which only increased my depression and anxiety. I was getting over how my life was going, one bad thing to the next and how nothing was getting better. There were times I just was ready to leave this world. My depression was like I  was left drowning in a pool. One day, one of our family friends saw the marking on my arm and had warned my parents. My mom pulled me aside and asked, “What are these?” I was trying to be smart and replied, “What are you talking about?” she gave me that mother look that was the serious face, the one that they have when we are lying and they know it. So, I finally caved in and told her, “I am not happy with my life and the pain makes me feel better.” The look of fear and gloom that came to her face made me feel so disgusted and discontent with myself. After she had a long conversation with my father, they both came back and gave me two options. Either, I go to therapy, or try working things out (meaning talk) with them that way I did not feel like I was alone. I chose to go with option two, because I was not comfortable talking to a random stranger about my problems. Even though I was opening up to my parents about what has happening in my life I still felt depressed and isolated from society as a whole.

            One day at work this guy came in, who worked at La Fitness, and had asked “Hey, my name is Bret I am the General Manager of La Fitness, have you ever used a guest pass with us?” I politely said “No, I have not. Is it free?”  He explained how the process worked, “Yes, it is free. All you have to do is come in with your ID and sign a waiver then you are all set to use the gym for a full week.” After he said it was free and that I would get a week to use it I said, “Thank you! I will give it a try.” So later that day I drove over to La Fitness, and got my guest pass activated. They were so nice there, made me feel so welcomed after hearing how insecure I was. After my week trail ended I started to realize how considerable happier I was getting. I did not realize that working out would relieve the isolation I was feeling. I actually was starting to feel I was part of something. I went up to Bret and had asked him the cost of memberships. He started going over the prices and I was unsure what to do, my mom always told me “Gyms are scams and only want to take your money.” So, what did I do? I had her meet me at La Fitness and we finally came to an agreement on a membership price. Once you get started with La Fitness they give their members a free training session. Which for me was perfect because I had no idea what I was doing inside the gym. So, the following day was my first training session, we went over my goals as well as my body composition. He showed me a few of the machines and how to use them, in addition to some body weight exercises. As we were walking back to the desk I realized that I would not be able to do this on my own. Next thing you know I am signing a signature pad and left with purchasing personal training.

            I went through a full year with a personal trainer and that had to been the best decision of my life. At the end of the year I lost the 78 pounds I gained. I became in the best shape of my entire life! I never had felt so confident and happy in a long time. I continued to follow the program my trainer gave me and kept the weight off. I started to smile more and wear fitting clothes. I would go out a lot more with friends and family, and actually enjoy it. That’s when I soon realized that I was actually in my cheerful place. I had a feeling my life was going to start changing for the better. I ended up registering for Chaffey college and took some online courses and had great hours for work.

            I am blessed that I was able to change my life around, from being so disheartened that I was willing to take my life, to losing weight that I gained and being happier than I have been in a long time. Even though I did not have basketball in my life I felt like the gym replaced that void basketball had left behind. My happiness became love and I was like a kid in a toy store again.