The things you thought couldn’t change


I’ve been having problems with my eyes. I assumed it was because my vision was getting worse. This is a decent educated guess since the acknowledgement of my vision getting worse has occurred on an annual basis for almost 30 years. I’ve been having trouble with computer screens and print and such. So I figured I was getting to the bifocal/reading glasses stage of my life. This made me unhappy, obviously.

I’m cool with the gray hair. I’m cozy with the appearance of little wrinkles around my eyes and mouth. I’m managing the whole ‘harder to lose weight’ thing. I’ve been reality-slapped with the ‘men my age tend to not date women my age’ experience of singleness at 39. I know these things to be true. And none of them ruffle my feathers too much. But reading glasses? C’mon.

So I went to my Eye Guy. He did the exam. I waited for the news. I held my breath and he said, “I think your vision has improved. The contacts you have are over-correcting.”

Say what now? That can happen?

Yes. That can happen. It could be because my nutrition has improved dramatically since I saw him last. (My diet is no longer made up of food served to me through my car window.) Or it’s a weird fluke. But it happened. He gave me a lower prescription to try for a few days and it’s working well.

So there’s that.

Just over eleven years ago I was stuck in a little hell of employment, getting my soul destroyed daily at a retail pharmacy job. I needed to get out but I had no idea where to go. A series of events led me to a massage therapist. I asked questions, I checked out a school. I applied, interviewed, I enrolled.

Through most of the 18 month program I figured I would end up working at a spa or chiropractor’s or some place where I was an employee. I had zero interest in owning a business and handling all the hassle that goes along with that. Zero. I did not like to be in charge. I did not like handling extraneous paperwork or thinking about zoning permits and the buck stopping with me.

I interned a bit at a chiro’s office the last few months of massage school. I just followed him around and did some spot treatments here and there. My presence in the office was well-received and after a few days we cleaned out a room and I set up real massage space. I started giving massage at a student rate, people scheduled. Then scheduled again. And on the Sunday night when I graduated, I had a handful of clients in the book for the next week, all ready to start paying full price. I accidentally started a business. I liked the clients (and their money) and didn’t want to try to persuade them to see me at the spa I was working at part-time. So I just did the things I needed to do to get a massage business going.

I never thought it would result in me running a successful practice (for nine years now). Or moving to my own space and subletting out to two other therapists. And teaching business and marketing. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So there’s that.

I could put an “Anything is Possible” graphic here. Or maybe a deep thought about impermanence from a popular buddhist. But we tend to avoid that superfluous flowery shit over here on Young Thumbs.

I’ll leave you with this:
We have no idea what is possible.
Go build a massage business in an RV and drive from client to client.
Go teach massage to caretakers at an orphanage. In Vietnam.
Or score 3 bibs in the Boston Marathon to benefit the Massage Therapy Foundation.

Go do epic shit.


^ Here’s your inspiration. Courtesy of because he’s a badass. A generous badass.

PS- And the ‘men my age tend to not date women my age’ thing? I may have found an exception. 

13 thoughts on “The things you thought couldn’t change

  1. You were talking to me all through this writing. Thanks so much for the meaningful words. I finally have my own space and am very excited to have the time I very much needed to do my work. Congrats on the “exception” .

  2. I want to love this. I truly do. But…. I hate the perpetuation of the “don’t make a plan, just do it. Graduate, hang out your shingle, and the universe will provide.” style of going into business for yourself. I know that’s not what you did (‘m sure you marketed the heck out of yourself), but that’s how it reads. If it were that easy, you wouldn’t need to teach marketing. It’s not that the message of all things are possible is not true, but I wish this resonated more with me.

    • I see your point. This shit doesn’t happen by magic, and “So I just did the things I needed to do to get a massage business going,” could’ve been expanded to another 10,000 words on everything I’ve done to make that business successful.

      I don’t think I implied that this was easy, and I noted that I worked at the chiro’s for quite awhile before graduation, and that’s why I had a small clientele when I started. It wasn’t a gift from the universe. It was hustle.

      But that’s not the topic of this post. I have a shitton of business-building posts and hustle. Maybe that’s why your expectations weren’t met here. (Sometimes I need a break from spoon-feeding that shit to the masses and I just want to be a little more creative.)

      This one is about change. Surprise changed. Forced change. Conscious change.

      I stand by it. And I also appreciate that you keep me on my toes.

  3. I went self employed as a massage therapist following redundancy at 40. Best,thing, ever. I work with original thinkers in a practice owned by the a massage hero. Up until that point I was volunteering massage for charity, and family. I’m now doing the job I should be doing. My colleague forwarded this article to me. Thank you. Hello from Glasgow, Scotland.

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