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My unconventional path

 I remember it vividly. As a kid, I was in my basement conducting some new chemistry experiments, and a group of friends arrived - with one of them saying, "Tom's going to do better than any of us."


It was uncharacteristic of my friend, Jack, to give me any such accolade, but I was pleasantly surprised. He died last year, and the rest of that small group have also left this earth. After 78 years, I am still here.

As a runt of a kid, with some brain power - but little "conventional" drive - I envied most of my friends. I was a bit of a loner and not a diligent student. But I had a lot of interest in nature and the world around me. My home in Reading, Massachusetts was surrounded by woods, fields and a massive swamp. I loved the swamp! It teemed with life.

I went to college, married and graduated as a chemical/plastics engineer. But it wasn't for me. After several years, I left to take a temporary job as a Massachusetts Game Warden - leased an acre of water frontage on a remote lake in Western Maine for $150.00 per year - built a camp with no power tools - and took a job as a police officer in Pepperell, Massachusetts.

I rose to the rank of Lieutenant and retired after 20 years. A year later, I studied and became a Personal Trainer/Weight Management Consultant - eventually starting my own business, Advanced Fitness Systems.

I now write about the Boston Celtics and a few other subjects for which I have some knowledge and passion. I am proudest to call myself a "retired police lieutenant", but my decision to go into the fitness-and-health fields was critical. 

My other family members died at 19 (sister), 47 (mom) and 64 (dad and brother). I am the sole survivor. I learned much in 30 years of working with a few thousand clients, and that helped me keep fit and healthy enough to be around for my 9-year-old great grandson. 

My life path was anything but conventional. Some of my decisions could be termed "reckless", but in the end, they proved to be the correct ones. Despite battles with diseases that took my family members, I feel great, mentally and physically. In the words of Robert frost:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

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