In December I will celebrate 15 years since I opened my business, Raining Faith Massage. I began at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy in December, 1999 and graduated from their 1,000 hour program two years worth of nights later. I endured another six months to garner an Associates Degree in Occupational Studies. After two and a half years I was ready to move on to work, for I’d had enough education and test taking.
Then the real education began! In this field, there is a saying that you can call yourself a Professional Massage Therapist after you have done 1,000 massages. I’m just doing a quick calculation with time lived abroad deducted but I’ve probably done 7,500 massages just since I began my business. That does not include a few years working for amateur and professional cycling teams in the 80’s and 90’s.
Now I have arrived at the point where I am in love with my profession. Just yesterday I worked on a set of twins that were 9 years old (they turned 10 today!). Tomorrow I will have a client that is 83 years old and I have a complete range representing every decade in between those three. I have the occasional professional athlete that I see, many recreational athletes and a community of wellness minded lovely people that I have developed amazing relationships with over the past fifteen years.
One thing I have realized is that my clients and I are aging together. I’m not yet an old man, but I am no longer a young one either. I hope to practice at my current pace for another fifteen years if my body continues to be strong and lithe. But what happens after that? I’m not so sure I could ever completely get out of this business. I love my clients too much and while I do cherish alone time I could not envision not doing massage at least a few days a week.
Some events of the past year have led me to begin to think more deeply about life, its past, the present and my future. A difficult aspect of my work is attrition of clients. There are the clients that move out of the area, yet the greater challenge are clients that pass away. Some are younger and taken by illness, others older. Each client teaches me a tremendous amount; about life, about my vocation, about themselves and about myself.
So if I practice for 30 years what becomes my legacy? It’s prompted me to think about that. Certainly I can be proud of working my best for my clients and doing well by them. But will that be all that I leave to my profession? Like many massage therapists, I tend to be isolated in my work and because at heart I am an introvert I partake of many activities in a solo fashion. There is nothing better than solitude, in my opinion, to see the bare soul of your own existence. The reflection can often be too very clear, revealing all the blemishes and scars that a life lived for five decades across a few continents can leave behind.
But even more so, life gives back a grateful nature and excitement for the time ahead. As I have joked with others, I feel that I am at a great age. I’m secure in who I am, I no longer feel the need to impress people, but I’m not so old that I’m farting in the grocery store aisle!
So as I prepare to celebrate 15 years in the massage industry here in the Denver metro area, I’m throwing a big party in December. I am blessed to have partners that I have worked with, donate some great prizes that we’ll be giving away between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ll run some special promotions on massages and give away massages as well. And I’ve begun thinking and dreaming about how I’ll leave my mark and contribution to my profession that hopefully will leave a positive impression. For that, I’m really excited, because it involves working with other massage therapists and helping them go from good to great, for I believe excellence is something never attained, but should always be strived for.
So the last quarter of 2016 will bring great things for my clients and the community. 2017 will be a year of hard work and a lot of time planning and preparing. 2018 will hopefully launch something pretty cool and exciting. Keep looking ahead, keep your eyes on your dreams and never, ever be afraid to live life fully and daringly. It’s worth the risk.