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“What did you do to yourself?” asked the doctor in a bit of disbelief. The date was November 4th, and I was sitting in Zen’s Medical Centre. My leg was swollen, and I was severely dehydrated. The last 48 hours had been fun to say to say the least.

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When I was 20, I thought I would finish up college, get a good paying corporate job, marry my girlfriend, work 40 years, have 3 children, and then retire.

That was my plan. Here was my reality.

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If only…

I say this all the time. A lot of my twenties have been spent living in a dream world where my mind plays out scenarios I wish I was experiencing in real life.

I’ll sit there at the cusp of a potentially awesome situation thinking about how it would go if I acted one particular way. The problem is — I rarely act on the situation I imagine.

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It’s a typical Monday morning at REI. I have just put on my green vest and made my way to the sales floor where today I will be working in the footwear department. It is 9 am and the doors have just opened. The small crowd that was once gathering outside immediately barrels their way to footwear. Consisting of mostly older women, the majority cluster around the casual shoes area. Unfortunately it is the first day of a sale, and that means larger crowds. Most are eager to use their 20% off coupons.

With apprehension, I walk out of the backroom and am bombarded with the most dreaded question in footwear, “Can I have a 7 and a 7 ½ in these shoes?”

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2013 was the worst year of my life. I don’t like to admit it, but I was probably depressed. I didn’t like the situation I was in, the job I was working, or the place I was living. I don’t think I liked anything. I was miserable and miserable to be around. I blamed the world and hated it at the same time.

I knew a dramatic change was the only thing that would get me out of my rut. So I took a big risk in 2014 and the payout was beyond measure. It wasn’t a financial success (far from it actually), and I didn’t find the love of my life or any sense of purpose.

But I did discover 13 things (there are probably more – I just haven’t realized them all yet) that changed me. Here we go…

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