5 by 5, Rumination on a Milestone

Five years are both a blip and a long time in a lifetime.  Five years ago, today on my Birthday I was not in a good way.  Carrying way too much weight and way too much stress, I needed to change quick.  5 years later I am healthier, happier and looking forward to my next milestone Birthday.  To provide some insight into the past and plans for the future, I titled this blog 5 by 5.  I will discuss 5 things that I am thankful for in the last five years and five things that I will do in the next five.  An alternate title could be 55, Still Alive and Starting to Thrive.

What has helped me to thrive in these last five years as I turned on to a healthier and happier existence? The following are the five things that helped me to shed over 170 lbs. and a lot of angst and anger.


  1. Health – Five years ago I had some scary moments. I wrote about one of them on my first blog but another one really stands out.  My son was just nominated for homecoming king on his Senior Year.  I had to walk on the field and got to the stadium late coming from work winded and a little dehydrated.  I started to move with the line of parents and nominees and my legs got an incredible cramp.  I could barely move without my calves seizing up.  Luckily after 5 minutes of stretching, I was able to hobble with he and my wife on the field but it was a close call.  From that point on I swore never again.  I am proud to say that in the intervening 5 years I got my health back.  I walked 50 miles in one day and did 4 hours consecutive spinning as two examples of my improved health. Here is a picture of that event.

    Homecoming picture
    Nearly missed homecoming
  2. Family – I could not have got back to the future without a lot of help from my family. Starting with my wife and children, everyone has been extremely supportive.  Colette would ask to go on long hikes with me, clean the cabinets of all my transgressions, and hide her favorite – chocolate!  My kids all gave me support and actually let me put out a lot of my corny Facebook posts and liked them!  Also, my siblings and in-laws really helped.  In particular, my sister in law Shari created a fitness page and activities that helped us all progress.  Lastly, our German exchange student Annika, who I consider part of our family, went on hikes with my wife and I and encouraged my healthy eating (except for pizza night)!
  3. Friends – Both old and new friends really helped me. My friends at work walked with me, encouraged me and stood by me.  I will never forget how many of them walked with me during the 50 miles walk in honor of Veterans – some with children in strollers!  I also made new friends that I will keep for a lifetime and never forget.  My Weight Watcher friends at Round Rock on Saturdays cried with me, lifted me up when I was down, and gave me ideas and inspiration as I moved to my goals.
  4. Work – I will never forget how Dave McCurley, my boss at work, stood by me and got me a life coach that encouraged me to get healthy first and foremost. Then Accenture started Accenture Active and allowed me to be 1 of 3 Accenture Managing Director journeyers.  That program both with a discount initially to Weight Watchers and later with its support mechanism with Jiff helped make weight loss fun!
  5. Heroes and Mentors – Throughout the last five years I have drawn on heroes and mentors for inspiration. Julie my Weight Watchers lead inspired and mentored me with weekly meetings.  I would have not made it without my Life Coach –  who drove me to seek the medical help that I needed.  She worked on my health first prior to work.

I have accomplished a lot in the last five years!  But the next five years look even better.  Here are the goals for which I strive!


  1. I plan on writing a book or two. The book I long to write is a memoir chiefly of my Dad, Mom and family.  It will be a half Hillbilly Elegy and half Bruce Springsteen song.  It will follow the life and times of Don Grier, Sr.  Big D.  I already have a title – 15 Minutes from Palestine And I am Coming Home.  It will be about my Dad’s journey from a Texas kid picking cotton to Steelworker Union man, and then boss.   Through it we will see the changes to our nation.  Palestine is a bit of a play on words.  My Dad passed away on his ranch in Slocum Texas which is 15 minutes from Palestine, Texas.  But what he taught me was Holy  – hence the reference to the Holy land (And a little “Angel with One Wing in the Fire”).  To this end, I have been taking courses with my daughter at Austin Writer’s Group and keep blogging until done.
  2. Start easing into my second act which I have given the acronym – CRAFT. It stands for Coach, Religious, Author, Friend, Teacher.  I always wanted to be these five things.  Now, I am going to figure out how to blend the five as a second act either at my current company or as a professor.  I want to mentor and not mangle as unfortunately I sometimes have done in the past.
  3. Which leads me to number 3, becoming more kind. I have made the initial baby steps toward a kinder and gentler Don but I intend to take it to another level.  I will continue journaling (read about it here Feed your soul, heal your body ) and learn how to help others.
  4. I want to take a trip to the holy sites in Europe and the Mid-East. In addition. I want to visit Germany and visit the place that could nurture such a great person as our exchange student Annika.
  5. The last and most important thing is I want to shift focus outward and help others. God has given me a gift and a second chance with a healthier life.  I want to pass this on with others that our struggling with their weight.

So, there you have it.  The Double Nickle is a great place to be in your life.  I will keep you up to date on the progress as I progress to my next milestone.

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