I cannot think of a better moment than October (Physical Therapy Month) to write my story.
So, why did I choose Physical Therapy and how did I end up all the way here from Italy?
When I was living in Italy (what I call “My Previous Life) I stopped school right after high school and went directly to work as manual worker for a company that did special electro-chemical treatments on stainless steel and working with no AC or heat. Think about Northern Italian weather: hot during summer, cold during winter. Born and raised in a small town of barely 1000 souls, I was feeling the need of fresh air: small trips to Paris and Scotland really increased my need and urgency for fresh air and new beginnings. But how do I do that? What do I do? Where do I even start? Dreaming is easy, doing something about it is the scary part!
Summer/Autumn 2008 is when the opportunity happened. My friend Mauro had a severe motorcycle accident 2 years prior and Marta (his mother) was taking him to the USA for Intensive Physical Therapy. “Ivan, Mauro and I are going to the US in a few months. Would you like to come and help me out? We leave March and stay 5-6 months?” I was like whhaaatt? 5-6 months? What about work? What about home? What about my girlfriend? The week after I was having a meeting with my boss: “I’m sorry, I going to the US for 6 months, I loved working here, but I am quitting.” They loved me so much they were willing to keep my job open for all those months but no, I was determined and bold…. and stupid all at once and I refused the offer and decided to jump in the unknown full in.
February 28, 2009 is when I landed to the Dreamland for the first time. Three rural people that did not speak a word of English yet adventurous and eager to make the best out of it. Mauro had a very intense week schedule at therapy: 4 hours/day of PT, speech, acupuncture, HBOT… a full workday and we were all exhausted at night. I spent 6 months, 20 hours/week assisting Mauro’s therapist and admiring the love and commitment towards helping him to get a better life.
Those 6 months created a huge shift in me. I realized I was meant to do more than what I’ve been doing. I was determined to move to the States, go to school and become one of those therapists that helped Mauro. “Oh, c’mon, don’t be stupid” was my mom’s answer. She soon realized I was serious about it and she fully supported me into creating the dream life I wanted. The next 4 years would be hard and stressful: a 27 years old guy going to college and study in a different language with no money and no job. I did it though, I had the enormous help and support of my new American family and in May 2014 I finally graduated from college with a PTA degree.
The best part? I started working right away for the same Physical Therapy company where my friend Mauro went for his therapy!
My message to you? Never stop dreaming, never settle for mediocre. Dream big and be uncomfortable, that’s the only way to achieve great results in your life! …. AND please, GET YOUR BODY CHECKED at least once a month to make sure your body is in sync, you only get one and it gets to last as long as you!