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Hello, my name is Matt Devine and to be honest my story is quite average. Some would even say boring. I had a normal childhood that to me was quite happy, with one exception, my father was an alcoholic. That said my father was a good man and I never felt not loved. In retrospect I think his drinking had more of an impact on me later in life but more on that to come. I was an active child and played hockey, soccer and baseball. In high school I became involved in martial arts and eventually found my was into high level combat sports where I excelled. It was at this time I had to make a decision to go university or pursue professional fighting. In the end I chose university.
Early on in my university career I became very involved in the party scene, it was like I was discovering a world I had not been privy to in my high school years. I was suddenly gaining popularity and this lead me into more and more partying. This is where my addictive personality kicked in and I became a heavy binge drinker. I would on average party 4 to 5 nights a week and this lifestyle eventually got me kicked out of university, not once but twice. I realized that as my friends began to graduate and move on in their lives that university was no longer fun, it was more like a hangover that lasted a full year. I decided to buckle down and work hard, although still a heavy drinker, until I eventually graduated from university.
With degree in hand I entered the professional world and excelled. I got my first job that relocated me to Grande Prairie, Alberta. For the first time I was making great money, was on my own and meeting a new group of fun people. The harder I worked, the more success I achieved and the more I partied. In addition to heavy drinking I was smoking and adopted a diet that was mainly comprised of fast foods. It was not long before I put on 100 lbs and was drinking heavily 3 to 4 times a week. Two years into my time in GP I woke up to find I had contracted chicken pox and on the visit to my doctor he took my blood pressure and was alarmed. I required immediate medial intervention with drugs to get it under control or I could experience a severe medical event. On several follow up visits which included a more detailed physical I was told I was 3 to 5 years away from having a major medical incident such as a stroke or a heart attack, either of which would most likely end my life. This is when I hit my first rock bottom and when I knew I needed to make serious changes in my life and thus began my pursuit of a more active, healthy lifestyle.
Fast forward 10 or so years and I was now in my early to mid forties and had managed to make great progress in my physical transformation. I had lost about 100lbs, was no longer a smoker, consumption of alcohol was much less frequent and I would say I was living a much healthier lifestyle. On top of this my professional career was soaring and I was now an independent consultant working with many major clients on exciting projects. I had it all, except for one thing, mentally I was crashing. By my late forties I was dealing with mental issues that I could not put my finger on, best described as an overwhelming feeling of grey. This lead me to committing career suicide and damaging many relationships. I was living in a mental firestorm, an epic mid life crisis. I realized I had lost meaning in my life and had no purpose. Making money and pursuing the next client meant nothing to me. I was physically fit but mentality broken. I had finally hit rock bottom #2 on a day when I went into work and basically, in a very unprofessional manner, derailed my career.
I had to repair myself, before I could even begin to repair any of my other relationships. There are a couple people that never gave up on me, even when I was not even close to being the best version of myself, and for that I am forever grateful. I consulted with mental health professionals that asked the questions I needed to dig deep into. What made me happy? What made me sad? What gave me joy? What made me hurt? Answering these questions for myself, helped me discover my purpose. I had the ability to marry my athleticism with raising money and awareness to charities that are important to me. I have a huge need to make life easier in some way for children. I hate to see a child hurting, especially if it is something I can help alleviate. In 2022 I decided that I could run from Jasper, Alberta to Canmore, Alberta, the equivalent of 7 marathons in 7 days. Close to $60,000 was raised for a local children’s charity. I made a difference in the lives of children, along with all the supporters and those donating, and it made a positive impact on my life. I now know that when people are living their best lives, they are more likely to give back to community. My purpose is to raise funds and awareness for charities while inspiring adults to take the steps towards their own personal transformation, whatever that may be. It can be any step, that moves you in to the light of a brighter tomorrow.
My purpose has never been clearer. On May 20th I will start cycling from Halifax. I will cycle across this great country, along with support riders along the way to bring awareness, volunteers and raise funds for You Can Ride 2, an organization that assists children with disabilities by removing barriers to riding a bike, something many of us take for granted. Not everybody wants to aspire to cycling long distances, but if by my example, 1 person gets off the sofa and starts to walk, jog, run, swim, skate, cycle or any other physical activity or seeks help with an addiction, I will be their loudest cheerleader! We are all in this together and together we are an unstoppable force!