Those of you have been regular readers of this blog (thank you both) know I try to discuss subjects that affect typical practitioners. Today I will commit the typical blogger sin of self-indulgence and talk about myself. Well, not totally; after all, that’s what Facebook is for :). This weekend marks my 15th anniversary with ABMP. A traditional anniversary gift for the 15th is crystal; a “modern” 15th anniversary gift is a watch. Well, I don’t need any crystal and I recently bought a new running watch for the first time in 20 years, so I think I’m covered. A staff member asked if I was going to be getting anything for reaching the milestone; my answer was, “hopefully an invitation to come back next week.” I thought I’d use this as an opportunity for a little examination of how Les and the massage profession have changed, for better and worse, since September 1994. When I started with ABMP: ➢My wife and I had a 9-month old; he’s now 6’2” and about to get his driver’s license. Pray for us. He also has two younger brothers, ages 13 and 9. ➢The massage field had approximately 300-400 schools, and probably around 70,000-80,000 practitioners. Today? 1,560 schools and 280,000+ practitioners. ➢I was 170 pounds and training for a marathon. Today, 174, and my marathon training is on the shelf due to a gastroc strain. I need to give those four pounds back. ➢Nineteen states had enacted legislation that regulated massage therapists; today, that total is 43 states plus the District of Columbia. ➢I didn’t have a cell phone, and ABMP didn’t use email (even internally), let alone have a web site (that innovation would arrive in 1996). Not long after I started, I broached the subject of using the email that came with Windows for Workgroups, my supervisor at the time said, “What’s the point of email? We have voice mail.” Today? Well, I think that’s obvious. ➢ABMP members had an average of approximately 300 hours education; today, most have double those hours. ➢I had no prior knowledge of the massage field; in fact, I had never received a massage. Today? I am NCBTMB-certified, an occasional practitioner, have visited 300+ massage schools, and a regular massage receiver. Funny how things change. ➢I was the 9th employee, and ABMP had 11,000 members; today, we have a team of 43 and we are about to pass the 70,000 member mark. Thanks to all of you whose support and commitment made that happen. One thing that hasn’t changed since I started with ABMP in 1994? The passion massage and bodywork professionals have for their work. That is constant. And that is what makes working for you so much fun. Check back in 2024 for the next installment.