Probably a week or two back, it hit me that my kiddo is four… almost five. School, social life, development, personality… even this weird “teenage” lackadaisical attitude he’s adopted when he doesn’t want to do a chore or what have you… it was weird that he turned from four to pre-teen overnight. And then, it really hit me…. this, is his childhood… right now, and, there’s not a moment to waste!
When you think about growing up, what comes to mind? Did you have a good childhood? Were your parents loving? Supportive? How about siblings? Friends? Activities? How were the memories? Good? Bad? Awful? Wonderful?
There’s a good chance its a big mixture of it. And, there’s also a good chance that, looking back… there’s a lot that everyone wishes their childhood could’ve improved upon. That, is the interesting thing… we can’t control our childhood. It is. We’re subject to the wills and designs of other people’s choices far more than we are our own… that is, until we “grow up.”
The thing is, these formative years are precious…. and, highly undervalued, no matter how many times you hear people say, “Cherish these moments.” and, that… “They grow up sooooo fast!”
Still… do we truly do follow said advise?
Again… it hit me.
I started this Daddy In The Raw… work at home dad lifestyle… which meant exchanging stable, well paying, good opportunities within the corporate sectors type job and lifestyle for….. the highly variant, high risk – high rewards based, entrepreneur life — SO THAT, I can spend as much wonder loving time with my family. THESE are the years. THESE are the moments. THESE are the times to relish and spoil yourself with. When these moments are gone, they are gone. It never comes back.
You DON’T know how tomorrow will unfold. You have today. What a waste, if you blindly sacrifice today… and, tomorrow doesn’t come… or, worse: isn’t what you suffered it to be.
So… it kept hitting me. This, is his childhood. This is one of the greatest gifts I can give him… that he’s loved, nurtured, prepared, trained, forged, and strengthened to meet the world… and, to become a person that contributes to those around him.
And… I kept on thinking and it kept hitting me… and, I realized in those moments…. I think, we’re okay…. I actually think we’re okay… I looked back on my meager Instagram posting and privately saved Snapchat stories….. and, the snippets below represent an over arching emotional theme of Nathan’s childhood experience.
Beyond this, he spends an amazing amount of time with his mom… and, not to even say that my wife is a wonder-mom and hero-wife….. it’s just that they are so cute together and I can’t get enough of them. I just can’t…. I can’t handle the love and the purpose of why I’m on this journey.
So… after it was done hitting me, the moment passed and the realization came to pass…
Culminating on Nathan getting a consistent high fever… throwing up all in our bed, to which, the sweetheart kept apologizing for it… AND, our guest bathroom backed up with blackwater (aka sewage) due to the mainline needing clearance… so, I had to hand battle all that with a small trashcan as a bucket… with service master folks also detailing out far later that much needs repair and replacement… none of which could be done until the day after New Years day… yeeaaaaaaaap.
Well, tonight, we decided to keep things VERY chill. It was a welcome change. We slept in… finally. We had Japanese takeout; having Japanese food for New Year Eve had become a serendipitous tradition for this time of year… kinda just happened. We binge watched a bunch of I Love Lucy on Amazon Prime… I made some steak. Kiddo, yet again, had waaaay too much screen time.
And, we’re still coughing and sputtering the left over drainage factors of having the plague… I mean flu…. no, I mean plague.
HOWEVER… my wife and I looked back on this Christmas and New Years season.
To be honest, I’m usually Mr. Positive. In fact, I even won “Mr. Encouragement” back in college. Pretty much everyone knows me as a very positive, optimistic, upbeat kind of guy… it’s hard to get me down and I usually can find the silver lining… behind any cloud… even if that cloud happens to be come from a cyclone.
Nevertheless, if I’m speaking/typing honestly… this one had me down. I found myself getting to that point where I just couldn’t take it anymore.
If one more thing were to happen, I would’ve just cracked.
I wanted my Christmas. I wanted my New Years.
Then… we looked back. And, it really wasn’t all that bad.
Some Self Introspective… Perspective???
The immediate time surrounding Christmas and New Years may not have been as traditionally festive, but… there’s a lot we did.
We decorated the house, more so than every before…. just a tragedy that we were the only ones to enjoy it as we got so sick as we did.
We took Nathan ice skating for the first time. He LOVED it… sitting on that seal ice skate helper thing… ridiculous and amazing.
We went to Disneyland twice and really soaked in the holiday ambiance.
Ultimately, while we’re “sick”… we still have our health. I’ve seen an alarming amount of posts of folks sharing how seriously bad news (the type that has a terminal ending) has been unveiled during this time… making the flu, honestly, while miserable… is something one can totally bear with.
I’m a part of two, successful, startup companies — one digital, one brick-and-mortar… both which I get to work, virtually, from home.
We live in the best city in the world.
Our kiddo is a happy, sweet-hearted, considerate four year old… even though he’s bratty from time to time… and, aren’t they all?
I mean… I keep listing things and realizing…… sure, we had a string of bad days… even a string of bad weeks. But, all in all, 2017 was much better than 2016. In fact, 2017 had a lot of wins that probably would just keep this blog post running on and on… and, on… and…… on.
So, how about some goals, dreams, and hopes???
2018 Goals, Dreams, and Hopes
So, without any filtering or organization… here they are:
Fitness — I’ve signed up for an exciting 6 week transformation challenge. I’ve never done anything like this before and honestly, did this for a few reasons (1) accountability, (2) challenge, and (3) to help improve my martial arts training… speaking of…
Martial Arts — Having added Muay Thai training to my pursuits for 2017, I’ve unfortunately and essentially put BJJ on the back burner. For 2018, I hope to ramp up the training for both. If I keep to it, I hope to get a Yellow Arm band ranking for Muay Thai before 18 months of training (which lands me around Oct 2018, or so?) -AND- I’m hoping to really explore no-gi BJJ as I develop in this blue belt phase, and really establish a foundation on my game. I’ve always felt a slower learner of BJJ… still, it’s not about when you “get there,” it’s about the fact you’re on that journey.
Business — The hope is that UpDoc, Inc will hit an incredible stride this year on multiple fronts, becoming the influencer, incubator, influencer brand I know it can be. I also hope that Recharge will be positioned for franchise standards by mid-end of this 2018, with an expansion into San Diego for 2019.
Family — 2017 was a re-centering on purpose… one of our goals was to spend much more quality time together as a family and I know we accomplished it in the most precious of ways. For 2018, I want to hold this value point and get into family rhythms in addition to the impromptu style that is the Fung family… I want a certain regularity, tradition, and/or identity to be additionally established… you can never love on your family enough and I never want to lose sight of that.
Mentorship — The Pathfinders mentorship program I founded had its 1st year in 2017. I hope to grow this into a budding community where it becomes a place where mentors of mentors can be groomed, molded, and set free upon the world.
Creativity and Content — Q4 of 2017 proved to be so busy that I really slacked on blogging, broadcasting, and the like. I want to recommit to this for 2018, perhaps actually getting regular Relate In Eight content out there… maybe even doing a regular live broadcast to help businesses build their brands.
Annnnd… I think that’s it for now…. I’m just typing on the fly since I have a moment to do so. In all cases….
2018. I’m ready for you. I pray you hold treasures of achievement, goals, and pleasant surprises all year.
Our family has always had an “out of town” tradition for Christmas. This year, we decided to stay in town. Why? Well, first, we wanted to attend our church candle light service. 2nd, we wanted to rest. 3rd, we wanted to spend some time with the family in town. 4th, we wanted to serve at our church service; as there would be three services and we could serve at a couple to bless others who would like to attend. 5th, we were hoping to visit the local Christmas lights neighborhoods. 6th, we wanted to have a San Diego family dinner. 7th, I was getting an espresso maker… and, wanted to have endless cups of coffee. 8th… well, you get the picture. We wanted to be home 🙂
WELL!… things didn’t go as planned.
Five days before Christmas, I felt myself getting sick. You know, that funny feeling in your sinuses and with a tiny little knot in your throat… the type you think a little extra sleep, hydration, and vitamin C… just might be able to beat back, despite what sciences you know such a maneuver contradicts.
Well… I got sick. And, it was a full blown flu. What was alarming was that my wife ended up sharing with me this article that flu incidences have spiked this season in our town, and not in a wonderful life giving way… at least, not towards humans. Quite the opposite.
Well, I can tell you it was terrible. I had a fever for 48 hours and broke the fever through 3 huge sweats in the middle of the night that I had to change my shirt each time. It was actually impressive. That, along with the usual muscle aches and laying around in bed too much, did not help. Still, I was in good spirits… even if my body didn’t agree.
My wife as amazing. She picked up all the slack, got kiddo out of the house to give me some rest time. Then, sadly… she got sick. Really sick. Sick to her stomach sick. The day I broke the fever, I went from being sick to switching roles with her… trying to nurse her back to health.
It was this same day (Christmas Eve) that I ran out to hopefully redeem things… I grabbed what needed to be had to make a Christmas Eve ham dinner. I made that, French Onion soup, and butter shallot fingerling potatoes.
Everyone was too sick and I only had a few bites. LOL!
Just as I thought we were getting a breather, my wife got worse. I had to contact my family and we all decided to call off Christmas dinner… my sister and her family were also sick; plus, we didn’t want to get the grandparents sick.
Well… thanks to all this mayhem, we gave Nathan waaaaaaay too much screen time (#parentingfail)… if anything, just some respite from the biological onslaught, going on in our own bodies. In fact, he’s having screen time now. Ha!
OH, did I mention he woke up sick with a cough and stuffy nose??? He’s a champ though and is in awesome moods. Heh, he can’t wait to open presents; but, we’re holding strong until mommy wakes up from a much needed sleep in.
So… we didn’t get to have Christmas Eve dinner. We’re all sick. We won’t be having a big family Christmas meal. We didn’t get to attend candle light, nor help out for the services at church. And, looking back… it didn’t seem like all that bad happened and the experience was truly isolated.
AND… that’s exactly the point.
Driving back from the store to make Christmas Eve ham dinner…. I was overcome with thankfulness and warm emotion.
I was thankful. Blessed. Gracious that I have so very much.
We may be sick, but we have our health. Plans may have not gone the way we thought it would, but it’s still Christmas morning… it’s beautiful and we’re together as a family.
And… unlike in our early years of marriage, I didn’t have to go into the office, clinic, or hospital to work holiday hours. I’m my own boss now…. lol, which means: I have some catch up work to do since Christmas falls on Monday (today)… and, I’ll need to make sure all the deliverables and company operations are in order sometime tonight or super early tomorrow to make up for time zone discrepancies.
ALL TO SAY…
Christmas is still my very favorite season of the year. I love everything about it. I love it so much that I’d be listening to Christmas music far before Thanksgiving with lights up before even Halloween. This Christmas didn’t go the way we thought it would have… but, other than the physical discomfort of being ill… there’s nothing I’d change about it. It’s even in this less than convenient times in life that I sit still to remember how good I’ve got it.
And, the Liberty to continue chasing my dreams.
PS. If there are crazy grammatical, autocorrect, or other types of typing errors… I’m just going to leave them in. There are other, more important things to attend to, today 😉
Well… due to life in general, looks like my poor dad blog has turned into a quarterly’ish thing. Nevertheless, I must confess I think about writing here a lot. So, I decided to turn thinking into action. FIRST, a sidetrack — Check out this One Wave Surf Video I made with my GoPro!
But, now… on to the actual topic. I was thinking earlier about what I wanted Nathan to know… what I wish *I* knew before I turned twenty years old. It’s so funny, before… I’d even say, early 30s, people tend to be so in their own brains they lose perspective of life, entirely… everything is inflammed, high tension, out of control… everything matters waaaaay too much. So, I sat down to think of what I wanted my kid to know via what I wish I knew before I turned 20… written as a letter to my son.
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Turned 20
1. Dance more.
Dancing was something that wasn’t much part of my childhood until a transformative arcade (yes, I hail from those days) game came out — Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). This was the machine I fell in love with:
I got really good at it… was able to do break dance tricks, jump on and over the rails, ninja run up the screen… I even got invited to a DDR tournament, LOL! Sadly, I wigged out at the end… but, what I learned from all this and my own dance revolution is that I love to dance. It’s one of the most joyous and ridiculous ways of self expression. It’s a great way to let loose, it’s wonderful exercise, and it’s a perfect way of gaining self confidence.
The best thing about this: Nathan, you love to dance! You’ve always loved to dance and we still dance like sillies when we put on any type of music — period.
Life lesson #1: Dance more. You’ll be happier for it!
2. Be confident; everyone is just as insecure.
It’s funny how insecure people are, period — especially before the age of 20, people mask insecurities through overcompensating, hiding, acting certain ways, trying to fit in with certain groups, creating their own groups… the list goes on and on. The thing of it is, everyone is trying to figure themselves out — and, this doesn’t end. There’s thing thing called Imposter Syndrome where even the most achieving individuals tend to see themselves as a fraud — I definitely suffer from this… from time to time… the good thing is, your mother is there to smack sense back into me 😉
In any case, be confident. You do you, and anyone who thinks otherwise is merely projecting their own insecurities. Confidence will catapult you above and beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary.
3. Pursue what you love.
For too many generations, people have followed what they thought “should be done,” or “is the way things are,” or “is the thing to do” — and, so, they turn this into their life guiding mantra — pure foolishness.
Doing things for the sake of doing them, with no clear personal reason but for historical repetitiveness dooms you to the same fates of those before you.
If you wish to have more in life, pursue what you love. Pursue what impassions you, drives you to be more of a person — day in, day out. This can be on a professional level, personal level, emotional level, intellectual level, physical level, and spiritual level. Regardless of the dimension, just pursue the things you love. I promise you, this will lead to much success in life.
4. Grow in self awareness… and, acceptance.
It’s easy for people under 20 to chase all sorts of things in some self hidden effort to find ways to be more accepting of themselves. First, most people under 20 just aren’t self aware — I certainly wasn’t, though probably the extreme of this case. For me, young kid… I was really into girls and pursued any semblance of a relationship, regardless of health or outcome. That was dumb.
I felt, at the time, that relationships were the answer to my life — if someone would accept me, then I could accept myself. Again… foolishness.
Rather, what I should’ve been doing was working on my self awareness… understanding myself, what motivates me, what detracts me… and, most importantly, growing in self worth through self acceptance.
5. Work on doing you, not on what others expect you to do.
So often, we try to please others in a related way to being accepting of ourselves. Though, this piece of wisdom is less about introspection and more about external motivation.
If you center your life on the expectations of others, you’ll find that your life becomes meaningful to others… and, meaningless to yourself. Nothing could be more tragic.
Nathan, I want you to work on doing you — be who you are and be better, every single day. Don’t work on other people’s expectations; not to reject their advice or wisdom, but expect more of yourself and use other people’s expectations as guidelines of options in your life. This is how you travel that road of becoming who you are meant to be.
6. Be mentally tough.
Being mentally tough is something I feel I was never good at. I always felt I gave up too early when I was younger… frustration came easy, perseverance was never in close grasp. This thing called grit — it allows you to sustain, to power through, to endure what most would never consider subjecting themselves to.
I want you to learn this: If your mind is tough, your struggles will become easier.
7. Be physically tough.
Sports, fitness, and intestinal fortitude… while in parallel with being mentally tough, there’s an element of being physically tough, beyond strong — that helps with life in general. I was always the slowest runner, the first to give up on pull ups, crunches, and push ups… while much of this still relates to being mentally tough, there is a science to being physically tough.
I want you to train. I want you to exercise. I want you to compete, not with a championship or trophy in mind — I want you to push yourself because that is how you become a better man.
So, whether you choose to express this via martial arts, surfing, sports, athleticism, running, climbing… whatever the case may be, do it with intentional excellence. Your health will benefit from this immensely throughout your life and things that seem difficult for others will seem easy for you.
8. Learn to serve.
Son — be the first in, last out; first to offer food to others, last to partake and eat. Being a servant leader means that your actions speak louder than your words; it means that your words commit to action; it means that you do what you say, say what you do, and seek to fulfill the needs of others before they know they even exist.
Learning to serve prepares you for leadership. It prepares you because you first must learn to follow, if you are to lead. Now, I’m not saying you have to become a leader. What I am saying is that I want you to learn about what it means to be a leader — this is how you can decide upon taking up the mantle, should the time and opportunity come to pass.
Most importantly, learning to serve will make you a better teammate. Individuals may play, but teams win.
9. Pursue learning, not schooling.
Schooling doesn’t always equate to learning; the accumulation of knowledge doesn’t yield the formation of successful action in life.
A good education and the educational system are not the same thing. I grew up in a time when there were a lot of cross-cultural muddied waters when it came to the pursuit of academics, career, degrees, credentialing, etc. The problem was this: none of the prior makes you special. The value systems I was guided by was crafted during a time when completing secondary education was still considered a competitive achievement; therefore, a college degree was even better — a master, yet even better — a doctorate, the best.
By the time you reach eligibility for the workforce, it’s likely that having a double or even triple doctorate may be the same job market value equivalency as having a single doctorate “back in my day.”
I don’t want you to focus on the schooling. I want you to focus on LEARNING — acquiring, analyzing, and acting with intentional precision based on valid information, resources, knowledge, and wisdom.
If this pursuit takes you down academic pathways… excellent! If it goes down some other path, pursue it freely. It’s not about the schooling, it’s about true learning… learning to discern.
10. It’s not about you.
This, is one of life’s greatest lessons. I want you to live life as if it’s not about you, because it isn’t. While you are responsible for your own actions, your own pursuits, your own intentional excellence in what you achieve… the goal of life isn’t about you.
It’s about others.
Live life in a way that blesses others through you… be a conduit of joy, compassion, love, kindness, respect, patience, and peace. My hope is that you’ll learn this through a living faith in Christ; this is something your mother and I hope we are doing a good job teaching you. In contemporary times, even the previous sentence may be offensive to some folks… that’s okay. It’s about how you regard others that matters.
There is a wonderful phrase I’ve recently picked up regarding such faith: “No perfect people.” There are none, so we must not require it of ourselves, or others… we can only require of ourselves as close of a parallel pursuit as we can… of ourself and only ourself. As for others, it is their own choice in path… it is for them to navigate as it is not for us to pass judgment… only to share blessings.
Be about others.
Learn to discern.
Become physically tough.
Become mentally strong.
Refine yourself in excellence.
Become self aware, and self accepting.
Craft your life to chase what you love.
And, be sure to dance more… celebrate life!
Nathan, if you’re reading this, I hope I’ve done a good job imparting, and more importantly, teaching through example. Your mom and I love you very, very much and you are the joy of our lives.