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.
I’m ridiculously embarrassed to see how infrequent I’ve been posting here. #NoExcuses
Nevertheless, it’s a good time to share some good times. Here’s a snippet:
I’ve been trying out this Modified Ketogenic Sports Diet
I got my 1st armband promotion for Muay Thai
Nathan turned four years old
And… woke up at 3am last night and got violently sick… threw up everywhere 🙁
So, the general idea of the “Keto diet” is that you are changing the way your body burns calories. Instead of just calories in vs. calories out, the keto approach is burning the right calories out. In this case, the theory goes that our bodies process high carb diets to a detrimental fashion with blood sugar spikes, insulin issues, type II diabetes, etc.
The keto approach lowers the caloric profile while satisfying the body’s nutritional needs with higher calorie profile fat and carbs; and, within the approach I was following, as long as I held to my macros (ration of macro nutrients broken down by carbs v fats v proteins, I was good to eat whatever throughout the day).
BTW. My macros were <30g carbs; 120+ fat; 120- proteins. No cheat days for 7 weeks. The first week was AWFUL. I felt like I had no energy whatsoever. I lost 8lbs in 10 days, all water weight. Then, the weeks passed by and started noticing a rapid decline in my waistline, losing two belt loops within 4-5 weeks.
Due to Nathan’s birthday festivities, I’ve given myself a small break. However, I will be jumping back on this diet soon after.
You all know I’ve been studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Rebellion Martial Arts. Well, around April of this year (2017), my professor/instructor/coach, Jeff Baldwin, was able to open up a Muay Thai program under the World Thai Boxing Association flag. As a Jeet Kune Do instructor, he’s also studied Muay Thai for many years… it’s just never become a formal element at Rebellion ’til recently.
I was also privileged to attend a recent seminar held by Ajarn Chai, the founder of the World Thai Boxing Association.
All together, I’m loving the Muay Thai experience and hope to dedicate myself to getting some form of assistant instructorship in the coming years.
And, then… last night at 3am, Nate woke up violently sick and threw up… everywhere. And, this kept happening. Over… and, over. The poor kid was a total champ. He’s always been so brave and emotionally contained, particularly when he should be freaking out. LOL, which means he freaks out over nothing from time to time. It’s a balance 😉
What my wife and I learned last night is that teamwork best happens not when everyone member has the same role. No. It’s best when each team member has specific responsibilities that compliment the situation and each other — that way, you’re not redundantly strong nor redundantly weak; your bases are covered and your family is cared for.
Oh, yes… in the meantime, I’ve been traveling all over the place, booked to speak at multiple conference — even an NIH sponsored event. It’s kinda crazy that all this is working out. But, it’s almost expected with the support I have from my family, friends, business partners, an encouraging collegial community, and my rebel-fam at Rebellion Martial Arts… a special shoutout because they mean the world to me!
Every May, we’ve been doing this thing of taking Nathan’s profile pic. It’s worth a quick post 😉
What is probably the marvel of all is how you see this babe turn into a boy… and, it’s him! I think every parent goes through this watching their kiddo(s) grow up… they are the same as they were when they were a little infant as they were as a toddler, a kiddo, a teenager, and so on.
Nathan has grown up a bunch. I’m really proud of him. He’s going to kiddy jiu jitsu classes and he loves “playing” Muay Thai with me. LOL!
I guess, I’m just taking this short moment to stop and be thankful. He’s my son. And, I’m blessed.