Kudos to my bestie Kerry for inspiring this post, and for helping me to see on the bright side of things when I forget.
So, 2010 is gone. I suppose I was getting tunnel vision for a bit, and made a offhand comment that 2010 was a bit of a bust. But then, a few things came to light, and got the wheels spinning.
1) I GRADUATED COLLEGE!!!
In retrospect, I look at this as no small feat. I started college in August of 1997. Since then, my life has been an adventure of ups and downs, taking me across 2 continents, 5 countries (with residency in 3 of those countries for any length of time, a multitude of friends, relations, adventures, heartbreaks, and everything in between. However, in May of 2010, it all came to the culmination of my goal: To get my college degree. I was so happy that My family got to see that. I wish my father had been able to see that. O, should I say, I wish I could have actively engaged in his witnessing that moment. Throughout my life, that was one goal that he wanted for me more than anything, and that was the “payday” for my parents if you will. They worked hard, for countless years, to provide for me, and achievement, a college degree, is a show of honor. I always think that my achievements are not so much signs of my abilities, but a show of the support I have in life. But, I did it. I did it well, and on the heels of a combat deployment, and I ended up the History student of the year as a cherry on top.
2) I GOT MY FIRST TEACHING JOB!!!
Not only did I get a job, but it was in my area of study. I suppose that’s all I can say about that. I had to do some strange things per se, but in the end, things are working out better than I could have hoped, which brings me to point #3….
3) MOVING TO THE WILDERNESS OF ALASKA!
Now, some people wouldn’t view this as a good thing, but I’m kind of impressed with my ability to be flexible. I always admired the sentiment of Bruce Lee,
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”
I think I tried my best to live to this philosophy. I took the opportunity that presented itself to me, and I just went with it. Now, I’m here in Tok, and I’m still just being like water. Going with the flow of things, taking it all in stride, and just enjoying it all in its aesthetic pleasure and value.
4) I GOT MY BLUE BELT IN BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU!!!
Now, I don’t think that I’m good at jiu jitsu. I know that I have a long way to go, and that I don’t even know the depths of the art by any means. But a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, and I feel like this is step one in a life-long journey that I am both loving and adoring. I’m definitely sad that I’m not still training in Chicago. I’m also a bit frustrated that staying here could mean that I won’t be promoted, which is a notion for a completely different post.
5) I STARTED A BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU CLUB IN MY NEW PLACE!!!
I’ve always told friends, “If you don’t like things the way they are, change them” to which I often here “that’s easier said than done.” Well, as I sit here now, in retrospect, I don’t think it is. I went through 8 years of hell, also known as the “Bush years”, a trip to Afghanistan, and now across the country to Alaska. I knew I didn’t like being unemployed, and so I worked my a** off applying to jobs (and for the record, I still could’ve done more, I never once went to the retail and food circuit) and when an opportunity arose ( and yes, dare I say the harder of two paths presented to me) I took it. Has it been easy? Hell no. I put myself in debt moving to this place. Will it get easier? Yes. But I made moves. I think that’s what life is about, making moves, especially in the face of adversity, which is often “easier said than done.”
And so what is on the horizon for 2011?
There are so many things I suppose. Some small, some huge…
1) Continue improving as an educator.
2) Get my BJJ team ready for their first competition in March
3) Get at least one other adult to train on the team
4) Continue improving my physical condition and continue losing weight. I’m getting down to 220 lbs. this year if I have to start cutting things off..I kid, I kid…
5) Continue evolving as a person, as a thinker, and figure out what the future holds, including embarking on my masters.
There are so many more things I’m sure, and I suppose I could edit this post as more things come to mind. I think I’m still slightly hung over, and I’m about to head out the door to go watch UFC 125.
Finally, I feel a big thanks are in order for 2010. Thank you to everyone who has taken time out of their lives to talk with me (on the phone, can you believe it), or text, or IM, or write…all of the things that you special peeps do to make this whole experience easier. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days when I wake up and just think “I could be back in Chicago by Saturday” but then when I get into the swing of the day, those feelings melt away, and sometimes it’s simply due to a friendly text that says “Good morning, have a great day” or a voicemail just wishing me the best. You all rock, and I’m lucky to have y’all in my life.
Here’s to a wonderful new year, and to extending the bonds that connect us, as well as creating new ones. Love you all.