10 years of shit – good and bad shit. Just because it’s shit doesn’t mean it sways one way or the other, it’s just a fun way to generalize… shit.
I’ve worked 4 jobs, 1 for 9 years. I managed a martial arts school while earning a black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, a purple belt in BJJ, I got certified and taught Krav Maga for many of those years. I did standup comedy for the first time. I started to play guitar. I’ve fought people from all over the world. I traveled overseas and competed in Okinawa. I’ve learned countless lessons. My perspective on life has shifted dramatically. I met celebrities and sports stars.
I’ve lost friends and gained new ones. I lost a couple girlfriends, but found the one that’ll be here forever *knocks on wood*. I’ve lost family members and learned who will stick around through the thick and thin. I’ve started to realize what’s really important in life after missing moments I can never get back for moments that I’m quickly forgetting.
The 2010’s were fun. I drank too much and paid the price. We drank too much leading to adventures that I’ll (shockingly enough) remember forever and question how we made it out alive. I’ve grown up and matured… but yet I still think farts are hilarious. I spent nearly all my afternoons teaching little children and gaining sight on how even though we age, we still maintain who we really are inside.
The world never ended in 2012, weird.
The Patriots continued to win more Superbowls giving us fans something to root for when we have ridiculous amounts of snow to shovel. 2015 anyone? I can remember shoveling my parents driveway and legitimately thinking, “We’re going to be stuck if another blizzard hits us.” I couldn’t pile snow any higher or clear a pathway if we got one more snowfall without something melting. I started to realize how dangerous something like an avalanche could be. Then a couple years later, it was the coldest it had ever been here in over 50 years. The storm started as freezing rain, turned to snow, and then by morning everything was ice… ice for days. 10 seconds outside and things starting going numb. That was fun. Again, realizing how ruthless a mother fucker mother nature could be.
As lame as it might sound, I’ve learned to love myself too. It’s been hard, by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do. For all the fun, excitement, accolades I’ve gained and collected, I’ve had to learn to cut myself slack. For all the adventures and accolades I gained, I have 100x’s more mistakes. Those mistakes carry guilt; some carry more than others, it depends on the crime. But we cannot go back in time, I can’t change what I’ve done. I subscribe to the whole ideal of “you can’t change the past and it’s made you who you are.” Sure, it would be nice to go back and pull the keys from your hand that night you drank too much or not say those awful words to that person – but we can’t. All I can do is strive to make better choices in those moments.
As we reflect back on 2019 and the 2010’s in general, we think forward to 2020. I make no resolutions with focus on a new year or a new decade, but I’ve always resolved to be a better person. I want to be better today than I was yesterday, I want to make better choices than I did in the past, I want to look back a week from now, a month, 6 months, etc. and go “Fuck yeah, good job buddy.” It gets easier to forgive myself for the mistakes when I continue to improve.
If we continue to improve and focus on the positive, we can leave the negative and the past behind. Sure, learn from your mistakes, but that means you need to look through the windshield 90% of the time and only reflect on the rearview mirror the rest… some of that time is spent checking your blindspots, of course. Learn from that accident you got into when you first got your license.
To whoever is putting in the time to read this during the holiday season or at anytime, I guess; Thank you, I love you and I truly appreciate you and your time. To love others, you must love yourself. Forgive yourself. The person who made that mistake isn’t who you are today. Guide others, remind them of what the right choice is. If we forever make the same mistakes and allow others to make them, we’re not improving as a whole. Humanity needs to step forward and bring everyone we can. That won’t be everyone, but we’ll do our best.
One concept that was always true in martial arts, in competition, and in life was that if I make you better, you make me better. If I help you make your punch so fast I can’t block it anymore, my blocks have to get better. If I help you build your business and it’s competing against mine, I’ve got to up my game. The translations of concepts are uncanny.
The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi explains a lot of these concepts as he compares martial arts to life. Highly recommend adding it to your collection. That’s the beauty of martial arts, I suppose: it’s concepts are so very simple but their application to life is so true and deep.
I’m drifting, but the point I’m getting at is help your fellow human. We all have ups and downs, but we’ve got to pull each other up. Keep pulling everyone up and when we all get to the top we can have one massive party. Spread the love, even to that asshole neighbor – he needs it the most. Everyone’s fighting a battle (or war) you know nothing about.
Happy Holidays, Happy New Year… and here’s to another decade of forward progress, smiles, tears, adventures, perspective, and helping your fellow human.