Take on the BIG Challenge

When I was around 8 or so years old my mom gave me a list of sports that I could choose from for the winter session.  I remember picking wrestling solely for the reason of the popularity at the time of the WWF professional wrestling.  Which is funny, because I never was really that into that, but it seemed to be all the rave in the early 90’s and I suppose I wanted to do those flips off the ropes.  Who knows what was going through the head of my 8-year-old self.  For whatever reason, I did wrestling that year.

Obviously, it was not the same thing as I had imagined, but that didn’t phase me.  I got some cool headgear and got to wear what I thought were some pretty cool sneakers.  It turns out I was pretty good at this sport.  I can still remember my first competition.  I had no idea what was going, I was just annoyed I had to wait so long.  I was accustomed to soccer and basketball where you just get there, warm up and start playing.  Finally, my name was called and took to the mat.  If I can remember correctly I won pretty easily.  I kept winning competitions from that day on and was probably past midway through the season and still had not lost.  Then, on one unexpected day, I was faced with a much larger kid.  I fought my hardest, refusing to give up my perfect record.  It was a good fight, I can remember because my mom caught everything on those old VHS cameras so I could relive the moment again and again.  The large child laid all his weight on me, I was on my stomach trying desperately  to push my body up.  All the little veins were popping out as I gave it my all.  However, as you might expect, I lost.  I cried after that loss.  I am not really sure if I was actually physically hurt, or my ego was hurt.  Maybe both.  Apparently, my fierce competitor was a weight class above me (or two).  My coach decided that it was important for me to learn to lose.

At the time, I did not appreciate the little life lesson on the wrestling mat.  I had lost in other things, and I was not the brightest bulb in the classroom in elementary school, so why couldn’t I just have this.  I just laugh to myself now when I think of this memory.  Nonetheless, the lesson was dealt.

Failing and losing is just a part of life.  I don’t like it, and I work really hard to win most of the time.  I begrudgingly was in long distance relationship for the past 2.5 years.  It has been said, again and again, long distance never works.  I know my personality and knew long distance was something I was not going to be good at.  Yet, the love is strong, so I went into it.  If I thought the large child wrestler was tough, this was like wrestling a sumo dude.  As predicted, the weight felt unbearable.  I had moments of greatness and awesome adventures in the process, but the dark grueling moments is what almost killed me (maybe a little dramatic here, but I am latino so I just call it passion).  I wanted out, I hated failing, losing and suffering and just wanted to stop the pain.  Thankfully my partner never gave up on me and never let me give up.  I dug deep and stayed with it. About 3 or 4 months away from the BIG move was when it felt the most grueling.  Like at the end of a race and you have nothing left in the tank, how the hell are you going to find the energy for that last kick to finish strong.  The stress was high, work was extremely busy and unpleasant at the time.  If that was not enough, I had to do a temporary move to a friend’s house since my lease was up at my current place.  The stress and anxiety of all the uncertainty in my life felt like my entire world was crumbling in front of my eyes.

I failed so many times in this relationship.  I failed myself and I failed my partner.  They say distance is hard, but those that have gone through it know there really aren’t words to describe how hard it is.  It’s also different for everyone.  My personality type is going  to struggle a lot more in a long distance relationship than others would.  I am typing this now from our home in Texas.  As they say, I lost so many battles along the way, but I didn’t lose the war.  When all was at it’s darkest, is when I mustered up the fire from God knows where to give our relationship that last kick to finish strong.  We got some cuts and bruises along the way, it’s not this fairy tale ending you are brainwashed to believe is real as a child, but we are here.  Time and more work are still ahead of us, but it will come.

Everyone has their challenges, and it is through those greatest challenges that we find ourselves.  If you go through life, always playing it safe because you are afraid to lose and fail then you never really are tested, you never rise up again and show your true strength.  Losing is important and necessary for our personal growth.  Family and friends want to protect us from the hardships of life, they don’t want to see us suffer, but given the right tools, we persevere the hardest of challenges.  It sounds weird, but I am happy I had got the opportunity to suffer a little in this long distance relationship.  At the conclusion of any competition, when the final whistle is blown, the winner is the “teacher” and the loser is the “student”.  The “teacher” (winner) exposes a weakness and capitalizes on it to win the competition.  It is the duty of the “student” to learn from this weakness and become stronger from the experience.   This experience has taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of, and I feel like a better and more prepared human being for it.  So take on that large challenge on the wrestling mat of life, and fight the good fight.  It’s ok to fail, just pick yourself up, learn, and move forward.

The Art of Designing Your Life

I have accomplished this 4 different times, I think at first it was just luck but now I think I am on to something.

The most recent example and how I arrived to DC was about 4 years ago.  I was working as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Univ. of DE and loving life.  I had an awesome house, roommates who were more like family, the car I always wanted and a new puppy. Life was exactly how I imagined it.  That was until we hit reading season which involved 3 months of seclusion reading thousands of (for the most part) generic and boring college essays.  I was a mover and a shaker and could not be tied down to a desk for that many hours.  No thank you. I wanted to return to my life of teaching Health and PE and coaching. I always thought admissions work would just be a stop on my trip to awesomeness.  It was a super valuable job at learning so much in so little time, but it was time to move on.

I decided I would find a job at a prestigious private school in a cool and liberal city where I could be my complete self, gay and all and it would be awesome.  I could  teach Health and PE the way I thought it should be taught.  I would influence some of the our future leaders, maybe even the president’s daughter.  That’s so funny cause just yesterday Joe Biden walked into our gym to watch his granddaughter play a basketball game against our school.  It took all my effort not to run over and give him a hug.  We have that Delaware connection so we are like Bros and I call him Joe. In my head we are old buddies…being in my head is so entertaining… Anywho, i digress 

I also ended up teaching the president’s daughter Sasha some volleyball when her high school varsity team lost to my team in the tournament quarter finals.  Sadly the Obama’s were not there because also in my head, Michelle and I are besties. 

My point is, I pretty much got everything that I wanted, it was like the school I work for was created from my mind, it formed the day I went on that walk with little max and sat on the rock by the water and dreamed my future awesome life.  It’s kind of creepy to think how on the money it all turned out.  

So now after 4 amazing years at this awesome school and the opportunity to live in our nations capital.  It’s time to paint the next new phase in my life.  So far each new phase has been a step up from the last and I expect this one to be same.  Georgetown Day School gave me the opportunity to develop into an expert in my field, an accomplished coach, and respected colleague among cerebral giants.  The students are one of a kind, and will grow up to throw down against the Donald Trumps of this world and win.  They will make this world a better place and maybe bring back some much needed balance. 

I have absolutely no clue what I will do next.  I am brain storming, playing with the colors on my palette.  I know it will be great, I also know to be more specific.  This is one of the fun parts of life, being the architect or painter of the life you choose the live.  It’s not a perfect science, it’s not a science at all.  However, I am noticing a pattern and I am going to go with it.

Please leave a comment on your thoughts on designing the life you want to live and subscribe for more on my next adventures.

Pura Vida… 

Unexpected Day Off

Last night I was sitting here watching some Netflix when my phone rings… It’s work…No work tomorrow…. Whaaaat?!?!  Totally unexpected.  Yea it had snowed a little bit, but did not seem like enough to call a snow day.  Also, it was not a normal teaching day, it was in-service, which if you don’t know is pretty much like teacher hell.  All day training, where you sit there and get talked at.  So now double whammy, no work and no in-service !!!

I immediately go into my happy dance.  The happy dance is pretty spontaneous and it’s when the joy of my spirit overrides my body. Last night it looked like I was running in place really fast with high knees and my hands waving in the air like I just don’t care.  

This morning I got up and had to race to move the car before DC gave me another ticket only to find pretty much the most most (2x) gross day in the world.  Cold rain + melting snow + gray skies= disgusting!!

I am all about following the signs and going with the flow of the universe, and the universe was clearly telling me to get under the covers and not come out until the sun comes back out. So that is exactly what we did.  Max agreed this would be a good time to veg out… See picture below for evidence.   

 At around 2 pm the sun came roaring out, the clouds cleared, and it was blue skies.  We got the French press going with some yummy Costa Rican coffee and pealed ourselves off the coach to begin a productive afternoon.  In all honesty Max decided it was time to get up… See picture below for evidence. 

 
After some tug of war we:

  1. Booked our spring break vacation to Fort Lauderale spending zero $$ thanks my to citi AAadavatage credit card points!! Score 
  2. Picked up the apt ( boring but necessary )
  3. Did some hardcore yoga with method yoga on YouTube   This dude kicks my but every time.  Warning not for beginners.
  4. Cooked a fun chicken and rice dish for my lunches for the week    

So all in all a pretty awesome day.  I can’t always take the morning off just cause the weather is gross out, but when I can I am going to do it.  

umm + Pura Vida = one with the universe

What is TICOS PACE ?

Valentine’s Day eve

Not sure if that’s a thing but it should be. It should be a day where you just love yourself.  

Coaching on the road makes it easy to do that.  Yea it’s work, but it’s work I love and it’s kind of like a paid mini vacation too…even if it’s in the tundra.

  

Decision making…it’s exhausting 

Making decisions is so energy draining.  As a teacher, we spend most of the day making decisions, fielding countless questions day in and day out…questions like: what are we doing today?  Can I go to the bathroom? Can we play soccer ? Is it alright if I go see the athletic trainer? Will you meet with this candidate tomorrow morning? What can I do to improve my agility ?  The list goes on and on.

So when I get home I have little energy to make any other decision.  This is probably the reason I always just make a giant pot of food on Sunday.  Then I don’t have to think about what I am going to eat for the rest of the week.  When I can’t decide on simple dilemmas like where should I order food from, or what movie to watch on Netflix, I either go with my gut or many times I just flip a coin.

So what about major life decisions?  My gut and emotions seem to fluctuate so how can I trust that?  Do I flip a coin ??  Do I make a list of pros and cons?   So many questions, no answers right now.  Maybe i try all of it or maybe I just leave it alone for now.  Decision making is exhausting, but uncertainty is uncomfortable!

So, I pray.  This is when spiritual health helps me get by, faith in that higher power. I pray for patience, strength, and guidance.  

Today I pray. 

Wellness and Health 

Here is my take on wellness and health and how they play together:

First, let’s put “wellness” into perspective from my point of view within the context of health. Wellness is a practiced attitude that leads to a greater understanding and appreciation of yourself, therefore altering the lens in which you see and interact with the world. Wellness is the process of applying tools such as mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, meditation, exercise , etc. Applying these various tools leads to the outcome of health. Health being the product. So, although wellness and health are not the same thing, it is impossible to separate the two. I view wellness as the process and health as the product. A person practicing wellness uses the various tools to provide balance between mind, body, and spirit. This results in a increased level of functional or metabolic efficiency, which is also one of the many definitions of health. 

In order to begin to teach and inspire the practices of wellness to high schoolers my colleagues and I built this health curriculum.  It’s a PowerPoint full of videos, prezi diagrams, talking points, and suggested activities. 

GDS HS HEALTH CURRICULUM

Be Loyal…

To yourself first, your authentic self. Today I performed some Latino magic on some chicken in my kitchen, made some Spanish rice, and topped it with some Avacados.  Cooking for the sake of making it taste amazing is loyal to my soul.  I love  food, more so when you can tell someone really thought about the flavors and how they play together.  

  
How are you loyal? 

Committed… to the Snow Day

  
I am thankful for my giant window that looks over Connecticut AVE.  I can just chill with my dog Max, have some wine, and watch the snow just come down from the coffort of my warm apartment.  I am lucky.  I have committed to enjoying the storm, getting some work done, and being thankful. So far so good.

What have you committed to ?