2019 was a mix for me. I earned 2 3rd degree black belts. I made the USA Surfing National Adaptive Surf Team a second year in a row. I got to train with a lot of amazing people. I got to surf at the Surfight Classic, my first surf contest that was not an adaptive contest. I was a guest on a YouTube series hosted by a man and martial artist I respect. I also came very close to losing a friend. I retired the guide dog I’ve been with the longest. I lost my US Open Adaptive Surfing title. I deeply struggled with mental health challenges because I had not given myself permission to grieve over important events throughout the course of my life. (Made some progress there, btw.)
There was more treasure. I got to surf Malibu for the first time. I was on TV more than once. I got much more experience as a stand-up comedian. Andrea and I opened our dojo. Our school is small, but we teach good martial arts. I can be happy about a lot of 2019, even if I would have done some key parts very differently.
Looking to the future… I contemplate all the pieces moving. I can talk about some of them. I must remain silent on others. (Does everybody make you sign an NDA these days?) If even one of these pieces moves forward to a significant degree, mine and Andrea’s lives will change forever. The question I’m asking myself is this. Who do I need to be to savor the treasure and make use of the opportunities in front of me?
My heart and my mind need to be right. I must not cling to things, ideas, or relationships just because they are comfortable or familiar. I also can’t casually throw away what is meaningful, helpful, or good. I am in the midst of an internal metamorphosis. I let 2019 and lingering disease from my past keep me from being my full self. My single goal for 2020 is to be my truest and best self. What ever this ultimately looks like, I am ready for it to breathe life into my roles as husband, man, martial artist, sensei, surfer, surfing champion, son, cousin, teacher, artist, and all the other facets of who I am and becoming.
I will no longer apologize for being me. I will, however, strive to be quick to apologize when I’ve done wrong. Being my truest best self does not give me license to be mean, unkind, or selfish. Being my truest best self means I need to grow in body, soul, and spirit. Being kind includes being kind to me. This might mean I’ll need to rest once in a while, but doing so will be a choice, not laziness.
I still intend to teach and serve without payment. That said, I will no longer turn away help from those who wish to better equip me to improve the world. (I’ll also not turn away a paying student if I think I can help them.)
Some of what is unfolding is unknown to me. Some of what is changing are things that I need or choose to keep private. I have begun or continued some daily habits. I may share some of these as we go, but, as we’re only 2 days into 2020, I’ll wait to make those habits more permanent before I share what they are.
Thanks for reading this somewhat rambling and occasionally cryptic post. If you’d like to help me, even with a word of encouragement, please feel free to get in touch with me. I might not get to you right away, but I’ll do my best to respond.