It was around 2:45 on a recent Friday afternoon, and I’d just stepped outside for lunch (it had been a busy day). The temperature was a little warmer than preferable, but it was a beautiful day nonetheless. My productivity that day was at sky-high levels, and I couldn’t wait to devour this salad I was about to pick up. It was shaping up to be a great end to the work week.
As I made my way toward the café, though, my beautiful day got real ugly, real fast.
Walking at a hurried pace—as I was in a rush to get my food and get back to the office—I was impeded by this woman in front of me who wasn’t paying any attention to anything except whoever was on the other line of her cell phone. Seeing as how she was moving at a glacial pace, I started walking to the left of her so I could pass by her and keep it moving. But then, for some reason, she deviated from her path and also moved a little to the left—not to purposely cut me off, but just because she was completely aloof and unaware that anyone was behind her.
Her change of path caught me off guard since, at that point, I was extremely close to her and still walking at the same hurried pace. To keep from running into her, I stopped abruptly and almost tripped. As I was about to move to the right and go around her, however, a man walking in the opposite direction toward us told her loudly:
Watch your purse.
After a split-second of shock, I flipped.
239. That, ladies and gentlemen, is my total cholesterol level.
When I went to the doctor for a routine checkup a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get my cholesterol checked. A week later, my doctor called me and said that my cholesterol level was a little elevated. So I went in to see him a couple of days after that… and that’s when he dropped that huge number on me. (If you were wondering, your cholesterol level should be under 200.)
I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, though. Anyone close to me knows I have an affinity for the unhealthiest foods (see: the “Land, Sea, and Air Burger,” pictured to the right, that I actually ate a few months ago). And I do exercise, but only on occasion. And, last but not least, high cholesterol apparently runs all through my family. It was really only a matter of time.
Happy Birthday! You’re 63 today, although you really don’t look a day over 40! (Okay, maybe 45. But you still look great!)
I’ve already told the world how blessed I am to have such an amazing father. But to have an amazing mother, too? I must be blessed and highly favored.
As with any parent and child, you and I have our fair share of disagreements. But whether I agree with you or not, at the end of the day, I know you have my best interests at heart, and that you only want what’s best for me. You have no idea how much I appreciate that. The older I get, the more I realize that it’s hard (actually, almost impossible) to find people who will have your back no matter what. So thank you for just being there for me when I need you.
I know no one’s perfect, but you’ve been an amazing example in my life, especially when it comes to loving and caring for others. Whenever I’ve seen anyone come to you asking for help in any situation, I’ve also seen you do your best to help them in any way possible. So many people can vouch for your kindness. You’ve given so much of yourself and cared so much for others. Every single day, you truly embody what it means to be selfless.
My dad’s turning 65 today. For the most part, I’m happy for him, although being 65 also means that he now gets Medicare, which in turn means that I have to start paying for my own health insurance. When this came up in one of our recent conversations, I think we both got a little emotional about this extra step in my never-ending path of growing up.
Ironically, this month also marks the end of my first year at my first real job in the real world. After finding a job, moving away from home, paying bills, and claiming myself on my taxes, I can say that I’m pretty much on my own now. I’ve learned a lot from being on my own and having to take care of myself, although I realize I still have a long way to go. I just feel blessed, though, that I’ve had such a great example in my life of what it takes to be a good man.
Being a good man requires a lot of things. Strength. Leadership. Compassion. Hard work. Commitment. Loyalty. Just to name a few. I’ve seen all of this and much more in my dad across the years, and for that, I’m thankful. It’s impossible to remember every piece of advice he’s given me, but what I can remember is what I’ve seen in his character. On top of that, he’s also man enough to realize when he’s messed up. Given, it doesn’t happen often, because he’s on top of things 99.7% of the time. But when he’s not, he’s not too arrogant to admit that he’s wrong. Too often, men succumb to their egos and refuse to admit when they’re wrong, because they think that shows weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes a strong man to recognize his mistakes; a man that can’t admit being wrong is just insecure.
What I admire most about my dad, though, is that he’s a man of his word. Thinking back on the 22 years of my existence, I can’t remember a single instance in which he’s lied to me. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes about the kind of man he is.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without my dad’s presence in my life. Sure, I tell him that kind of stuff a lot (well, at least twice a year for Father’s Day and his birthday), but I want to take every opportunity I can to let him know just how much he means to me.
Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.
While I was at my church’s Bible study last night, my pastor talked to us in detail about how to have joy in our lives. As he was doing so, he gave us a very simple formula for joy, which I tweeted during church1. In case you didn’t see it on Twitter last night, though, here’s the Formula for Joy. In order to have joy, you must put:
- Jesus first
- Others second
- Yourself last
Pretty simple, right?
Well, it may be simple, but it’s definitely not easy. Speaking from personal experience, it’s difficult to put others before yourself. I mean, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told: “If you don’t look out for yourself, nobody else will.” But, in all honesty, that statement shows a lack of trust in an Almighty God. When you act according to His will and follow His instructions, He’ll look out for you. Guaranteed.
(Thanks to my lovely girlfriend, Erica Obebe, for helping me with the title for this post.)
May 30, 2010, 11:22 PM: I had just come back upstairs to my room after getting a late-night snack from the kitchen — the world-renowned D. Hudson Turkey & Swiss sandwich, with some pound cake — and I needed to call my girlfriend back. I told her a few minutes earlier that I was famished, and that I’d call her back after I got something to eat. So I dialed her number.
The only problem was that, by this time, my parents had already fallen asleep. (Yes, at 11:22 PM. But they’re both over 60, so I guess it’s excusable.) And the way that our house is set up, it’s not like my room is all the way down the hall where I can enjoy complete privacy. I’m basically right next door to my parents’ room, so talking on the phone, at least at normal volume, would have easily awoken them from their slumber.
I still made good on my promise to continue conversation with my girlfriend; I just had to do it while whispering.
Of course, as soon as we started talking, she asked me why I was whispering. I explained to her what I just explained to you, and she understood. Then she reminded me of what I was doing last Sunday, at 11:22 PM. I was about to hit up The Corner at UVa, and enjoy my last night on the campus of my undergraduate alma mater. And I definitely wasn’t going to be whispering. I was gonna be wildin’ out.
So, my semester is finally over. Classes are done, final exams are finished, the new issue of switch.magazine is complete… and now I just have to sit here and wait until graduation day, May 23rd. It’s only six days from now, but over these six days, I’m hoping that it will finally set in that I’m graduating. Because it really hasn’t hit me yet, and I don’t know if I’ll feel it until I actually put on my cap and gown and walk with everyone else.
Either way, I have a lot to figure out, as it relates to what I’m doing with my life starting on May 24th. I’ve put in job applications at a few places, but I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going in life. In the feature article of this latest issue of switch.magazine, my friend Paula interviewed a cool guy by the name of Malcolm Jones, who’s the head of a startup company called FOJO (The Fashion Dojo). In the article, she wrote his five pieces of advice to future entrepreneurs, and the first piece was about figuring out your passion. As he said:
“If you are not passionate about it, you will not succeed. Passion fuels your drive, your intensity, and your results.”
I don’t plan on being an entrepreneur… yet. But I feel like that piece of advice is true across the board, in any and every endeavor. If you’re passionate about something, you’ll aim to do it well. And if you aim to do it well, then you’ll eventually find success in that field. So now I just need to figure out what I’m passionate about…
Even though I don’t have my plans solidified yet, I’m excited about what’s about to happen with me. Not to boast, but I really feel like I’m destined to do great things. I just need to buckle up, though, because I feel like it’s gonna be a crazy ride.
Most importantly, though, I’m going to start back with blogging ASAP, since I’m done with everything finally. So expect to see a lot more from me on the regular, starting… now.
I’m a little late with this, but oh well. The Word of the Lord reads:
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” — I John 4:14 (KJV)
Last week, I fasted from a lot of things… but mainly from people. Every once in a while, we all need some alone time. And I definitely needed some alone time. With issues about graduation (and life afterwards), relationships, and my own spirituality all being on my mind, I needed to take a week to isolate myself and delve deeper into the one resource that can help me through anything: the Word of God.
It was during this alone time that I truly realized that I am, in fact, never alone.
And the Word of the Lord reads:
12“Even now,” declares the LORD, ”return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
The last month or so has been… interesting. If you’ve been following my blog, you may recall that I recently wrote a post entitled, “The pursuit of happiness…“, in which I said the following:
“At least for right now, I need to take this time to isolate myself for a while, look inside myself, do some soul searching, and work on my relationship with Christ. Trust me, I’m not going to become a loner, but this is something that I need to do for right now, just to get myself straight.”
That’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
So, as I was in the library yesterday morning working on a paper due yesterday afternoon, I noticed that the study room I was inhabiting had a lot of trash on the floor. It wasn’t an absolute mess, but it definitely needed to be cleaned up. (I didn’t really notice this until I started trying to distract myself from finishing the paper.) Anyway, as soon as I decided that I needed to clean it up, I heard a vacuum cleaner in the distance. The janitor was coming.
Some in my situation would probably just sit back and chill, but I wanted to do my part and help him out a little bit. As I started cleaning, I heard a knock on the door behind me. It was the janitor. I opened the door to let him in to the study room, making small talk with him for a little while before he went to work. As he vacuumed around the room, I continued to pick up some of the bigger pieces of trash, until he put his hand on my shoulder and said the following words to me:
“Son, son, don’t do that. Please don’t do that. You’ve come too far to pick up trash.”
There’s a lot I have to say about that. A lot. So please keep reading.