Brownness

A Letter Answered

crop author writing in notebook with feather at retro table
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A few days ago, an old friend asked me if I was open to writing a letter to my father. They said they just got this feeling that Papa wanted to hear from me. Now, since I journal daily, it wasn’t as much as a stretch as the person feared. I assured them that writing to my father sounded like a great idea and not strange at all. And so I wrote to Papa, mostly expressing guilt and regret for not expressing how far we had come in our relationship, how we were healed, yet I would let some parts of it go, my go to expression with him usually irritation or dismissiveness. But we also had a lot more real moments, a lot more ability to tell each other we loved, with him giving me kissings and blessings any chance he could.

It was a short letter, owing to my hand cramping and my bad handwriting, but satisfying as it felt different from my usual journalling which is mostly me going over things to do, random thoughts. After that, I got lost in the day, and later on in the evening I decided I wanted to get rid of my extra comic books that I’d discovered in my garage. Sunday seemed like the perfect day to do long pending errands, and as I took out the boxes, I saw a red photo album with my name on it. For a moment, I thought it was one that me or my wife had done for each other, but this one had actual photos in it, and then my wife reminded me that Papa had made that album for me.

Goosebumps flew through me as I paged through the album. In it were old photos of me from birth, junior and high school, college, my trip to India with another friend, and I got lost in those memories. Papa had even saved my vision plan on what I intended to accomplish by the time I was 35. I am pretty sure I was 30 when I wrote, and it was a reminder of what a different path I had taken. The path that Papa really wanted me to take all long, that of being a lawyer. The album felt like an answer to my letter. Sure, it could be coincidence, but it definitely was surreal to find it on the day I wrote him a letter after being told by a great friend to do so.

Regardless, it was also a reminder to keep on my legal tasks and to keep growing my firm. Happy Monday!

Brownness

New York, New York

As I near the end of the wedding week, I cannot but help feel grateful for the connections with my family, the laughter, the love, the stories, the fact that we still have the same affection as before, and now seeing the younger generation do the same. It was heartening to see their faces light up when we first entered the door and bathe in the mutual adoration.

I always wonder why we have such long gaps in our visit. Time here flies, and as my stomach expands from all the pizza and falafel over rice, I look forward to more days with loved ones, more celebrations, and more time to just be together. Yet there is also a growing unease that soon we will be leaving and it may be the last time we see some.

I get that it is not a great thought to have, but one of the perks and downfalls of getting older is that there is an increased chance of loss. As much as I want to pretend that it won’t or cannot happen, I also know that it is these present moments that will become loving memories so it is back to the same message for me: staying present, being grateful, and expressing love.

It is also nice to break out of my routine, and as much as I am dreading going back to the gym, I know it will be well worth it for the time I got to have in New York. The great part part is that I still have more people to see before leaving, and I cannot wait to add to my journey. I also realize that this is why it’s important to maintain family ties so you can share them with others and hopefully add to the depth of the relationships.

Brownness

June (By the numbers)

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And just just like that, half of 2021 is gone. It seems that the years go by faster and faster and I do wonder if I am progressing as fast. Yet I also know there is a tendency to either focus on the negative or that one positive thing happening in my life. I began this journey not to tout my gains, but to keep myself accountable to myself. Progress takes work, but not just that, it takes patience, perfect practice, and most of all passion.

In the beginning, I chose habits that I was already doing, but each month I am adding things that I do want to be better at. For the past 3 months, I have added daily writing as one of my goals along with doing daily pushups, working on double unders and stretching at least three times a week.

I also know that I tend to focus on tasks rather than goals and so one of my tricks is to list some of my habits as a task. Now the risk with that is that sometimes it becomes a thing to check off, but I know, in the long run, it will pay off. So getting to the numbers.

I managed perfect in only a few areas which is not a surprise. I meditated and read daily as well as intermittent fasted for a minimum of 16 hours. I also drank 64 ounces of water daily. After that, I was a bit all over the place. I did manage to journal at least 25 days, along with writing so I am quite happy about that. I also was in service to others and practiced Spanish pretty regularly. There are other habits that are just for my self-care, and I am getting better at those. I also managed to workout 20 days out of 30, and stretched for the same amount.

Where I need to improve on is getting down to 2 days a week for drinking, whereas I am average 3 (mostly Fridays, Saturdays, Sunday), but for me, the good news is that I am those 4 days really boost my work out and self care days as I am not foggy or groggy when I wake up. I am also excited to try the new wearable Whoop which is showing me the days I am not getting adequate sleep and also usings my heartrate to tell me if I should be resting, recovering or straining during workouts.

I start this month with a much needed 10 days vacation so I am giving myself grace on my habits, and planning to enjoy my tenth wedding anniversary later on in the month. I hope to keep growing, stay curious, use my passion for the things that matter, and last of all, know that I lived my best life.

Looking forward to the July journey!

Brownness

CELEBRATIONS

This past weekend we celebrated someone who brings a lot of joy to the ones I love. It’s amazing to know how a 3 year old can mean so much to so many. Even though we are related by marriage, she feels like another one of my nieces. I have been beyond blessed to have experienced the growth of my nephews and nieces into adulthood and to be honest I’d assumed it was just something that happened in a certain chapter of my life.

To experience this joy all over again is truly gratifying and fulfilling in a different way. To be able still be in a jumper for over 4 hours and playing with all manner of kids and being child like reminded me of why I want to be fit. It’s not to impress anyone but to be able to experience things and bring joy to others by being in service. In this case, being a fool, silly and allowing myself to be face painted. something I thought I would not experience as a 49 year old. It got me thinking when I take myself too seriously, when I think I am too adult or too grown up to be child like, it is when I will grow old.

One of the things I loved about my father at social gatherings was how warm, silly and fun he was to be around. He made or tried to make everyone around him laugh. In recent years, celebrations with my father were always fun and full of laughter. I endeavor to do the same even when that means looking like a hairy spiderman, but most of all, when it means I can bring smiles to the ones I love. As I get older, I am taking on more of his characteristics, from taking power naps to being child like, but also seeing that celebrations are a reason to be bring joy to others.

Happy Birthday Zara, I know more events are to come and I cannot wait to celebrate them with you!/

Brownness

Fathers Day

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Today is the anniversary of my aunt passing, and I can’t help feeling that it’s not coincidence since Papa and her were buddies. Anytime he went for any errands, he took her with him. Besides my mom, she probably spent the most amount of time with him. I like to think they are up there together just hanging out and doing the things that they enjoyed most. They know they were loved deeply. I am truly grateful for the time I did have with them, and although I regret not taking the time to spend even more, I know they loved me anyway.

Death is a strange thing as life moves on and people that you think you will see for a long sometimes disappear, but life and people keep plugging away and although they are not here for the daily portion, the hurt and the remembrance remains for me and others in my family. It may seem that we have grieved and gotten over it, but really it has become a private pain because really how long can you bemoan it publicly before people tune you out.

And so the grief goes inwards and occasions like Father days and death anniversary become milestones for how long they have been gone. It’s hard to believe 4 years have passed for my aunt and 5 for my dad, and I still cannot help thinking about them in the early morning quiet when its just me and my thoughts and feelings. In the busyness of life, its easy to want to ignore death, easy to not want to miss them, to think about the many moments we shared, the many moments we could or should have shared. The guilt, grief and gratitude all mere into this realization of how lucky I truly was, and how much they supported my in growth.

I am glad I had the chance to show them some of that growth, but I oh so wish they were still here because they were so full of life, possibility and belief in us. But that’s not to be, but it doesn’t mean I don’t to honor and thank them for the time they did give us. Happy Fathers Day Papa. Miss you Baby Masi.

Brownness

Struggle

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I often struggle with being far too judgmental about situations and people and things I get to experience on a daily basis. Far too often, I am quick to notice people and events happening not to my liking. I still cannot bring myself to recognize that the only thing I can do control are my reactions, thoughts and emotions. I begin anew each time I steep myself in thinking how others should behave.

What it does come down is mostly hurt of being excluded or not considered. I realize that often times I give way more weight to things that in the long run don’t serve me. I also see a bit of cowardice in myself for not sharing with those around me what’s coming up for me. It’s as if I rather enjoy the stewing rather than just letting out what’s bothering me about the person or event.

I struggle because I don’t quite know how to handle things when they don’t go according to plan. I struggle when others are inconsiderate, overwhelming or selfist. I struggle when I feel forced to engage with people I don’t have much in common with. Yet I also know that I am blessed to have so many around me. That I can pick and choose who to be around. That I can always change my response to things.

Yet I also realize that when judgment flares up or I feel taken for granted, I have a choice to either let it go, clear with the person or just allow it to ruin the moment. Like I said, I don’t always succeed, but I do see that there are some I can clear with, tell them what’s coming up for me or if that is too confrontational, then I get to change how I feel about it. Like I said, a struggle.

I also do feeling a reckoning coming up for me. That if I continue to struggle in this manner, I am shunting my ground. That it will prevent me from the being the best version of my life. What also feels right is the nervousness I feel when I think about clearing with the people I am affected by. From experience, I know when I am nervous or anxious about something, it is most always the path to take if I want to be a better leader.

And so I struggle, but also I see in my traits I don’t care much for me. Being negative continually or coming up with my own story of why some people treat me the way they do doesn’t serve me. So I get to work on that.