Josh Bowen: The Time is Now

b8c197f3-6ca2-4e88-9c21-15bb0f46e3e7Let me set the stage for you…

After finishing my last client for the day (shout out to Lauren) I quickly get ready to go work out myself after a long day of clients and before a super packed Friday. I get in my car and go workout at Lexington Athletic Club, a few hundred feet from Aspire. I finish my workout, get in my car, and as I do every night go back to Aspire; re-rack the weights, clean up and turn the lights out. At this time it is 10pm. I get in my car to go home, get something to eat and go to bed before my 5am appointment. I go the same way I always do and pull out of the studio and I am the first in line at the red light to turn left to head home. I am no more than a football’s throw from Aspire.

As I am sitting patiently at the stop light, out of my left ear (my good ear by the way) I hear what sounds like a freight train, I glance to my left and I feel the most vicious impact, almost like Ray Lewis has clotheslined me and hit me with a 2 x 4. I am disoriented, I smell smoke and I panic. I cannot get out the driver’s side door, too much damage. I rip my seat belt off and climb out the passenger side door, still not sure where I am or what just happened. I get out and the most confused I have ever been in my life (that is saying something) there is no car to be found. I start to think, “am I dreaming?” I know I was just hit by something and where is it? There is nothing and no one. After a few seconds and me evaluating my situation I realize my body is shook up and this could of been much worse but not sure how much worse until…

Bystander from the across the street comes to see how I am and leaves me with these words I will always remember, “Hey man, I saw it all from across the street and you my friend are lucky to be alive.” It was real at the point. This could of been it. It could of been my last workout, my last client and my ride on earth. But thankfully the car that hit me, going at 80 mph so the guy said, only got me at the corner of the driver’s door instead of the middle, where it would have T-boned me and I wouldn’t be writing this email. I survived with very minor injuries compared to what could of happened. The driver was never found and was probably drunk, as he/she was so out of control they probably had no idea what happened. Still yet, I am alive and will be able to continue life as I always have…except I have a new found appreciation for time.

You see tomorrow is not promised, hell today is not promised. You never know when its your time to go. So why do we waste time not doing the things we want to do in this world? Or why do we waste time being with people who do not make us better? Or even more importantly why do we put off doing the things that make us happy? It could all be over tomorrow. Your time is not promised. I was not even driving my car, I was parked at an intersection, patiently waiting for my turn to go home and I was violently hit by a car that could of killed me. But it didn’t.

I write this to you all today because every situation we go through in life should teach us about ourselves. Life is not perfect, we are not perfect and one day this will all come to end. I will leave you with this advice:

Leave it all on the field

If you want to do something, now is the time to do it. Not tomorrow. Not next week. NOW! What are you waiting for? There is literally no excuse you can come up with for why you aren’t chasing your dreams. You will not live forever, but you legacy with people will.

Leave something to be remembered for

Not to be morbid but I thought about my funeral the last couple of days. What would people say about me? How many people would be there? This may sound negative to a degree but I cant help but think about it. I still have time to make a legacy for myself and every day counts. Make every day count for yourself. Its not a popularity contest, you know who means the most to you and who will remember you when you are gone. Leave your best for them to remember.

Don’t waste time on people who do not belong

If someone does not add value to you, they are a detractor and they need to go. Not everyone belongs in your life. Surround yourself with people who push you, who add value to you, who will remember you when you are gone. Money and possessions come and go but when you die, your memory with people and how you affected them will carry the longest. Ditch the negative and embrace the positive.

The time is now. What are you waiting for?

No apologies. No regrets. Just greatness.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Parking Lots

jyb_musingsWhen you are in a parking lot and not paying attention when going to your car and the car parked next to you looks like your car, it is easy to walk up and try to open the door of the wrong car.

When that happens, of course, the door stays locked, you immediately realize your mistake and you have a good laugh at yourself.

But tonight I took it to the next level. Coming out of a Thortons I lackadaisically wandered over to the wrong silver sedan in the parking lot and tried to open the driver’s door. And did. The door not only opened but the driver was still sitting in the car and was talking on his cell phone.

In fact, he tried to hold his door shut when I opened it and shouted at me, “I’m still in the car. This is somebody else’s car.”

And, just like when there isn’t a driver still in the car, I immediately realized my mistake and had a good laugh at myself. And the driver still in his car had a good laugh at me too.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Lost Baggage

jyb_musingsWhen you arrive home at the airport at 11:30pm after a long cross country flight and discover that the airline left one of your family’s three pieces of luggage in Dallas, it is easy to feel frustrated and angry.

But I try to avoid that selfish and petty inclination by keeping a broader perspective and reminding myself of all the positive things going on in my life right now to counter-balance this momentary and small inconvenience.

For example, we are coming home from a nice family vacation. We made it home safely. Our car started on the first turn of the key. We all have our health. And, besides, all of my things are in the two bags that made it home.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Exciting Announcement

jyb_musingsI am not doing this to brag. But I just considered, in my mind, running a 5K race —someday. And meant it. Not for sure. But meant it in the sense of “I’m kinda serious this time. I could actually see it maybe happening. It’s only, like, 3.1 miles.” In that sense.

Admittedly, this isn’t a definitive proclamation. And, no, it is not a Facebook announcement about something significant I recently achieved. But it is about something. In the past when I would think about running a 5k race one of these days, I never seriously believed it would ever happen. But this time, just now tonight, when I thought about one day running a 5K race —sometime in the next few years—I could see it “possibly happening.” Not for sure. Not even “more likely than not.” Heck, maybe only a 5% chance of actually occurring. But that is something. And maybe even closer to a 7% or 8% chance of running a 5K. And that was enough to get me excited. Excited enough to think seriously about it and knowing that even though it is unlikely, it is still possible that it could happen. 

And that is what I am announcing tonight on Facebook.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: My ridiculously amazing experience!

jyb_musingsI just landed…you heard me right, “landed!!” Because I flew. I have been flying…high up in the air…at wicked fast speeds ….and flew over 1000 miles —that’s right, 1000 miles!! –and all in just under 2 hours!!

We landed in cold, icy and foggy conditions. Giant wheels came down underneath the airplane at just the right time and the pilots, who were responsible for about 120 lives, calmly and smoothly landed the giant flying contraption and we all lived. 

I know I have experienced this very same thing many times. But this time I was really conscious of it and paying attention. And aware of how truly amazing it really is!

And the entire mind-boggling trip cost less than two shirts and a belt I could have bought at the airport.

This flight was much better than any two shirts and a belt I have ever bought.

One man sitting 2 seats in front of me missed the whole thing because he hadn’t flown before and threw up in a complimentary bag the entire flight. He was paying close attention just like me and it must have just blown his mind –even more than it did mine. I hope he tries again.

I met the pilot as I got off the plane. He was about 15 years younger than me but real responsible looking with short well-groomed hair and not a bead of sweat on his forehead. If I had his job I would have looked more like the guy 2 seats in front of me. I wanted to say, “Sir, that was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.” But I didn’t because I forget to remember a lot of amazing things I experience.

This was certainly one of those experiences! I just said, “Thanks” to the pilot.

And the most amazing part of all is that all I had to do was think about what I was doing for a few minutes rather than taking it for granted.

I would tell you how I am going to get home from the airport, but I doubt you would believe that either.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: My Ode to Airports

jyb_musingsAirports seem to be a good place to be if you are an asshole and want to go undetected.

Airports have lots of food to eat that neither tastes good nor is good for you nor is affordable. You don’t get that combination anywhere else I can think of.

Airports are a great place to buy books you will never read. And would never have bought if you hadn’t been stuck in an airport.

Airports are places where you can shop for things you don’t need and would otherwise never consider buying –and pay twice as much for them as you would anywhere else if you did decide to buy them for some inexplicable reason. And yet buying these things in airports still makes you feel a little bit better on the inside.

Airports are in-between places. And no one likes to admit they are in an in-between place. Especially when they are at an in-between place that looks like an in-between place.

At the departing airport you see people who look just like you that you are leaving behind, and that makes you sad. But you also sense that the place you are going is going to be a better place –just by looking at the people in your airport. And that makes you happy.

But when you arrive at your destination you can tell that the new place isn’t going to live up to your expectations. And you can tell by looking at the people in the arriving airport —who also look just like you do. And that makes you sad again.

Airports are places where women don’t always wear make-up. And men don’t notice because men get to scratch and pick in otherwise off-limit areas when they are at airports. And secretly believe if they wear shorts, white socks and black dress shoes in an airport nobody can really see what they are wearing. Not even the women still wearing make-up.

Airports are a good place to pick up fashion tips if you want to know what looks good when you are exhausted, irritable, impatient, bored, sweaty and have just over-eaten —and are about to lose your cover as an asshole.

And airports are a terrible place if you want to plug in and recharge the things that normally help prevent you from being an asshole.

And airports, best of all, are a place you can feel almost invisible as you watch tens, hundreds, maybe even a thousand people pass by as you as you pass judgment on their most human follies and foibles and momentary inadequacies. While feeling certain that no one else in the airport would even consider doing that to you. As you quickly look down to make sure you aren’t one of those guys who is wearing shorts, white socks and dress shoes and thinks he’s invisible.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Zone Discrimination

jyb_musingsI was having a friendly and mutually respectful conversation with a gentleman I just met at my airline departure gate this morning.

That is, until we started boarding.

We were about to exchange business cards — you know that moment when you meet someone new and you each sense that the other is possibly of the same or higher status than you —and worth not only meeting but keeping track of. But instead of asking for each other’s business card, our chummy conversation was rudely interrupted by a loud voice over the speaker announcing all Gold Members of some exclusive credit card could board now.

We paused at the interruption and smiled at each other before trying to resume our conversation –but that lasted only a few seconds. Then came another thunderous announcement. This time that Zone 1 could now board. My new friend chirped, “Oh, that’s me.” And added, “Are you in Zone 1?”

I looked at my boarding pass and couldn’t find my zone but had a sinking feeling I was assigned to a different — and lesser zone— and that our newly formed friendship was more fragile than I thought.

“Hmmm.” I mumbled. Acting like there must have been some sort of mistake with my boarding pass. I shook my head and shrugged. We shook hands and he left. No business cards were requested or exchanged. All I could do was stare at the ground while my former friend strode confidently up to the ticket counter to check in and board our flight.

I was too ashamed to tell him I was not only NOT in Zone 1 –but was, in truth, assigned to Zone 5. In fact, after the announcement for boarding Zone 4 was made (in a noticeably softer and almost apologetic tone), there was a long delay before they finally announcing, “All other Zones may board now.”

That was me — “my Zone.” There were only a handful of us. We sized each other up quickly. No one seemed to want anyone else’s business card. But then something strange happened. Even though I didn’t feel like asking for anyone’s business card (and no one wanted mine), I started to feel that these were “my people” –whatever Zone number we had been assigned to. And we needed to stick together. Especially against the assholes who think their Zone is better than ours.

I started to resent the guy I was talking to earlier who was boarded in Zone 1. Who the hell did he think he was anyway? He wasn’t better than me—or better than any of us in the “remaining Zones.” He was just an ordinary guy who maybe got a few more lucky breaks. That’s all.

In fact, he started to seem like he was mostly a poser — a fraud I didn’t trust—and I didn’t even want his business card anymore. Or to be in his boarding Zone.

I am OK just the way I am . Maybe it just took this flight boarding experience for me to realize it. And so was everyone else I was waiting with who was still hoping to board the plane and not get bumped.

We looked at each other again. We may me in the “remaining Zones” –but that was OK. We weren’t defined by our boarding Zone. As far as we were concerned, we actually felt sorry the poor bastards who “needed” to board in Zone 1 to feel OK about themselves. They must be really insecure.

Then the airline ticket counter person lifted the microphone and announced my name. She explained to me —but in a voice loud enough for my people to hear — that there had been a mistake with my ticket and that I was allowed to board now ahead of everyone else in the “remaining zones.”

I was all alone again.

And thought about asking for the business card of that Zone 1 guy again —if he saw me get on the plane ahead of everyone in “the remaining Zones.”

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Flight Attendant Revenge

jyb_musingsI am on a flight right now and not speaking to my flight attendant. She asked me twice to turn off my “mobile device” and then checked to make sure I hadn’t turned it back on as she walked past me a third time before take off. And she said it to me in a really stern and authoritative way that made me feel like I was talking in class in 2nd grade, like the time Ms White at Wilder Elementary pulled me several feet out of my chair by my hair — in front of the whole class.

She doesn’t know I’m not speaking to her. She thinks I didn’t even notice her sassiness and that I was glad to have her remind me to turn off my cell phone before we start taxiing.

I would never want to do anything to endanger any flight I am on. I have volunteered many times to sit by the exit door in case of an emergency. She probably doesn’t even know that.

To get even with her, I am squinting my eyes at her while she isn’t looking. And thinking of the term “Stewardess” instead of “Flight Attendant.” But I know that is probably hitting below the belt, even though I am only saying it in my mind.

Oh brother! Now the guy two seats in front of me —who turned off his mobile device after she asked the first time —is joking around with the flight attendant and she is being all chummy with him. Teachers pet! And it is no accident he is just two seats away from me. She is trying to rub it in.

Here she comes with the beverage cart, I just shook my head “No thanks” when she asked if I wanted a beverage. Even though I am thirsty. I didn’t speak a single word. Silent treatment. I even let her look at my computer screen while I wrote this post. The font was too small to read but I think she knew she had crossed a line earlier with me by the way I gave such a pouty, wounded non-verbal “No thanks” to her free beverage offer.

And just because I am posting this on Facebook doesn’t make me petty. Seriously. I was already petty long before this. I just hope we both learned a useful lesson from this experience. Actually, I really hope only she did.

Put it this way, she’s just lucky they aren’t serving lunch on this flight for me to politely and non-verbally decline. Even though I am really hungry.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Car Talk

10386276_10154786290645515_466084964000015363_nPhew!!

Getting into my car this morning after grabbing coffee and noticed the ominoua 5-5-5 on my car clock

I gasped for a split second and then remembered it was 6-6-6 I want to avoid.

That was a close call.

Looks like it’s going to be an okay new week after all.

And one more reason it pays to get up an hour earlier than usual.

===

 

jyb_musingsI don’t like rainy days

Because how good a parking space I can find will have far too much bearing on how I feel about the rest of the universe today.

 

===

In my experience when someone asks me to “Meet them halfway” they usually mean halfway between their driveway and their door.

 

===

I think there are too many self-help books on how parents can better cope with having adolescents for children.

And not enough self-help books on how adolescent children can better cope with having grown ups for parents.

Erica and Matt Chua: Motorcycle Maintenance in Vietnam

Number one tour guide in Vietnam?  Me.  Being your own tour guide can save you money, but could present you with unexpected adventures such as needing a quick repair job.  When we got to Mui Ne Beach I saw that the town was a straight line along the beach, a very long line.  It was roughly 20km roundtrip to see Mui Ne and another 40km roundtrip to Phan Thiet.  To tour both Mui Ne and Phan Thiet would be about $30 USD, but renting a motorcycle was $10.  Quick math and motorcycle experience made it a clear choice, rent the bike.

I gave LOCAVORista the full Mui Ne tour and continued to Phan Thiet.  I made it 3/4 of the way through the city tour and thought, “I hope this thing holds out, I am a long way from where we started.”  Within 5 minutes I felt the rear end shimmy as the engine began to cut out.   Immediately I made LOCAVORista get off the bike and asked, “Is it flat?”  She laughed and responded, “Completely”.

I walked the bike over to the repair shop and they immediately started speaking to me in Vietnamese, because they, as everyone here, thinks that I am Vietnamese.  Irregardless of what I may look like to them I had no clue what was going on.  This clearly was a repair shop but they were saying no and pointing.

Read the rest of…
Erica and Matt Chua: Motorcycle Maintenance in Vietnam

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