1st In 1st


Recently, I decided to record all the “firsts” in my life. Time passes. And what do you know? Memories fade. Details become fuzzy. Last Thursday, omw from the UK to the USA. I flew first class. For the first time. My curiosity about what happens behind those curtains was finally satisfied. We’ve all done it. Craned our necks. Trying to get a glimpse of how the “other half” flies. Today I found out. Thanks to a family member with connections.

At 7:15 am, I arrived at Heathrow airport. Bleary eyed from lack of sleep. As the cab driver unloaded my suitcases, I cast a long look at them. Briefly wondering how I managed to stuff almost two years of my life into two. And a carry on. On a whim, I decided to hire a porter to tote the heavy, red monsters inside. A luxury yes. But then again, I blamed it on wanting to have the total experience. True.

Here is what yours truly will remember:

  • Check in to security: 5-10minutes.  I was over by 2 kg; however, the attendant was kindly waived the charges.
  • We boarded first. As soon as I walked in the cabin, help was offered with my carry-on and hand luggage.
  • Seconds after taking my seat, a flight attendant approached with a choice of OJ and Champagne. Guess which one I decided on? Another placed a menu on my table to take my order for the 3 course lunch.
  • Oversized seats. Which reclined into a full flat-bed. Quilted duvet, full size pillow. Ample leg room with foot rests.
  • In flight entertainment. Oversized screens. New releases.TV. Extensive library of music. Games. Language learning. Noise cancelling headsets. USB port and electrical outlets.
  • Food. I gained 5lbs. Honestly. Real cutlery, silverware, modern linens. Salt and pepper shakers. For the main course, I settled for the pan seared chicken breast with barbecue onions, scallion mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables. Several rounds of breads. Wines. Etc. An hour before landing, we were presented with more food choices, of salads or sandwiches.
  • We were spoiled rotten. Every possible whim catered to: warm peanuts, hot towels to clean our hands. Twice. During “down time”, the flight attendant stopped by a time or two to check on us. We didn’t want for anything. We were also offered warm cookies with either juice or milk. About an hour before landing, more food: sandwiches or salad with all the trimmings.
  •  It was my 6th  time on a transatlantic flight in two years. And for the first time, I didn’t feel as though I somehow made it through a boxing match with Tyson.
  • Deplaning and immigration was a breeze. Luggage also came off the carousel first.

One last note; one of the flight attendants is a human version of a tree trunk. No doubt, a wrestler in his down time. It was comical to see him with bread rolls politely asking: “Would you like another roll ma’am?”. Then again,  I awoke from my nap. Looked over. And saw him curled in a fetal position, wearing an eye mask, fast asleep. I won’t forget that image.

It will be hard to fly coach again. Knowing just beyond the thin curtains, the “others” are receiving royal treatment.  Coach tickets can cost a small fortune. Many drive. Take the train. Or coach. Because of the exorbitant cost of flying. That night I thought to myself: why can’t all of us be treated this way when we fly?

Well, then. On with life.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

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WARNING: Your-Time-Has-Expired!


In my post about having No Regrets , I alluded to my horoscope being correct. Call me cheesy. Now, I can’t resist glossing over them. Just to be sure. Yep. True.Uh-huh :). In days, I’ll be back on US soil. While writing this post, I read it again, here goes:  “You’re heading home in one way or another. You may be on your way to a reunion, or you may just be finding a place that is more comfortable and will work better for you in the long run”. Coincidence? Stroke of luck? Truth? I’ve got to leave this stuff alone. I tell you.

Throughout our lives, there will be times when we have to move on. Close chapters of our lives. We feel it in our souls. However, before we got to that point, we’ve tried many things. Perhaps, ignored the possibility the universe tried to warn us. That things might not turn out the way we envisioned. But we had to know. In my case, I paid no attention to the rumblings of friends. Family. And honest-to-goodness well wishers. I didn’t want to have any regrets. As in choosing to stay in the UK beyond my degree completion. Returning to the US without knowing how things would turn out in the UK, was a no-no. I gave it a fair shot.The time has come .

After the mind numbing process of applying for and getting my BRP, a job followed a month later. In the beautiful and magical city of Bath. Went through a month-long training. After a week in the hot seat, I knew I wasn’t going to be happy there. May 14th : first day on the job/training. July 2nd: resignation handed in. Yep. It was dizzyingly fast. Other factors, not job related, were also at play. One day, I said to myself: “It doesn’t have to be this way”. Throughout my life, I’ve wasted untold amounts of time. Energy. And resources. On things. People. And situations which killed my spirit. No more. I can’t replace these things. But I wont lose anymore.

My UK adventure is over. This stage of my life will soon be behind me. The time expired. To say the least. The UK has a lot to offer in terms of culture, history, education, and some of the best-mannered people I have ever met! Maybe one day I will return. But for now, its time to regroup. Sort out the next year. Before returning to school. For the last time.

This experience has reiterated a lesson I learned years ago. Only you will know when it’s time to move on. No one can make the decision for you. Whether it’s from a relationship. A job. A place of abode. Whatever. People need time to come to terms with themselves. And situations. It’s amazingly easy to stand by. And make judgments. When we have no earthly idea. I was reminded of this now more than ever.

One final note; sometimes, it’s with the best intentions we dole out advice to loved ones, friends, and coworkers. Sometimes solicited. Others not. We think we have a clue. When we don’t. I’ve done it. More recently. I championed a cause for a family member to remove herself from a place and situation. In my own distorted perception, it was the best decision for everyone. I mean why couldn’t she see it? Sadly enough, it was me who couldn’t! Because, I was not walking in her shoes. No. I was on the outside looking in with my rose-colored glasses. Not realizing that the grass on the other side was actually artificial turf. BTW, she chose to remain.

Until we’ve walked a mile in another person’s shoes, we cannot judge.  And when you do, it doesn’t matter anymore, because you already have the darn shoes!. Now my time has come. For new adventures. Beginnings. Friendships. Relationships. Education. I look forward to it with the gusto and challenge life will undoubtedly offer. See you on the other side of the pond. Soon.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

It’s.Yours. Own.It


Until a few years ago, I relied on others for self acceptance. And self-love. I worked hard for this. I was like a piano in the hands of an accomplished pianist. Dramatic changes have since occurred. Hello there. I woke up. Determined not to be anyone’s prisoner. Not to a situation. Bad judgment. Nada. I accepted me. Loved me. My mistakes.Weaknesses. Limitations. Failures.Talents. Abilities. The entire lot. I learned if someone has a problem with me, it’s their problem. Not mine!

This post is for those who haven’t found their niche. Still trying to figure how to go about this strenuous journey. Of doing what it takes to love themselves.They cannot look in the mirror, on any given day, and say with conviction: “I am of worth. I am an amazing person. I love me. And no one can take that away”. It’s been an uphill struggle to be happy in their own skin. Many among us strongly believe if we looked, dressed, and acted differently. Had more money. A better job. Achieved a higher SES. Get over past hurts…We will be happy. Be complete.

Wrong. This way of thinking needs to stop. Now. It’s time. To say “sayonara” to the people and things, holding you hostage. Literally. To know you are worth more than possessions. More than the last idiot who treated you shabbily. A job which drains your energy. And is slowly and methodically killing your spirit. A relationship that should have ended a lifetime ago. You catch my drift.

Self acceptance is a long, arduous journey. Punctuated by false starts. Sudden stops. Spinning of wheels. Remember: if you are not careful. If, you aren’t mindful your choices. If you don’t make conscious decisions about whom you let into your life. You will slip. Fall. Question your judgment. Choices. Sense of self. The essence of who you are. This is dangerous territory.

It’s not easy to love ourselves is it? After all, others seem to have it together. In every aspect. You? A hot mess. Remember these three pieces of advice: first everyone is fighting a different battle. Second, you know their name, not their story. Third, the grass on the other side might be artificial turf. Do not waste another moment dissecting your failures. Or comparing yourself to another human being. Don’t bother trying to please everyone. You can’t. Stop obsessing over mistakes. And how others will judge you because of them. The voice which whispers you are not good enough. And never will be. Must be silenced. Now.

I fear and realize many will never truly accept themselves. My heart aches. We are all fighting different battles. It’s not fair to make moral judgments. On the flip side, self acceptance is possible. For some the journey might take years. Decades . An entire lifetime. But we have to start somewhere. Recognize our value. Eternal worth. Who we are. We can do this. Self acceptance means loving ourselves. To be selfish enough to try to love another before loving ourselves is untenable. It’s also called cheating.

Accept who you are. Really.Truly.Unequivocably. Everything. All of it. No exceptions. To get started some things must change. Habits. Distorted perceptions. Misfits you continuously allow into your life. Shabby treatment from others. The penchant for getting involved in toxic relationships. Dare I continue? Get on with it. Next month you will be closer than you are today. Closer to liberation. To the indescribable feeling of complete and utter exhilaration at the changes within you.How bad do you want it?

Finally, you are not a carbon copy. You are unique. Compare yourself only to the person you used to be. Live your best life. Love you your nature. Physical characteristics. Strengths. Limitations. Intelligence. Sense of self. Your sexiness. Charm. Inner beauty. Your potential for greatness. Life experiences. Your accomplishments. Innate goodness. Courage. Your will to carry on despite obstacles . When someone tells you are you amazing. Believe them. They see more in you than you do in yourself. Accept you. It’s yours. Own it.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan