I made a good friend out of my neighbor and he’s one of the kindest and welcoming guys you could ever meet. Almost every Sunday, when I am leaving church I see my friend Cinco. You can find him on the streets of San Bruno Ave in San Francisco. It seems like every time we are saying our goodbyes at church, he is getting ready to greet us outside. I know that I can’t wait to see him. Who would have thought a homeless man could be so encouraging?
Honestly, I could do a way better job following up with his needs and wants. I did, however, buy him a sick pair of boots from Nordstrom Rack. Lately, all he has been asking for is some blankets and some food. His leg gives him a lot of pain that he can barely walk to get himself food. I’ve been getting a little lazy lately and just end up giving him cash. But one weekend I had a little time so we started chatting. I asked him what kind of music he was listening to, so we started talking about Wu-Tang clan, then we started chatting about movies like Pacific Rim. Then, finally, we started talking about food. We talked about how tacquerias are the best but burgers are cool too.
Being gluten-free is a curse, but also a blessing. I find myself not eating out as much since I can barely have anything. Gluten is in most breads, pastas, and it’s even in soy sauce. I haven’t seen my friends at Panda Express for months and I hope they miss me just as much as I miss them. One of the sweet glutenous things that I do miss is Carl’s JR. That’s definitely my guilty pleasure and, yes, I do feel guilty throwing away my Carl’s JR bags when I’m in public. Just leave me alone. But my love for Carl’s JR came up in my conversation with Cinco. I asked him if he’s ever been and he told me that he always wanted to try the Double Western Bacon Burger.
On that day, I had decided that I wanted to be a blessing to him. I went home, completely wiped out from serving at church all day. I took a quick break then finally mustered the energy to sit in the drive-thru and ordered a lettuce wrapped thick burger (#shoutout to CJs for the gluten-free option) and also, of course, the Western Bacon Double Cheeseburger. Jealousy came up out of my heart until I caught myself. This is for him, I thought.
Finally, with that little brown bag of happiness, I parked my car in front of his “home”, which is a bunch of blankets and a tarp, and walked out and was greeted with his warm welcome, “Hey Joseph!” You would never know he was in pain. I told him that I brought food and I asked if I could sit next to him. He told me he would try and eat it since his stomach hurt, but it was exactly what he wanted. It even had the onion rings, he said.
When he was trying to eat, I could see him shaking every time he lifted a fry towards his mouth. He tried eating his burger but had to put it away because his stomach couldn’t take the food. I was just eating my food while he couldn’t stop shivering from being wet from the rain the past few days.
As I was eating my burger, which would usually taste amazing, it kind of just made me sick. The meat tasted bland and it was incredibly dry, definitely not CJ’s best work. Finally, I decided I couldn’t eat it anymore and I was about ready to walk a few hundred feet to the nearest trash can to throw my burger away then I realized that at my feet was a grown man laying on the ground in front of me whom probably never knows when his next meal is coming. I thought my friend Cinco would love to eat this. So I offered and without even thinking he accepted.
It scares me to think that we are so quick to throw away the blessings that we have in life. But it scares me even more that we sometimes throw away even the gifts we are given. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself.
I love having an answer when people ask me, “How did you get into fitness?” One of the first things I tell them is that I’ve always loved playing sports and games ever since I was young, but working out and taking care of my health was probably the only thing that I held onto. Many people say that your purpose is hidden in the things that you have loved ever since you were a kid. I happen to believe in that as well. After working out in the gym, I quickly saw results and became even more passionate. It started to make more sense when I heard Cal Newport say, “Passion emerges from mastery.” Now I love learning about nutrition, anatomy, and whatever else might help my clients. There are times when I teach a class or have a great personal training session when I just know that this is actually what I should be doing. But there was a time when I walked away from it all and I wanted to.
“Passion emerges from mastery.”
I started to notice there were a lot of big egos in fitness and it really turned me off. I grew weary of this super macho and competitive persona and just wanted to leave so I worked as a tech recruiter for a few months. Even though I excelled at what I did, I knew that it wasn’t for me. Nothing against recruiting; there were times when I loved the thrill and I loved building relationships but I think if I chose any other 9 – 5 job, I still would have left. I know working in fitness truly brings me joy and that’s what my heart was longing for the whole time.
When I returned I started working at O2 BodyFit and was around some of the best leaders I have ever experienced. The members were always encouraging and I could truly see community. We had a really fun team of coaches as well. I also started working at Nfnite Strength and the skill level of the trainers there constantly drives me to want to grow more. I’ve never been so passionate about fitness and my own personal growth. It just feels right. I think we need to realize that the gifts we are given are given specifically to us.
I’m not saying that you need to quit your job to be happy. That was just what I knew that I needed to do. This testimony is a testament that we should never give up on the things that we love because those talents and passions are the things that can give us more life than any type of material you could ever own. Don’t chase dreams that don’t belong to you but instead fill your life with the things that bring you life. Sometimes all you need is to realize what you were already given and make a choice to do what fulfills you. Sometimes the most selfless thing you can do is to be selfish because when you take care of yourself you can finally give more to others.
“Life is not about avoiding death, but choosing to really live.”