Before you join on this 1-day journey with me, let’s address one thing: “What is normal to a spider, is chaos to a fly”. Again, what is normal to a spider, what is very usual and routine to the spider, is outright madness to the fly. By the end of this day, you will have a better idea of whether you are the spider or the fly.
With that, we will start by addressing the fact that just 6 hours before the alarm goes off on this day, armed with a sterilized medical kit and a tough decision, I carefully and painfully removed the remaining third of my left big toenail. I had to choose between leaving it hanging partially attached, or removing it. The dead nail is due to wearing such small shoes (Size 9s and 10s for shoots/workouts when I’m a natural size 14 because size 9 is the sample size most frequently provided) and being hit or stepped on during competition. This could easily be chaotic to some, but it is normal for me as it’s happened about 10 times throughout my sports career. So through this day, the left foot is throbbing with each pulse of my heartbeat but it’s honestly not near as bad as this probably sounds. Now, on with my day…
Clear across the room my “Muh Fuggin LIFE!” alarm rings me awake (across the room so it forces me to get up from bed rather than the old bedside-reach-and-snooze routine). I’m up, head straight to the shower.
Neck, shoulder and back stretch while a hot shower rains on me like a tropical filtered waterfall.
I write my “Todays 3” list with dry erase marker on bathroom mirror (the top three most impactful goals I will accomplish today…visualizing these, disciplining myself to accomplish at LEAST these 3 is critical to success and my personal growth).
Pack a backpack with all outfits for the day (work uniform as an Airline Agent at PDX, plus proper client attire for today’s modeling gig which happens to be NIKE, and workout gear for the gym after that).
Then I layer up, warm up the motorcycle and put rubber on pavement by 5am.
Clock in and read whatever book I’m studying at the time until 0530. I set 2 week deadlines for myself to finish a book so any down time whether at work on break or waiting my turn at the barber shop, I like to read. Two week deadline; I did it all through college, why stop there? I’m currently reading “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. An incredibly eye-opening read on America’s prison and justice system. Also part of Mark Zuckerberg’s book list he’s read this year.
I check the stock market and any stock symbols I’m eyeing. SAVE. STUDY. INVEST. REPEAT. Lessons learned in my previous career in the investment industry. The sooner you start, the better, thanks to compounding.
Then I spend the next 6 1/2 hours generating as many smiles and laughs as I possibly can while sending people from all walks of life to and from Portland International Airport. (A lot more challenging to earn 6am smiles than 6pm smiles. Example: *passenger grunts* “it’s 6 o’clock in the morning, why the hell are you so chipper?!”…me: “because I woke up, felt the floor and that’s a hell of a lot more than many people received today”….*passenger smiles*….*I mentally high-five myself and tally one smile up for the day*).
Life at the airport is refreshing. I’m sure I’ve seen more genuine embraces and deeper loving kisses than any wedding venue ever has. I’ve also seen tears squeezed through strained tear ducts into the sorrowful eyes of those on their way to say goodbye one last time to a dying or newly deceased father, brother or mother. Refreshing to me isn’t always smiles, but refreshing is clearing my windshield to view life clearly and death is, in fact, part of life. So these moments refresh my mental focus to embrace the moment even though I’m constantly moving and working toward higher goals. Chaos to some, normal to others.
Clock out of work, hop on the motorcycle, fill the gas tank and head to the other side of town to model for 2 separate Nike shows today.
During the ride, I’ve got headphones in and I’m speaking out loud as I follow along in listening to my next lesson in learning Mandarin Chinese. I arrive, park, head backstage.
It’s only just passed noon and I’ve already been awake for more than 8 hours. So I have to forgive myself when I’m waiting backstage for show time, reading my book, and fighting to stay awake. I almost nodded off to dreamland a little too hard and violently jolt, catching myself just before falling face-first out of my chair. Didn’t get much sleep last night. We’ve all been there. I shake it off. Not this time Nap Monster!
Finished first Nike presentation to global buyers without falling on my face. Currently sitting backstage responding to availability emails from my hardworking team at SLU regarding next week.
Additionally, after exchanging emails regarding an acting class series which starts next week, I just paid and enrolled. (I’ve never acted traditionally a day in my life, so this will be a great challenge and more-so to find out if I’ll even like acting anywhere near as much as I enjoy modeling)
Round 2 of food catering is set to arrive soon, so until then I will study Mandarin via audio lessons on my phone. Once food drops, it’s time to feast like I’ve never even smelled a bowl of salad before.
SURPRISE!!! Second show gets canceled so I’m off early and have time to pay a quick visit to the team at SLU (it’s been a while since I showed them some love and appreciation for what they do).
On my way to SLU I’ve got headphones in, hit a couple wheelies on the motorcycle, because I’m captivated by wheelies and they get the blood flowing a bit. A self-induced form of eustress (like stress, but a good kind of stress to the body and mind). I finish up the Mandarin lesson just about 4 minutes before arriving at SLU offices. Perfect. It’s now 5pm and I’ve been up and going nonstop for 13 hours, with a total of 10 toes and only 8 toenails (I lost my other big toenail 2 weeks ago).
I spend about 5 minutes at SLU to thank the team for all of their hard work and maintaining pleasant demeanors when they get put into tough spots trying to balance clients and talent like a stack of bowls on a stick. Also, for the hugs. I’m a hugger. This team gives great hugs.
Just in front of the SLU office, I’m gearing up to ride home when a car stops in the middle of the open street directly in front of my motorcycle. There’s zero traffic on the street. Window rolls down and the driver, a woman, says, “I just wanted to let you know that this is the first time I’ve ever stopped my car…*2 second pause*…just to check someone out” and smirks a mischievous smirk. For a split second, I’m flattered, and awkward because I never really know how to respond to being hit on. Then I cringe as my eyes shift from hers and lock on to the eyes of the other passenger in the car. A young boy no more than 3 or 4 years old sitting just behind her starring me straight in the eyes from his car seat as if to say, “Your move big fella”. Yikes!…..I think this is what they mean when they say “Keep Portland Weird”.
Anyway, I thank her, shake it off then I’m on the road again. This time listening to meditation music in the headphones as I meditate while I riiiiiiiiide.
Meditation is usually how I gain the most focus and come up with things like my 2-week deadline for reading books, or what exactly is most important for me to focus on since I find beauty and joy in literally any and everything, making it hard to focus on any one thing. (I’ve been told that you go farther if you treat life like a rifle shot rather than a shotgun blast).
I arrive home to a few love notes and a delicious, healthy, lean meal cooked by my roommate, who just so happens to be my kickass girlfriend. Although this day is not necessarily routine, it is normal. Normal in the sense that I don’t have an hour-by-hour daily routine. It’s nearly impossible to have that with the modeling life. However, these love notes and meals are very much normal and consistent. (I know, I know…I’m one lucky S.O.B. and believe me when I say that I count my blessings; often during my meditation sessions).
I feast, and then I finally give in to the nap monster. 45 minutes later and I’m up and out the door to meet my friend and former Jiu Jitsu training partner at the gym.
We pick weights up, put weights down, repeat. Toss our bodies to and fro focusing on full control, then hit what we call our “Executive Workout” with protein shakes in hand. I change my workout focus and cycle about every 2-3 months, but right now, I workout full body with weights every other day and days in between I focus on mental growth (i.e. Mandarin, reading, etc.).
Back to the Executive Workout. The Executive Workout is the workout you see CEOs and other top executives doing…….lounging around in the hot tub chatting away with fellow hot-tubbers. Highly relaxing and we nailed it! (after a killer full-body workout of course).
10 o’clock, I leave the gym, fill my car with gas, take a quick shower, then eat again and catch up with my best friend and California musician Anthony Francisco. He is also a major role-player in my team. The team of individuals that you may call my “inner circle”. My foundation. The core group of people that I trust have my best interests at heart with anything they say, do, or suggest. I try to contact one of these team members at least once every other day. If you don’t yet have a team like this, a solid trustworthy team, I suggest you immediately focus your energy on building one starting with a good mentor.
I’ve been at it for 20 hours now, with the exception of a 45 minute nap. No television. No time wasted away. I’ve achieved 2 of the 3 goals for “Todays 3” which was to workout and study Mandarin. The other 1 is a combination of reading and journaling.
I journal either first thing in the morning before I even roll out of bed (which I did not do this morning); or the last thing at night. I’ve found it to be an incredibly fulfilling release for me to write. Writing helps solidify things we learn or experience every day. It clears the mind for a good nights’ rest, or when done in the morning, clears the path to ride the wave of your day more smoothly and focused. Plus it’s fun to look back on “your life in your own words” from a year ago, or 5 or 10, and see what you were going through as compared to now. When I look back and read past entries, it usually ends with an awkward laughing sentence similar to “hahahahaWhatTheHellWasIThinkinghahaha”. Good times have been had.
It’s now just a few minutes before 0100 (1am) and I’m finishing up my glass of water (usually tea and popcorn but frankly, I’m not craving either tonight). Now I’ll journal, read, then going to sleep for an 8:30am call time at Nike HQ.
Rather than counting sheep, I’ve found that counting my blessings makes for a much better night of rest. So with that, if you’ve stuck with me throughout this day, I thank you sincerely for being a blessing to me and my journey. I hope that you gained something educational, inspiring, motivational, or just a decent chuckle from a day in my shoes (a day with only 8 toe nails). Whether a spider or a fly, I encourage you to take care, rest well, and dream BIG!
P.S. If you are a fly, or you are a spider, there is a perfect place for you in the world. If anyone makes you feel like there isn’t, then move on. You will find peers that celebrate the things that make your spirit dance freely like nobody is watching….because everyone is busy staring at their phone, so literally, no one is watching. Cheers!