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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Does Time Ever Heal A Broken Heart?

It was funny this morning; I went to the gym earlier than normal and was about to hop in the shower when about four people tried to g chat with me. Normally, the moment I leave home until I am out of the shower and dressed is strictly “me” time. I guess some friends had other ideas. I was a bit short with them simply because I was not fully in the mood for lengthy conversations and needed a shower. But this is all a digression.

A few weeks ago I was home and an ex-girlfriend of mine sent me a text message that she had met some guy who knew a guy I knew. My first thought was “WTF” I don’t care who you meet while interning in New York and even if I did this barely concerns me at all. It was simply unnecessary on her part, but another one of her attempts to “stay friends”. I hate that. This is a girl who I dated a while ago now and we had a number of rough patches and worked through a lot of stuff, almost all of which revolved around her inability to move on from an ex and be a mature person in a relationship. What gets me now is that even after everything and how there were some bad splits; she still wants me to be a part of her life. Now, I wouldn’t mind that if this was a former girlfriend where things ended amicably and there were no hard feelings. That simply is not the case with this girl. I cannot stand her repeat attempts to “stay in touch” with me and have me be her friend. I do not want that. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I do not appreciate someone not getting the picture after all of this time. It is the kind of thing where she would text me when we were at school as if she wanted to hookup but that would all be a tease. It got to the point where I told her that I didn’t want her to talk to me unless she actually wanted to hookup. Other than that I was not interested in seeing or talking to her. That clearly has not stopped her. My hope is that she will finally move on with her life and mature to where she can have a mature and fulfilling relationship with someone. That is my hope, and if she doesn’t mature I pity any guy that is willing to be in a relationship with her. She simply does not get it.

Looking to positive relationships, in the past six months I have had the pleasure of spending time with two girls whom I am good friends with today. Those were not what you would consider full relationships, even if at times they might have seemed as if they were. Instead, they were two people spending time and talking to one another because they enjoyed each other’s company and when the dynamic changed and was no longer what either party wanted, they ended, no hard feelings, just mature young adults resolving differences and accepting the end and moving on. I have a lot of respect for the most recent one who forced me to admit that I knew that the dynamic had changed, it was no longer the same, and that if we didn’t discuss and resolve it, it would only lead to animosity between us. She was 100% correct. It is hard to admit to yourself what you know deep down, but ultimately that is for the best and enables us to be friends today and going forward.

Since this particular ex-girlfriend texted me, I have been doing a lot of thinking about love and how we handle ourselves and our emotions once a long relationship ends. A short relationship can end amicably because neither person has been involved so long that they have completely shifted their life to accommodate the other. The two people can see that it isn’t working and go their separate ways because that is for the best and even if they disagree on that, the emotional investment tends to be such that they can be friends if they understand that even good things have to end. The same cannot be said about a long relationship. Oftentimes people become very emotional invested in their partner and struggle moving on without them. That is not necessarily because they can’t, instead it is because their life shifted and now a main component of that has been removed and they struggle to cope with that fact.

This post is not about people being able to move on from relationships, but about that time doesn’t ever fully heal a broken heart. As you can tell from my large rant about an ex-girlfriend, you know that I still have some very real emotional wounds because of her. I want to see the good in people and so I kept myself invested in a relationship with her long after I should have ended it. My brother hates her to this day, and I don’t blame him, but I don’t hold the same animosity toward her. Instead, I just want to move on with my life and not have to have her continue to try and be a part of my life. What people struggle with is understanding that even if they moved on from a relationship that does not mean that the other person did as well. I would think it is rare to find an ex-couple that are complete friends with each other after having had a long relationship. In my experience, and talking with friends who have had similar experiences, once you care deeply about another person, it is hard to fully heal once things turn sour. I do not believe that time fully heals those emotional wounds. Time helps us cope, but it doesn’t erase the pain and the memories. My high school ex-girlfriend most definitely still feels animosity toward some high school friends because of how things ended between people the summer after graduation. It is like scar tissue, it can cover the wound, but it will never be 100% the same.

Time is important in the healing process, but no matter how many good times were had or the feelings you might still have for someone, you have to pick yourself up and move forward with your life. You cannot wait and hope that they will still want to be in your life. A broken heart may never fully heal, but time will help you cope and find the person who you will love and will not break your heart. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Time as an AEPi: The Importance of Brotherhood and Community

At 5:50AM MST I am departing via Delta to New Jersey for the remainder of the week. I will mostly be in Avalon, NJ with many of my best college friends enjoying one last hurrah before we all begin the next chapter in our lives. What that means for you is that I will effectively be MIA until next week. 

Therefore, I am posting a piece I wrote reflecting on my time as a brother in the Eta Sigma Chapter of AEPi at Georgetown University. I held the titles of: Lt. Master (Vice President), Brother at Large, Master (President), and Pledge Master over the last three years of my involvement. I am the only remaining Eta Sigma brother for the Class of 2011 and I am proud to be an AEPi. Please read this as if it were Monday, May 25, 2011 when it was originally penned:

Two days ago I graduated from Georgetown and a sense of relief swept over me as I crossed the stage and shook President DeGioia’s hand. This relief was not because the university could no longer impact my social experience or because my family and friends were watching, but because I was fully prepared for this moment. I could point to my studies, internship, and friends as the reason, but that was not it. Rather, I felt prepared because of how I have matured at Georgetown and developed the skills to succeed in the world. No experience prepared me for that moment like the Eta Sigma chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi International Fraternity.

When I entered Georgetown I was an arrogant freshman who vehemently believed that they could conquer anything and would one day be a renowned business leader. Nothing is preventing me from accomplishing that goal, but that is not the person AEPi helped me become.

One of my earliest memories of Georgetown is meeting the brotherhood and instantly realizing that they were like me, only a few years wiser. They had similar interests and the wisdom that it would not be an easy road, but the best way to travel it would be with friends, learning along the way. I did not expect to join a fraternity in college; in fact I resisted the idea of it in high school and was even elated at the fact that Georgetown did not have any fraternities. Little did I know that that would change very quickly.

I vividly remember being initiated as a pledge and then inducted into the chapter five hectic weeks later. I survived the pledge process and by the end of my sophomore year was the only AEPi brother left from both my pledge class and the succeeding one. I had a burden on my shoulders. As fortune had it, the chapter was at a crossroads. At the end of the 2008-2009 academic year more than 15 brothers graduated, cutting the chapter’s size in half. There were maybe six seniors, soon to be two, and me as the veteran brothers. I was elected as Master and I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me.

I spent the summer preparing for the Fall and how I would lead the chapter. I attended the national convention and learned as much as possible from previous masters. What I realized is that no matter how much preparation I did, I would not be able to fully adjust to my position until the semester started. As a leader, I had to rely on my brothers to accomplish a fantastic rush and pledge process during both semesters and help the fraternity grow. Recently a current brother told me that without my work as Master, the chapter wouldn’t exist today, or at least would not be what it is. I respect him for the remark, but I disagree. Yes, I had an influence on the chapter’s proliferation at a time where it had only three upperclassmen. However, AEPi is more than one young man taking charge and pushing through his ideas. That simply fails. Instead, it is a brotherhood about working together, learning from one another, and maturing to a stage where you are able to truly lead your brothers by example from any position and one day make a difference in the world.

Whenever I am asked about what made my Georgetown experience special, I pontificate on the people that I met, studied with, and have become lifelong friends with. They are what made college such a valuable and unique opportunity. The brothers and people I met through AEPi were extraordinary in some ways compared to everyone else. They challenged me at exactly the right times to mature and grow as a person and a leader. Without them I would not be the graduate I am today. I saw with my fullest confidence that the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity elevated my college experience because it forced me to challenge my views, strengths, and weaknesses to develop the skills I will need to succeed. The Eta Sigma transformed me and other brothers from ordinary students into extraordinary young men of character and repute who can stand strong and know that they will make a difference and understand what it will take to accomplish that.

Life is about connections and relationships and the ones I forged through my participation in AEPi were critical to their development. I recommend that every brother, current and former, take a minute to reflect on their AEPi experience: what it has meant to them today and how they can make it more meaningful in the future. We should always strive to be better and that can only be done by leveraging the people around us. AEPi provides that opportunity and without it I would not have the support and alumni network that I depend on.

I hope you enjoyed that because AEPi meant a lot to me and I cannot understate the importance of brotherhood and community in my and many collegiate experiences.

In the coming weeks I plan to write about my continued preparations for moving to Miami and beginning law school, my planned road trip across America, and the Republican Presidential candidates.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

America's Favorite Pastime is My Favorite Pastime

One week ago today I was fortunate enough to be at AT&T Park to see the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies square off in the series deciding game. 

Yes, my team, the Giants, won 2-1 after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 8th and getting a 1-2-3 Brian Wilson save. Sitting in the stands, 33 rows from the field (thanks Mom and Bill for the great seats) was unlike any baseball game I have ever been to. I have sat much closer a few times, so close that I could touch the dirt. The atmosphere at the game was electric. I know that is the term announcers love to use to describe a big game, but it truly was. Here were the World Series Champions defending their title and home park against one of their better division rivals. It was a pitching duel with Ryan Vogelsong going 8 strong innings and the Rockies no-hitting the Giants into the 6th inning. You could not have asked for a better or closer game. Each pitch was important and everyone in attendance knew that.

Lou Seal rides a bike before the game.

World Champs!!!

The Beard 
Sweet graffiti in North Beach

It was special being in the stadium because I am from Alamo, CA, a small community in the East Bay in Northern California, and even though I attended more A’s games as a kid, I was and still am a diehard Giants fan. They are my team. I would have given almost anything to have gone to one of the World Series games. I got into the games to such a degree that my roommates and friends couldn’t watch the games with me. Can you tell? I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to these guys.

Watching the game was almost surreal. The fans were incredibly friendly and they all knew they were watching fantastic baseball. 41,000+ fans gathered on a typical San Francisco summer afternoon to watch their team come from behind and continue defending its title.

So given that game, I went two nights ago to see the Albuquerque Isotopes beat the Nashville Sounds 7-6 on a walk-off HR in the 10th. I love AAA games because of how close you can get to the field and the fun atmosphere that is fostered. The Isotopes game was no different, except for the presence of Myron Noodleman, a comedian who travels to minor league parks entertaining fans. To put it bluntly, I am NOT a fan of this wacko.

What I am getting at with all of this about baseball is that America’s Favorite Pastime is My Favorite Pastime. Some days there isn’t anything more peaceful than watching a baseball game in person and just watching. Not getting too involved and allowing your mind to turn off for a few hours and enjoy where you are and what you’re watching. I love baseball. I love being at baseball games and doing just that.

To date, I have been to 10 of MLB’s 30 stadiums (Giants, A’s, Angels, Diamondbacks, Astros, Cubs, Mets, Orioles, Nationals, Braves) and have enjoyed every game; including the game at Wrigley Field this April where I saw the Giants win a rain shortened game in which in literally rained sideways and my brother and I got soaked to the bone. I’d sit in that stadium in the snow to see a game; it is that cool of a place to be. I’ve gone to games this season in the rain, in a suit, World Series champions gear, and everything in between.

Here’s my advice, if you love baseball, go see a game ASAP and just enjoy it. Don’t yell at the ump or any players. Take it in, turn your brain off, and enjoy my favorite pastime. 

My NBA Finals Game 6 prediction is the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heatles 96-89 in regulation.

Dirt Road Anthem - Jason Aldean

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Measuring Stick for One's Life

I was fortunate this Spring to take a class in which Ted Leonsis came and personally addressed the class. He spoke about his life and all that he has accomplished and what it has meant to him. One of the things he harped on was the value of making a “101List”. This is a list of life goals that can be used to measure one’s life or a fun exercise to think about what is important to you and what you want to achieve. I thought about my list and drafted what it would look like today. I have posted it below so you can see what it is like. Any item with a strikethrough is one that has already been completed (17 of 101). You can see Ted’s list by clicking the link.

I Family
Fall in love
Fall in love and get married
Marry once
Have multiple children
Have a healthy son
Have a healthy daughter
Take care of mother
Take care of father
Take care of in-laws
Take care of extended family
Have grandchildren
Have great-grandchildren
Leave trusts for family members
Leave all financial matters in great shape for family members upon my passing

II Finances
Pay off education debts
Purchase and own a home debt free
Net worth of one million dollars, after taxes
Net worth of five million dollars, after taxes
Net worth of ten million dollars, after taxes
Zero personal debt for family
Hold an investment worth one million dollars
Hold investments totaling in five million dollars

III Career
Graduate from law school
Pass the bar exam on my first attempt
Secure a job prior to law school graduation
Make partner in a law firm
Have my own legal practice
Do something I truly love and will enjoy every day
Have a career that includes some work in sports
Blend my business and legal education
Become a highly respected legal professional in my community

IV Sports
Go to a Super Bowl with the 49ers
Go to a Final Four with Georgetown
Go to a World Series with the Giants or A’s
Go to the Stanley Cup with the Sharks
Go to the NBA Finals with the Warriors
Watch a game at every MLB stadium
Catch a foul ball
Go to a World Cup Final
Go to a NBA All-Star Game
Go to a MLB All-Star Game
Go to a NFL Draft
Go to the Olympics
Have a golf game with a handicap of 5 or less
Play Augusta
Play St. Andrews
Play Congressional
Play Pebble Beach
Get a hole-in-one
Go to a Fantasy Camp
Own season tickets to two of the four major US sports
Go to a major golf tournament
Go to a major tennis tournament

V Travel
Go to Mexico
Go to Canada
Go to Brazil
Go to the Caribbean
Sail through the Panama Canal
Sail around Cape Horn
Sail around the Cape of Good Hope
Sail the Caribbean
Sail the Mediterranean
Go to England
Go to France
Go to Spain
Go to Germany
Go to Italy
Go to Greece
Go to Poland
Go to Russia
Go to Israel
Go to Belgium
Go to the Netherlands
Go to Australia
Go to China
Go to Japan
Go to Singapore
Go to Macau
Go to Hong Kong
Go to Egypt
Go on safari in Africa
Go to Antarctica
Go to Bali
Travel the world with my family

VI Miscellaneous
Own a beach home
Own a mountain home
Own a painting worth >$10,000
Commission a family portrait
Forge, maintain, and develop lifelong friendships
Write a book
Live overseas for one year
Swim with dolphins
Swim with sharks
Swim with stingrays
Take a year sabbatical
Become involved in local politics
Retire proud of my career and its accomplishments
Live a fulfilling and rewarding life
Reconnect with my Judaism
Go to the White House
Change someone’s life via a charity

As I allude to with the title of this post, this list can be a measuring stick for your life. However, I prefer to see it as a sense of priorities and what you want to do before you die. Hopefully you will find the introspection this activity provides as beneficial as it has been for me.