Justin Ferriman


One thing that Lorena and I are trying to be open to this year is taking quicker, shorter trips. For example, we are going for less than a week to Portland, Oregon in April (which we are both really looking forward to).

But this month, we took a cross-country flight to Connecticut to visit her sisters, and our nephew for a couple of days – then came right back home. Her parents were also in town, so that of course be nice. Actually, we did something similar last year, but stayed a tad longer.

While on the topic of travel, we are looking at the calendar for other mini-trips to take. Chicago looks like a possible destination as it will be an opportunity to see my brother and his family. I’m sure we’ll sneak Michigan and Mexico in there as well.

Oh, and this was our first time ever taking Alaska Airlines, so it only seemed fitting to include a picture of one of their airplanes. I thought that it would be less crowded for checking in, but it was about the same as Delta (United has been the best experience).

We had to pay an extra $100 for our bag too because it was over 50lbs. Normally the limit is 72lbs on other airlines – so that was a surprise. Aside from that, our experience was good. I would fly with them again.


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In late February, I re-injured my bicep tendon when working out. The pain is in the front of my shoulder where the tendons can get impinged. It's a dull, constant pain, and I lose strength for any pushing motions.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the day after I initially hurt it again, I made it worse by lifting, and then by going to two BJJ classes later in that week. I think a part of me was in denial.

The mental toll of this re-injury has been difficult. I wanted so badly to get into a solid routine with BJJ, but everything was halted before it began.

Fool me twice, shame on me…

I had this injury last year (about this same time) due to overuse of my bicep tendon from a rigorous weight-lifting routine. It knocked me out of all activities for 2–3 months, and I had to give up Muay Thai altogether. Actually, that’s what led me to start BJJ. I didn't do any physical therapy. I just rested, and then slowly started to do things like push-ups as time went on.

I’ve stopped doing any of my normal activities again, but this time I’m doing things a little different. I’m taking a more active role in my recovery so that I can strengthen my body in a way to prevent this from happening again:

  • Physical therapy exercises every day
  • Physical therapy appointment once a week
  • Acupuncture once a week
  • Massages once a week

Each week, I’ll assess how things are going. I can say that so far, I feel a noticeable improvement in the injury. It’s still there, but definitely not as pronounced as it was at the beginning. This is encouraging. Over the next two or three weeks, I’ll slowly increase the length of my physical therapy workouts to see how it holds up.

Going forward, I am completely changing the way that I work out.

The second (more important) part of my recovery is changing my entire outlook on working out so that this doesn't happen anymore.

For my entire life, I’ve always enjoyed pushing my body in various ways. Whether it was with HIIT workouts, or weightlifting, I tried to maximize the time spent. This often meant increasing the intensity.

As I am now middle-aged, I see that these workouts have a greater possibility of causing injury. Possibly due to the intensity and the frequency.

Funny thing is: I don’t even enjoy these kinds of workouts. I do them out of habit more than anything. What I really enjoy are athletic pursuits, like BJJ.

Work out to support my hobby.

Instead of working out to look good, or because it’s the “healthy thing to do”, my focus is now to simply support my ability to do BJJ. This means that I’ll only do some light resistance training on my off days, with the primary goal of strengthening and supporting my body for BJJ class. That’s it.

In addition, I will incorporate specific rest and recovery days (massage and acupuncture). I think this will help me to build a better mind & body connection. My mind has been 25, but my body 39. That disconnect has resulted in these frustrating injuries.

As shitty as this injury recurrence has been, I think the lessons learned will mean that I will enter my forties with solid health & fitness habits that are centered around enabling me to progress in BJJ.


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I’m mentally struggling.

At the end of 2022, I had to stop training Muay Thai because of overuse of my bicep tendon. The pain for this kind of injury runs through the front of the shoulder, and it’s a nagging, dull pain that only gets worse over time.

To get better, I had to stop Muay Thai altogether, and all weightlifting in fact. I couldn’t do anything that would aggravate my bicep tendon.

After a couple of months, it felt better, but I couldn’t go back to my typical weights and boxing routine. So, I changed my workout entirely, which led me to starting Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Well, the injury is back.

A week ago, I was trying a new workout that involved incline pushups, among other things. This new angle put stress on my bicep tendon, which caused that ever-annoying pain to flair up again.

I mistakenly thought I was just a little sore from the workout, so the next day I lifted weights and noticed the pain as well. It was at this point that I should have rested, but I did something to make it even worse.

The following day, I had my trial class at a new BJJ gym. I had been looking forward to this for a month, so I didn’t want to miss it. I had a great class, but as you would imagine, my bicep tendon didn’t take kindly and the pain was even more pronounced in my shoulder. Still, I signed up for the gym after the class.

Two days later, I went for another BJJ class. It was fun, but I was noticeably hindered by the pain in my shoulder. After this class, I went home and iced my shoulder for the first time. The reality was sinking in…

I need to stop all activity.

After that second BJJ class, I knew that I had to cut off all exercise activity that involved my upper body. This has been a significant blow to my happiness for a couple of reasons.

First, I had been looking forward to training BJJ really seriously this year. I even set a personal goal that within 18 months I would reach blue belt. It’s beyond frustrating that I only got two classes in and I have to stop. It’s really hard.

Second, working out is a big part of my life. My entire week is often scheduled with various workouts: BJJ, body weight exercises, lifting weights, going on walks, and various other activities.

Cutting most of these out is like having to take away a part of who I am, what I love, and what I value. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke weed. The high I get after a good workout is my drug. Without it, I go through pretty heavy withdrawals.

Recovery mode… again.

It feels like weeks, but I’m only three full days into my recovery. Any hope I had of this going away as I continue training BJJ is out the window. I’m looking at, most likely, 4–6 weeks before I can start to experiment with upper body exercises.

I’m no longer icing the injury and have switched to heat. I sit in the hot tub at least once a day, take a hot shower, and have a heating pad that I use several times throughout the day as well. I also have started weekly acupuncture, as I believe that helped me last time as well.

But, more than anything, I need to just rest.

So, that is where I am at. I came to write here because I needed to get it out of my head. I’m struggling.


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Earlier this month, Lorena and I flew into Cancun for her childhood friend’s wedding in Playa del Carmen. Unlike the wedding in January, Lorena was part of the wedding party, so she was involved in the entire process leading up to the wedding and, of course, on the day of.

We also saw this as an opportunity to take some time for ourselves.

We ended up staying at the beautiful House of AiA hotel, which describes itself as a wellness retreat. I can agree with that. We got some massages, relaxed on the beach, ordered room service, ate at the vegan-vegetarian restaurants, and participated in a meditation session. It was unlike any hotel I’ve stayed in before.

Dancing by the ocean.

The wedding was on Saturday, and it was really great – the most fun I have personally had at a wedding in Mexico. Lorena knew everyone on the bride’s side because she grew up with most of them. I know that she really enjoyed that part.

The ceremony and reception both took place on the beach, literal steps from the ocean. It was a smaller event, with around 80 people (compared to the ~250 at the one in January). This made it a more intimate evening as we had the chance to interact with everyone.

After the ceremony, we just walked to our tables. As the sun began to set, we ate our meals, talked with others at our table, and prepared for a night full of dancing.

There was a slight negative, unfortunately. I ate something that didn’t sit well with me, and I was throwing up the next day (it wasn’t alcohol, because I didn’t drink). I got over it pretty quickly though, as the hotel had a doctor on site, and gave me some shots to help with the nausea.

A week in Mexico City.

We spent a couple more days enjoying the hotel and weather before we left for Mexico City, where we spent a week with Lorena’s parents, older sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. It was mostly chill, but we did have one day when some family came over for a dinner to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday as well as my own.

I haven’t written much about it lately, but it’s in moments like these that I realize how far I have come with my Spanish. I spoke nearly the entire time with friends and family in Spanish. I’m fluent, but I’m not perfect. That said, with each of these interactions, I get a little bit better.

We are home now, and I must admit that it feels really good. I’m looking forward to getting into a more regular routine here in California.


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Last year, I decided to start taking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes as I was looking for a new outlet in life, and figured I’d learn a useful skill why I was at it. Like most people do when starting something new, I went all-in. I went to class three to four times per week.

During that time, I got my first stripe, and then my second one. However, by the time I got my second, I was feeling a little disenchanted with the school’s program. Not the people, they were great. But the program was becoming boring.

My last class was in October 2023.

There were a few reasons why I stopped going:

  • The distance: the gym was 25-30min away from my home, depending on traffic. This made it hard to go when I was feeling less motivated.
  • The program: This was a Gracie Jiu-jitsu certified training center, and therefore has a very specific program that has to be followed.

Allow me to explain a bit more that second point.

A little about the Gracie Jiu-jitsu method.

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has a focus on self-defensive over sport. I actually preferred this approach initially because I’m not interested in competing, and I was a little intimidated about starting.

However, I later found out that their format is pretty rigid.

There is no sparring (called “rolling”) for the first 8-12 months. Not even 50% positional sparring. This doesn’t come until you have “passed” out of the fundamentals stage, at which point you get a little more sparring.

To move onto this level, you need four stripes, to take each of the 36 classes three times, and then to train for a pretty big test where you demonstrate the 36 in a sequenced progression.

If you pass, you then get a special belt (white with a blue stripe in the middle) and are permitted to some of the higher-level classes that do include some controlled rolling.

Why I cancelled my membership.

For me, the classes became boring due to the repetition and no practical application. Everything was simulated with a non-resisting opponent. This was fine in the beginning, but after 50 hours or so of learning, I wanted an opportunity to apply what I have learned.

For example, if the class was about the rear naked choke, then you had the same class that you had the last time you took that same one. You practice the move with a partner who lets you apply everything without any real resistance. Literally nothing changes. This became pretty boring after a while.

The non-resisting aspect, in my mind, gave people unfounded confidence. I’d train with four stripe white belts who would attempt to teach me all the time. I respected that they had put in more hours than me, but at the end of the day, they were still a novice. They hadn’t even tested their skills with a resisting opponent.

While the instructors were very good at my gym (I liked them quite a bit), the one thing that stood out to me was that all of them would regularly train at other gyms as well. The gym owner got his black belt in the traditional way. Learning, rolling, and competing a little. He didn’t get it from a Gracie certified training center. That was eye-opening for me.

I am starting 2024 at a new gym.

California has no shortage of BJJ options. I did a ton of research and narrowed it down to four that were within 15 minutes of my home (better than the 25-30 of my previous gym).

I’ll spare the finer details, but I chose one that has a smaller number of students, but a high ratio of black belts to white belts.

In my first class, there were five of us:

  • 2 black belts
  • 1 purple belt
  • 2 white belts (including me)

My first day, I did positional sparring with everyone. As a reminder, I didn’t do this even once after six months at my other gym. Sure, the higher belts just toyed with me. I felt like I had a competing chance against the other (more experienced) white belt, but he too was more practiced in rolling.

For me, the combination of instruction (both judo and ground technique), small class sizes, and proximity to my home, all won me over. Plus, the head instructor was really cool. Very personable, knowledgeable, and just a nice guy all around.

At the moment, I’m trying to incorporate two classes per week into my schedule, but hope to do three when time allows.

My goal by the end of the year is to feel more comfortable in the fundamentals, and maybe have a stripe or two on the belt. It’s 18mo to 3yrs to get a blue belt, so I have a long way to go until (or if) that day comes. For now, I’ll just focus on learning.


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Normally when we go to Mexico, it’s for an extended amount of time. This trip was a bit different.

I am on my way back from Mexico City as I write this, after spending just a week in the country. Last weekend, we attended a wedding of Lorena’s classmate from grade school. The wedding itself was about 1.5hrs outside of Mexico City in a town called Cuernavaca. We went with Lorena’s parents and younger sister, as the families are friends.

Our holiday travel has been fast and furious since November, and since that time, we have been battling never-ending colds and fatigue. However, we seem to be on the mend (finally).

In any event, chalk this up as 2024’s first official trip.

We’re on our way back to California today after a two-day delay due to Aeromexico cancelling our original flight. In a few short weeks, we go to another wedding in Cancun!


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Welp, this isn’t something I ever thought I’d do.

Lorena is still battling her Grave’s disease condition, and as part of that, she has been exploring options in her diet. Through a roundabout way, she landed on a whole foods plant based diet.

We watched a documentary together, and afterward talked about what we thought about it. There were very interesting points made about the human health condition and how it is related to what we eat, specifically: the standard American diet.

The documentary makes a variety of cases for eating a vegan diet, so if you’re interested, then give that a watch.

So, I figured I had nothing to lose by giving a vegan meal plan a shot. I’ll miss eggs the most. I have been eating them daily for breakfast for a few years. But, in reality that’s not super healthy in the first place, so it’s a net-positive dropping those out of my food rotation.

In fact, these changes won’t be too hard.

Lorena and I will be on the journey together, so that always helps. I’ve already made a few meals (like cauliflower hot wings) and they were excellent. What is more challenging is finding suitable food options when traveling, or when visiting friends and family.

I’ll report on how it goes after a few weeks.


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Last month, I wrote my yearly reflection blog post, recapping the good and bad that happened to me in 2023.

I like writing it because it forces me to think back on the good that happened. However, I do feel it’s important to include some of the trials and tribulations. If for anything, to recall how we overcame them.

But now that 2023 is in the books, I’m looking towards 2024 and thinking about what I want it to look like for me professionally and personally.

For arguably the first time ever, my professional goal is modest.

Last year was a hectic year in terms of my professional life. The highs and lows of GapScout took their toll on me mentally. That said, I’m grateful for the experience, as it was ultimately the nudge I needed to get into coaching.

Which brings me to my professional goal this year: to grow my coaching by just a few more clients, and to help my clients get wins in their business by being their go-to person for anything, at any time.

That’s it.

No new markets, or new offerings, side-ventures, or anything like that. For the first time in my entrepreneurial career, I’m not creating a big, audacious goal. I need a break from that in my life.

Best of all, I already have the framework in place already to reach my goal:

  • Continue content marketing on Medium.
  • Direct outreach on X.
  • Productive 1-on-1 coaching sessions.
  • Group coaching calls.
  • 24/7 access to me via Slack for anyone I coach.

I created this formula last year, and it’s proven. So, I’ll double-down on it, refine it a little more, and make that my entire focus for 2024.

My personal goals are more elaborate.

The best part of life for me is the time spent doing activities you enjoy, learning something, or paying it forward.

This year I want to touch on all of these in some capacity. In my past, this stuff comes in spurts. For a while I’ll be learning something, then I’ll be doing other activities I enjoy, and occasionally giving my time or resources to a cause.

My overall goal is to spread these out over the year so that while not as persistent, they are consistent.

New travel destinations for this year.

Last year we were fortunate to get in more travel compared to the previous years. This year, I want to continue with that but throw in one or two more trips that are “just for us” as opposed to going somewhere because of a wedding or holiday.

Speaking of which, we already have two weddings planned for 2024 in Mexico. One in Mexico City and another in Cancun. We’ll go early to Cancun to get a couple of days to ourselves before the wedding.

We also want a bigger trip to somewhere new for us as a couple. It’s looking like that will be Hawaii around our anniversary. But Europe could be an option as well (or both, we’ll see).

All that said, family trips are still important. We’ll find time to get to Mexico, Connecticut, Michigan, and Illinois.

Making year five of Spanish better than year four.

Last year was interesting. I put in a ton of work in the first half of the year, but the latter half I sort of slacked off. That’s easy to do now since I became fluent. I can have conversations pretty comfortably, but there is so much that I don’t know.

I’ll be more consistent with my Spanish lessons, at least two times per week, possible three. For a couple of years, I would do three times per week, but now that I am coaching, I haven’t figured out how to work that into my schedule. I’ll sit down and block off time so that can happen more consistently.

My goal is to increase my vocabulary (as always) and to just be more fluid in certain circumstances and grammatical structures. To do this, I’ll need to make sure that my lessons are more than just chatting, but are focused on the workbook that my tutor and I have used for the past four years or so.

Restarting BJJ classes.

In the late Spring last year, I started BJJ.

For a few months, I really enjoyed it, and eventually earned my second stripe. In September, I injured my groin pretty badly. It’s a nagging injury I’ve had since my soccer days in college.

As a result, I took a month off, and except for about three classes, I never really got back into it the remainder of the year. It was a combination of burnout and also our schedules becoming more full of visitors and visits in the final 6-weeks of the year.

My groin has healed, so I think I’m ready to jump back into making it a regular part of my routine. Twice a week is probably my sweet spot. I was doing four times per week initially, and I think it burnt me out.

Ending my time on the weight loss app.

As of writing this, I’ve just reached my weight loss goal. I started tracking my macros in October last year in an effort to get to 15% body fat. It has worked, as I’ve lost more than 10lbs at this point, and I’m happy with where I have landed.

I have since transitioned to a “maintenance plan”. I’m tracking my macros on the new plan for a little time and once I have a good feel for it, I’ll stop using it altogether.

Achieve another certification in First Aid.

Last year I was going to take a course to become an EMT, but I decided against it as it was at the same time I started my coaching business and I couldn’t split my attention. Also, I don’t have an interest in being in an ambulance, which is really the primary role of an EMT.

So even though I didn’t accomplish that original goal, in December, I became certified in CPR, AED, and First Aid by the American Heart Association.

I liked the course, and feel like I’m not useless in case of an emergency. I think I’d like to further my knowledge in this space, but with baby steps. I don’t know yet if it will be more courses from the AHA (or Red Cross), or some other organization, but I’d like to find something, as it feels good to be prepared.

Get involved with nonprofit activities.

This has been something I’ve written about the past two years, and I haven’t made any headway with it. I still haven’t quite figured out in what area I want to dedicate my time & monetary resources.

Don’t get me wrong, made monetary contributions to and volunteered my time to a handful of causes that I felt passionate about, but it’s not on a regular basis.

I have also toyed with the idea of starting something myself, but then I get overwhelmed and end up not doing anything. I figure that there is no need to reinvent the wheel; I’d prefer to find an already established nonprofit that I am passionate about.

I think the main reason that I haven’t landed anywhere with this is because I haven’t sat down to really think about which cause I would like to get behind. This is something I’ll do in 2024.

Do something new as a couple once a month.

This is something small, but meaningful. Lorena and I met right before the pandemic, and as a result we got used to a slower-paced lifestyle as a couple.

This year, I’ll be incorporating a little more variety into our routine by doing something new once a month. From cooking and dance classes, going to a new restaurant, hiking, and more. The goal is for us to get out and create new memories.

Making 2024 better than 2023.

Last year was a tough year. Tougher than most with some of the health challenges that came our way. Lorena and I have a better understanding of that now, and are eager to make 2024 a different kind of year.

For me, this means planning specific activities for us again. Taking trips to new places, or even just around home. It also means getting into a good rhythm of life again with the activities that we enjoy while being home.


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I don’t know about you, but 2023 absolute flew by for me.

Perhaps it was the mix of trips, illnesses, big business decisions, and lifestyle changes that, upon reflection, makes everything seem like a blur.

Overall, it’s another year to be grateful for, but it did have its challenges. Starting with…

Two big updates in my professional life.

Since selling LearnDash, my professional path has been a little less clear. I’ve experimented with different ideas, but they never panned out.

In August 2022, I decided to give software another push. Things were going great, until they eventually weren’t.

Shutting down GapScout.

I won’t drain this topic, as I’ve written about it before. But on a whole, I’ll just say that my professional life was a bit of a rollercoaster this year.

I spent a year of my life building the brand, but the software kept experiencing so many technical hurdles that it never got off the ground. When legal complexities entered the equation, I decided to just step away from it altogether. It was costing me a lot of money, and in the end I wasn’t happy.

I talked a lot with Lorena during this time, as I was feeling pretty defeated. These conversations and self-reflection eventually led me to what I am doing (and enjoying) today.

Starting up a business coaching practice.

Despite the disappointment with GapScout, I still find entrepreneurship invigorating.

My strengths are creative thinking, marketing & sales, brand positioning, and outcompeting competition. My experiencing starting, growing, and eventually selling LearnDash puts me in a unique position to help other founders.

In August, I was invited to be certified by the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA) to become a Certified Professional Business Coach. The certification gave me processes that I have since modified to fit my own style. I’ve also met some other great coaches, who I continue to work with today.

In September, I “opened the doors” for my coaching business, BrightGrowth.

I spent the whole of September and October offering free, 60-minute consultations to entrepreneurs all over the world. Things got so busy, that I’ve had to temporarily stop my marketing efforts to catch my breath and to just focus on serving my existing clients.

I’ve been posting on X about my journey with starting up a coaching business, and I plan to write more on this blog about what has worked and what has not. For instance, I’ve been pretty shocked with how useful Medium has been for finding new clients.

I’ll have my free strategy sessions again in January for the last remaining spots. If that’s of interest to you, then sign up here to book some time.

Personal life had some highs, and lows.

I think it’s pretty normal to have ups and downs throughout a year. All things considered, I am grateful for the positives that Lorena and I have experienced in 2023, but I’d be lying if I said 2023 was easy.

We managed more travel in 2023 than last year.

Lorena and I started our relationship right before the pandemic. This was very formative in ways we didn’t realize. For example, we haven’t regularly booked trips for just us.

We have travel to see family, but less frequently do we plan getaways (big and small) with one another. This year we changed that.

  • In February, we went to Seattle. It is such a beauty city, even when it’s cloudy and gray.
  • In March, we went to San Carlos for the wedding of Lorena’s friend. The wedding was nice, but for me the trip was defined by the place we rented, which was right on the water of the Sea of Cortez.
  • In May, we shot over to Connecticut for a family visit, and then took an extended weekend to go to Big Sur where we hiked, relaxed, and took in the rugged beauty of Northern California.
  • In June, we went to Mexico City. This was a family visit, but for me, it’s always special because I really love what Mexico City has to offer. The culture, the people, the food, and the language. I love it!
  • In August, we went to Lake Arrowhead for a chance to be in the mountains again. It was our second time there (last time in 2020). We liked it, but probably won’t be going back anymore.
  • In September, we went to Cincinnati to visit my grandpa. My family recently moved him there to be closer to my aunt so she could take better care of him. Physically, he does pretty well, but he has Alzheimer’s and needs to live in a facility. Afterward, we went up to Michigan to visit my parents.
  • In October, we rented a place in Idyllwild. We really loved the vibe of this town, the hiking, and the scenery.
  • In November, we shot out to Connecticut again to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at Lorena’s older sister’s place. Her parents, younger sister, and some extended family from Chicago came out as well.
  • In December, we have a visit planned for Cincinnati again to visit my grandpa, then we go up to Michigan before returning to California to host family over the holidays.

We hosted more people at our home this year as well.

This year we had a handful of visitors.

First, Lorena’s friend and fiancé came to visit us in January. It was nice to get to know them more before heading to their wedding in March.

Shortly after, my brother’s family visited us for the first time in California. My nephews loved it, and started working on their plans to move here, ha!

My parents came out for nearly a month in the early Spring, and Lorena’s parents and younger sister for her birthday in July.

In August, we hosted my childhood friends (and their wives) for about a week. We went to the beach, saw dolphins and whales, ate out, and just enjoyed being together (like “the old times”).

Lorena encountered a hurdle with her health.

Earlier in the year, Lorena got a blood test and all was good. However, a few months later, she was experiencing some troubling health symptoms (trembling, rapid heart rate, extreme fatigue, weight loss, and others).

Concerned with what was happening, she had another blood test done, and it showed that she was suffering from a hyperthyroidism, which was later confirmed as Grave’s disease. It’s a scarier name than the reality, but still quite disrupting to normal life.

Thyroid conditions (both hyper and hypo) are fairly common in the population, meaning that there is a well-known path forward — albeit a slow one. Lorena has been on the mend since June, and I’m happy to report that today she is much better (the symptoms aren’t as intense).

We aren’t out of the woods yet, but we are grateful for the positive progress.

Grandpa broke his hip.

My grandpa is 88 years old. As mentioned above, he has moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, but does well in my opinion. For instance, he still recognizes us and knows basics (like that we live in California). He just repeats himself a lot.

Shortly after our visit to him in September, he ended up falling and breaking his hip. He had surgery and the process went well, but it seemed to set him back mentally. His Alzheimer’s has gotten worse, and while it has bounced back a little, it isn’t back to what it was when we last saw him.

The entire situation is a reminder to me to not take life for granted. Embrace the moments of good health, because you never know what is around the corner.

My Spanish fluency is at an all-time high!

At the end of last year, I finally hit fluency, but of course that was just the beginning. I felt like after our trip to Mexico this year, my Spanish again reached a new level. I also continued my private lessons, but admittedly, they haven’t been as frequent as usual this last quarter because of life.

It seems that with each extended stay in Mexico to visit family, I make a leap. We have a few trips already planned to Mexico for 2024, so I think that trend will likely continue. Ultimately, my goal is to be a very solid C1 level of fluency. I’m probably at this level in certain scenarios, but I’d still classify myself as an Advanced B2.

I have some more thoughts on my Spanish goals that probably warrant a separate post in the new year.

I’ve lost about 10 pounds.

This year I was looking at some pictures of myself at the beach and, well, I wasn’t happy. I tried to get back on track with regular exercise, but it just wasn’t sticking.

So, I switched it up. For the first time in my life, I began tracking my macros (calories, protein, fat, and carbs). I am using an app called MacroFactor, and I have to say, it’s freaking working!

At the time of writing this, I’ve lost 9.6lbs (according to my app). I’m pretty close to my goal of 15% body fat, and I’m pretty excited about it! I haven’t weighed this much since college.

While tracking macros certainly works, it’s not sustainable — at least for me. Once I hit my goal, I’ll be going into maintenance mode and will drop the app.

Closing out this year a little tired, but grateful.

It was a big year.

There were ups, but more downs than I am used to.

I suppose that is just the flow of life. I try not to get too consumed by the tough times, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get worn out. All the more reason why I’m committed to resting for the remainder of this year, reflecting, and practicing being grateful for all that I have in life.

I have goals for the upcoming year, which I’ll get to in another post. For now, I’m just focusing on being in the moment, relaxing, and creating some final memories with family to close out 2023.

Have a happy new year, and see you soon in 2024.


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The end of the year holidays always means one thing: traveling to see family.

Lorena and I recently returned from visiting Connecticut for a couple of weeks to spend Thanksgiving with her sister, parents, and cousins who flew in from Chicago. As always, it was great to see everyone and of course to spend time with our nephew and godchild.

We get a short break in California before hitting the road again to Cincinnati to see my grandfather (who, at 88 years old, isn’t doing so well after his recent hip surgery). We then drive up to Michigan to spend time with my parents for Christmas.

Afterward, we then close out the year by hosting Lorena’s parents and sisters at our place in California for the New Year.

Something that is a bit challenging is that our family is located across two countries and various states. California, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, and Mexico. There are times when I wish we all lived closer. It would certainly make the holiday planning easier and less stressful for all involved.


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