Justin Ferriman

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Lorena and I just returned from a 10-day trip visiting my family in Ohio and Michigan. First, we stopped by Cincinnati to visit my grandpa. He is 88 years old and living in an assisted living facility.

His health is pretty good, but he does have Alzheimer’s, which has become a bit more noticeable. He has 10 or so topics that he loops through in a conversation, but regardless, he is in good spirits and probably the best I have seen him in years (especially since my grandma passed away).

The highlight of that visit was the cookout, where my aunt, uncle, and two of my cousins attended, along with their children. One of my cousins had COVID, so she (and her family) couldn't come, which was a bummer. My brother and his family made the trip from Chicago as well, which gave us an opportunity to all be reunited like when we were kids.

After that long weekend, Lorena and I drove up to Michigan with my parents. We spent the week visiting some friends, enjoying the end-of-summer season in Michigan, and spending some quality time with my parents. After a week there, we came back to California.

I'm back at the grind today, growing my coaching business (which has taken off since recently announcing it). Our next planned trip isn't until Thanksgiving, but that could change!

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This summer I have been chugging along with my Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and this week that consistency has paid off again as I earned my second stripe!

Just a couple of months ago, I got my first stripe, and that felt amazing. This too feels good, but perhaps I’m a little less excited. Not because I’m bored with BJJ, but because I feel like I could have pushed myself to get it sooner.

Life stuff happens, though. And you know, the pace was still pretty good. I can be prone to burning out with this kind of thing, so going slow is better for me.

I’ll be taking a bit of a break again as Lorena and I will be traveling to visit my grandpa who now lives in Cincinnati. Following that, it’s off to Michigan for a week to spend time with my parents (and a few friends), before returning home. At which point, I’ll pick training back up.

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Lorena and I needed a changed of scenery. We have been in our home in southern California for a few months, hosting friends and family. While it has been enjoyable, we started to feel the need to get out for a change of pace.

We landed on Lake Arrowhead. We have been there before, but life was a lot different at that time. It was in the very beginning of the pandemic, and we weren’t even engaged yet!

We returned as husband and wife, and with a deeper connection. It’s funny how a few years can really change your perspective on just about everything.

Mountains, trees, and a lake.

Lake Arrowhead is really worth a visit if you’re in California. You have to drive up a winding road for 30 or so minutes, scaling the mountain from one side. As you slip over the edge to the other side, you enter an entirely different world. In many ways, it reminds me of the forest in northern Michigan (although less flat).

Lorena and I relaxed for a few days in a stunning Airbnb. It was an A-frame cottage that had been completely redone. Honestly, it was probably the best Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in.

During our time there, we went on a few hikes, cooked food, and enjoyed the view from our place (positioned on the side of the mountain, looking out at the tall trees).

The trip itself has given us an itch for more mountain stays across California. Fortunately, we have quite a few to choose from that are all within two to three hours from our home.

Below are just a few photos, including the view from our place.

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You know, it’s not often that I get together with a group of people anymore. There are a few reasons, but mainly because we live in California, and all of our friends and family live in other states. That, and making new friends is hard as an adult!

Recently, that changed when two of my childhood friends (and their wives) visited us for a week.

I’ve known Avis and Mike since elementary school. We played soccer together growing up, and even though we didn’t go to the same college, we always hung out when back to our hometown during breaks.

As life went on, we always kept in contact. I’d see them when possible, but all three of us live in different states now between California, Michigan, and Maryland.

So, this made the trip all that more memorable. As it always is, we laughed a lot. It’s easy with them. They are, in many ways, like family at this point. I love to hear about what they are up to in life, and it’s great to see them successful.

People come and go in your life, but there are always a few that are constant. For me, that’s Avis and Mike.

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It took me a little longer than anticipated, but this week I finally got my first stripe in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu!

In April, I started taking lessons and was up to three or four classes per week, depending. However, trips like going to Big Sur and heading down to Mexico prevented me from having a regular schedule.

I still have a long way to go, and so much to learn. This martial art is so rich and deep in its nuances, the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.

Still, it’s fun, and I have good comradery with the other guys who are in the class. It’s a very positive, helpful environment.

My ultimate goal is to become a blue belt, but I think that’ll take ~18 months if I consider how my schedule can fluctuate, and how much I need to learn to get to that level. So, I’m just enjoying the journey.

Here’s to the next stripe!

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Wow, I can’t believe we are already into June 2023. The first half of this year has been full of activities for me and Lorena, which has caused the time to feel both slow and fast at the same time.

Something I haven’t been great at is blogging. Not that I have any goal necessarily, I just find that writing is a good way to keep the mind sharp. Most of my posts this year have been personal and less about business. Mainly, I think this is because I’ve been finding business and entrepreneurship less… fulfilling… than before. But more on that at a later point.

Today I’m keeping it personal with a status of my progress with Spanish.

I continue to take lessons, but with less vigor.

While I continue personal lessons with my tutor three or four times per week, I’m sort of in a rut. On one hand, I am pretty good at Spanish now, comfortably sitting at a B2 level of fluency. But that level is hardly perfection. I very much want to get to C1, and as I wrote in my goals for 2023, I plan to reach this level in one to three years.

And I think this is where things get tough for me.

In the beginning, hitting Spanish goals came fast and often. I was benefiting from “noobie gains” and it was incredibly motivating. Today, it’s different. I have habits now with the language. I use comfortable patterns instead of pushing my abilities. I can communicate well and the need for rigorous study is less necessary.

Because of this new baseline, I haven’t been studying my vocab to really expand the breadth of my word recall. I’m not reading any books in Spanish, writing in Spanish, nor watching any shows in the language. Currently, I’m just having entirely conversation-based lessons with my tutor.

Visiting Mexico always gives me extra motivation.

In the past, I have found that trips to visit family in Mexico are just what I need to find motivation for learning Spanish whenever I get into a rut. I think it’s simply the fact that I am putting everything into practice. It’s incredibly empowering to be in a foreign country and to speak their native language. That feedback, and feeling, make all the studying worth it.

This is one of the reasons why I have enjoyed our most recent visit to Mexico. For three weeks, I have been immersed in Spanish conversations and the culture. I tend to speak Spanish with Lorena’s family and friends the majority of the time. I feel like this trip I have polished my abilities – particularly with my pace of understanding and speaking across a wide variety of topics.

As great as the trip has been in that regard, I do know that I really need to work harder to get to the beginning of C1 fluency.

The year isn’t over.

There is still plenty of time left in the year to make some more noticeable progress. I just wanted to take a moment now to reflect on where I am at currently. I plan to sit down with my tutor to explore options for pushing myself to a higher level of proficiency.

I also don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I would have loved to be at my current level a couple of years ago. I am genuinely grateful for my current ability. Learning Spanish will be a lifelong effort with peaks and valleys, and I look forward to the next peak.

#personal


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You know how people say time flies? I’ve never been one to buy into that concept. From my experience, this is the case when you don’t take time to appreciate the moment you are living.

Two years ago today, Lorena and I were married. It’s our second anniversary, but the amount of life we have lived could easily be packed into three or four years. Over that time, I have taken the time to stop and appreciate our time together, be it watching Netflix on a random Tuesday night, or celebrating holidays with family.

Another year together and we continue to grow even closer.

And just as it was on our first date, her smile makes me melt.

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As Lorena and I looked at the calendar this year, we decided that we should go somewhere to celebrate our anniversary. We had fun discussing various destinations, from Europe to tropical islands.

While we would have undoubtedly enjoyed those locations, we both preferred something a little… slower. A trip without the busy distractions, allowing us to connect to one another and to nature. We really liked our time visiting Lake Tahoe, so with this in mind, we landed on Big Sur.

We have just returned from the trip, and I must say, it was really special.

If you haven’t been to Big Sur, then you owe it to yourself to spend some time there. The landscapes are both stunning and peaceful. You have mountains, tall pines, redwoods, cliffs, and the ocean. There is plenty to do outdoors, and we took advantage of it.

Some of the activities we did during our trip:

  • Went on several hikes.
  • Discovered local herbs and plant life (including the dangerous ones).
  • Enjoyed some massages.
  • Relaxed by the various pools.
  • Learned about bees and tasted the local honey.
  • Learned how to make cocktails with natural herbs.
  • Just rested, appreciating nature.

We stayed a total of five days, and that was just about right. We plan to come back again next year, but will stay at another hotel to get some new experiences.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures we took!

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This past week, Lorena and I made a trip across the country to Connecticut to visit her older sister. As a bonus, we also saw her younger sister (who lives in New York), and it also gave us the opportunity to see our nephew, who is also our Godchild, for the first time this year.

Connecticut holds a special place in my heart. Back when Lorena and I started our relationship, COVID was just starting. It wasn’t until that Thanksgiving that I was able to finally meet her family in person, and we did this in Connecticut.

Since then, we’ve made several trips out east to celebrate holidays and birthdays. I’m becoming quite acquainted with the area that the familiarity is comforting on some level.

The trip was quick, just shy of a week, but still very enjoyable.

We have done a good job getting to see family this year, already having spent time with my brother and his family, my parents, and now Lorena’s sisters. Next up will be a trip back to Mexico to spend time with Lorena’s parents.

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Physical activity has always been a part of my life.

When I was young, I played many sports, including soccer, baseball, basketball, track & field, lacrosse, and tennis. I eventually settled into soccer and played that through college.

I continued to play in highly competitive men’s leagues with former collegiate athletes, until one day in 2013, that changed. I was hit from behind while jumping for a header, and I herniated a disc in my neck. To this day, I still don’t have complete feeling in my left pointer finger.

Eventually things healed with my neck, and I started to incorporate other cardio workouts (namely boxing and Muay Thai) into my strength training.

10 years later, and my body is telling me to make another change.

Over the past two years, I have been constantly battling nagging injuries as a result of my current workout routine. I have injured my hand, wrist, elbow, groin, and (as of writing this) I am dealing with a pretty significant shoulder injury.

Some of these were the direct result of kickboxing on the heavy bag, others were exasperated by that activity.

I am frustrated, and I have realized that I can’t keep doing what I am doing, or this cycle is just going to continue. I need to change my activities.

So, now I am officially a White Belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

I needed to give my body a break from the high-impact striking that I have been doing. At the same time, I also wanted to learn a new skill – and so after a lot of research, I landed on BJJ.

I’m excited, and nervous about this journey. I have never done wrestling or any kind of grappling activity in my life, so I am literally starting from zero. That said, I am energized by this decision for a few reasons, specifically:

  • BJJ is both useful and practical.
  • I’m learning and working out at the same time.
  • Goals are built into the journey.

It sounds silly, but my first goal is to get my first “stripe” for my white belt. To me, this signifies that I am starting to gain an understanding of the principles of BJJ, and these principles will be my foundation going forward as I work towards one day reaching blue belt.

So far, I have already had three classes, and I am ready to dive further into the world of BJJ.

#personal


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