Flying

Being a passenger on an airplane of a major airline is one thing. It’s a comfortable, safe, and relaxing ride to your destination. To be a passenger of a small aircraft is a little more different. It’s more cramped, nerves are tested a bit because it’s not as stable due to smaller engines and a smaller craft. However, it’s pretty fun to go to the land and see how an aircraft take off and land from such a close perspective…

Now to fly an aircraft… That requires a lot of fortitude right there…

It was about two and a half years ago when I made a trip down to Southern California to visit some family. One of my uncles was looking to earn his pilot’s license through hours of training and flying. So he figured that I might be interested in coming along for one of his flight exercises. I was a little nervous saying yes to the idea at first, but I had trust in him, so I decide to go.

My uncle and I get into Long Beach Airport and I could see small aircrafts all over the place. I was having butterflies and wondering if this was such a good idea. I had issues with going on roller coaster rides and my inability to actually be able to ride one without feeling sick. Knowing how an aircraft works, I had a feeling it was going to be the same. We met up with the flight instructor and headed over to the hangar and found the aircraft that we were going to use. We had to our with a pre-flight diagnostic of the aircraft to make sure everything was alright.

Fuel… Check.

Flaps… Check.

Landing Gear… Check.

Everything looked pretty good. So it was time to get onto the plane and start flying. But just as I was about ready to board the plane, my uncle jumps into the backseat. I got confused. I ask, “Ummm… aren’t you suppose to be in the pilot’s seat?” He responds, “I’m not the one flying.” I still was confused at what was going on. “So is he flying it then?” I ask, pointing at the instructor. He responded, “Nope.” Then it finally hit me and this sense of fear just goes through my body. I knew those butterflies were not just random… It was simple.

Am I really going to have to fly this bloody thing?

“Get into the seat and strap your seatbelt on,” my uncle said. So I got in. I was in a bit of shock still because I was scared of the thought of flying this aircraft. I don’t know how to fly aircraft. Even with an instructor in the plane, there’s no way I could do it. So I start trying to remember all the things that I could from video games. Apparently, playing flight simulation games paid off for once. I had a general idea of the flight panel and what I needed to do. There was the throttle. There were the pedals to roll the plane. This might not be so bad after all. All I could think at that point was “Thank God I played those flying games”.

We went over the flight procedures and eventually prepared for take-off. I was getting worried. It’s possible that I would do something stupid and crash this plane and we’d all die in a fiery crash. I start thinking in my mind, “Help me God. Help meee…” So we start taxing the plane onto the runway, waited for air traffic control for permission to go and got onto the main runway. “Here we go…” I thought. As we started going down the runway, the instructor is barking through the headsets, “More throttle and pull up!” I start pulling on the wheel and we’re finally off. Wow… We’re not going to die here anyway.

But as we were finally in the air, I was amazed at the sights that I could see. I could see Long Beach underneath me. Santa Ana was just right next to it. The water looked clear and blue. It was an amazing sight. Not to mention that, I was actually flying this plane around the air above it. I just looked through all the windows and I was in complete awe. It was nothing like I expected. As we kept flying, I felt a lot more comfortable flying the craft and the beauty of the city below me (aside from the industrial areas next to the water). It was something I couldn’t have seen through any other view, not even from a large airplane.

Eventually, our time was almost up, so we had to land the plane. As we start heading down, I was having a difficult time trying to land the bloody thing, so the instructor assisted me thankfully. Aircraft always have two wheels for the pilots just in case one of them go awry. And as we landed, I was amazed. We were actually safe. We didn’t die in a fiery crash! Wow…

My uncle took over and practiced some take-offs and landings. I got the chance to see him fly and I was impressed. He had such good composure. While some of his attempts weren’t necessarily the smoothest, they were still pretty darn good. A lot better than mine. That’s for sure.

His time finally ran out and we landed the plane and taxied it into the hangar area. As we got out, I was pretty happy to finally have my feet on hard ground. My uncle wrote out a check to the instructor to pay for the flight, fuel, and other expenses for the flight session. We started walking out to the car and he asked, “You enjoy that?” I just nodded and had a pretty big smile on my face. It was definitely one of the most memorable experiences that I’ve had and one I would definitely suggest to anyone out there. Fly a plane once in your life. See what it’s like to be in the pilot’s seat in a plane. It’s an amazing experience, to say the least.

Just make sure you save up some money though in order to do it…

The 2008 Olympics

I’ve always been a fan of the Olympics. I could remember watching the Olympics in 1992, when I followed Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and the rest of the Dream Team squad crush all their opponents in rout to their gold medal in Barcelona. That followed with Atlanta in 1996 (and the Olympic bombing tragedy), Sydney in 2000, and Athens in 2004.

The Olympics is a special event. Every four years, the world gets an amazing opportunity to see all its’ best athletes gather together in one city to compete in various events. It isn’t all about who wins or how many they win (usually is though), but the stories that each athlete brings to these events. How they may have had to endure through various struggles from their past to get to where they are today. Or how they overcame obstacles, physical or emotional, to persereve and succeed. It’s amazing to hear the stories that the broadcasts bring in with their coverage. And then there are the controversies and the suprises as well.

For me, these were the stories that really came out from these Olympics (in no particular order)…

Michael Phelps and his eight gold medals… Maybe it was luck. Maybe it was a bit of skill. I don’t know. Two events could have prevented him from beating Mark Spitz’s seven gold medals, yet somehow, him and his teammates managed to beat the odds to do so. Why was the record of seven gold medals in one Olympics so difficult? Imagine having to work out, swim in one heat, finish that, prepare for another heat 45 minutes later, then another one after that, workout still, have time to eat, and then go to bed, and start all over again? For seven days straight? It’s amazing how he managed to do that. His coach prepared him for it though and the formula worked. Eight medals… All gold for now the world’s newest golden boy… And remember this. He’s only 23.

Gymnastics… I have to admit that I’m usually not a fan of gymnastics. While its beauty and artistry are impressive, it can get rather boring to watch over and over again. However, I think this time around, I managed to actually have some respect. Watching the men’s events, it’s impressive how strong and tough they are. Watch the parallel bars or the still rings and you can see what I mean. Try doing those moves. But like every Olympics, there is some kind of controversy. This time, it was the age of some of the athletes. Whether the Chinese chose athletes too young or not remains to be determine, but think for a second… 16 year old… 68 pounds. Is that right? In any case, Liukin follows the footsteps of her parents and wins the all-around title… and somehow, the U.S. men managed to get a bronze medal.

The beast known as Usain Bolt… While Phelps dominated the water, Usain Bolt did that on land. It wasn’t so much the fact that he won three gold medals or beat them all in world record time. It’s how badly he did so. Watching the first heat of the 100 meters, I knew that guy was going to be hard to beat. When you have a 6’5″ sprinting and beating people while jogging, how do you expect to beat him while he’s at full speed and effort? That was what the 200 meters showed. When he put out a full effort, there was no chance that anyone could beat him. The second closest competitor was at least 0.50 seconds behind him (that’s a huge gap in sprinting). His gigantic size and stride will make him dominant in future major events for many years to come for this 22 year old runner.

The U.S. dethroned from their title as “World’s Best Sprinters”… One of the big reasons why the U.S. dominate in the medal counts is their amazing performances in the sprints in track and field… However, this Olympics was not the case. Instead, the Jamaicans took the spotlight, dominating those events easily, as the U.S. teams faltered big time when it mattered. Could it have been the jitters? Was it because they couldn’t handle the pressure? Or was it the lack of drugs… I mean…

The murder in Beijing and the men’s volleyball team winning gold… The first official day of the Olympics was marred by tragedy. The men’s volleyball coach’s father-in-law was murdered by a madman, who later committed suicide. He left to be with his mourning wife and family-in-law. As he mourned, the team had to do their best without him. And they did. They proceded to win match after match, overcoming some of the best teams in the world. It eventually lead them to the gold-medal match against the defending gold medal champions and number one team in the world: Brazil. As their coach returned to help lead them, they struggled early, losing the first set. But after getting rid of their jitters, they started to regain their composure. In turn, they started making shots and mounted a comeback. One set… Two sets… Match. Gold medals. While tragedy overcame the team in the beginning, the team managed to stay strong and win one for their emotional coach.

Lopez Lomong… This was definitely an amazing story to hear. While he did not manage to medal, it was how he even got there that was amazing. He was originally from Sudan and was separated from his family when he was six. Spent 10 years at a refugee camp in Kenya, living off one meal a day. In 2000, he walked five miles just to watch the Sydney Olympics and eventually wanted to be on the big stage someday. Eventually he did as he got into the U.S. and became a citizen. And as the U.S. poured into the Bird’s Nest stadium, there was Lomong in the front of the group, carrying the U.S. flag proudly.

Chinese and their attraction to gold… While I don’t agree with their training techniques (basically training from the toddler years), it has contributed heavily to their success on the podium. And not just on the podium, but at the top of it. They’ve got 51 gold medals to the U.S.’ 36. That’s a huge margin. But maybe that has to do with some other factors as well, like U.S. somehow dropping their batons in both men’s and women’s 4×100 meter relays.

Lin Dan, Angel Matos, Usain Bolt and several other athletes… Bolt comes up again, along with Lin Dan and Matos. Why? I think if they were to have a competition for unsportsmanlike conduct, it would go to one of those three for sure. Probably others that I can’t think off the top of my head. Lin Dan and his over-the-top display after winning gold (throwing his shoes into the stands?), Angel Matos for kicking a referee after being disqualified in taekwondo, and Usian Bolt for his display in the last fifteen meters in the 100 meter dash. Which one would you choose? I would say probably Lin for gold in lack of sportsmanship because his lasted at least a few minutes.

The U.S. Basketball team winning gold… The Redeem Team stood by its name, winning the gold medal against the Spaniards, in a fairly close championship game. To see the gold medals and title of Olympic champions under the U.S. name again was quite relieving. Coach K’s coaching and Jerry Colangelo’s design were heavily the reason for their success. They found a winning formula that worked great and saw them play unselfish basketball (for the most part… the championship game wasn’t so much that).

Russia and Georgia playing each other in beach volleyball… The Olympic Games were slightly overshadowed by the fighting going on between Russia and Georgia. War broke out and that became the focus, despite the fact that the Olympic Games usually signals to all nations to set aside their arms for the two weeks to cherish the gathering of athletes and nations across the world. Then came the match-up between Georgia and Russia in women’s beach volleyball. Rather than competing on a battlefield, they competed on sand… across a net. And in the end, politics and bloodshed were not the focus of this match. It was sportsmanship, friendship, and unity. It showed how much sport conquers above war.

There were a lot of other stories throughout the games. The Chinese woman’s marathoner that overcame career-ending surgery to her long distance track and field career to compete in the marathon and complete it… The ending of Olympic careers for Laura Wilkinson (diving), Lisa Leslie (women’s basketball), and others… The end of baseball and softball as events in the Olympics… How Beijing managed to spare themselves in light of the issues with smog, their politics, and other issues…

So many more, but the fact of the matter is that the Olympics are finally coming to a close. The ceremonies will likely have been completed by the time I finish this post and the torch will be passed onto London as they host the 2012 Olympic Games. One thing is for sure: Just like all the other Olympic games, these games will be ones to remember for people all over the world.

Batman Playing Baseball in the Olympics with Zidane

… Carlos Quentin has been amazing for me in fantasy baseball. Not only that, but also for the White Sox as well. He has practically carried the offense on his shoulders. Leading the AL in home runs and up there in runs and RBIs.

… I’m now convinced that Zidane is probably the best technical player and teammate ever in soccer history. He might have not won as many World Cups as Maradona or Pele, but he did win one in 1998, lead them to the finals in 2006. But just his skill, his touch, his presence on the field, and vision was simply amazing. The other thing is that when he was on the field, he made his teammates better. The fluidity and beauty of his game is stunning. Unmatched. Never will be. Still sad that he’s retired…

… If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight yet, it’s either because you don’t have the time, you’re not ready for it, or you’re just insane. I wouldn’t say it was the best movie I’ve ever seen (Schindler’s List is still first for now), but it’s definitely captured my imagination and pretty much set the standard for me in terms of how I view action movies now. Batman Begins started it and The Dark Knight just proceeded with astounding success. It’s no longer this goofy “I’m invincible” look but rather humanistic side of the protagonist. It’s going to be hard to match that.

Also, Heath Ledger has the Joker was probably one of the best casting I’ve seen for an antagonist. I’ve never seen someone so enveloped into a role. It was impressive. Award-winning? I would argue that it definitely was. He sold it well. Maybe a bit too well…

… I also have a fear for pencils now… Especially ones that are sticking out of a table… With a clown standing next to it.

… The summer’s so far created a lot of great memories. The trip to Northern California was a unique and good experience for the most part. Camping with the SYTE group was fun and a blast. Hanging out with people, serving, traveling. It’s definitely changed my outlook on certain things. That’s for sure.

It also means I need to travel more, which I might. Depends if my family in Southern California is around when I’m planning the trip. (David, Lindsey and Ryan, you’ve been warned).

… The 2008 Beijing officially starts in two weeks. The Olympics have to be one of my most favorite sporting events. Partly because of all the coverage on TV (except for the gymnastics, diving and synchronized swimming… bleh). It’s almost 24/7 for just over two weeks. I’ll probably write something up about it over the course of the two weeks.

But when you think about it, it’s a pretty amazing concept. Bringing all the world’s best athletes together in one place to compete. Setting aside political differences (except for the Iraq controversy), social differences, and other similar things and uniting everyone together under sport. It’s a great sight to see.

If only we could do that outside of the Olympics…

God’s Canvas

… I was driving back home from a friend’s house in Kirkland at around 4 am Friday morning. The drive itself left me thinking and frustrated about one of the things I did that day. But as I crossed the 520 bridge into Seattle, I took a look to my right to see a beautiful sight. Along the horizon, there was a sea of colors painted across the morning sky. It was a clash of the former night sky and the morning rise. The dark hues of blue fighting to remain as the lighter shades started to shine brightly. The plane of orange along the horizon prepared the sun for its glorious appearance to the city. As I saw this, I was just in awe. The sky was God’s canvas and all I could think was “That’s a beautiful painting, God. You never fail to amaze me with what you can do and what you’ve done and shown in my life…”

It was a little over two weeks ago when all the conferees at Mt. Hermon began their trek to their homes, with memories and thoughts of God’s game plan in mind. But as I start to reflect on all the amazing moments throughout that last week in June, it reminds me of one thing: It’s all about you, Lord. It’s always about you. When I made the commitment about a month ago to cabin lead at InterHigh, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I began to have a lot of fears and worries start to take control of me. Will I be able to do this? Will I be able to handle that? Am I going to have to do this alone? I was concerned about my performance and leadership at camp… but that was the wrong mindset. It wasn’t about me first. It was about Christ. It was about God first.

As we walk along in our path in life, we’re walking into an unknown darkness that leaves us, at times, struggling with fear, worry, and temptation. Maybe it’s our grades, our relationships, or our careers. In a society where we’re so focused on individualism, we can easily become engulfed into thinking about ourselves and selfishness. We’re in a world where success is a means to survival and prosperity and instant gratification and sin are a way to personal, but temporary, happiness. These obstacles will always be scattered through our paths. And from there, we can succumb to those things… And it leaves us wondering and asking: where God was to get us out of that rut?

The answer is simple though… He was right behind us the entire time, waiting for us to turn around and call for Him.

During the week, I was reminded of Joshua and the battles he fought to regain Israel. There were a lot of actions that someone might think, “Why the heck am I doing this? Walk around the city this many times and look like a fool? Are you kidding me?” But Joshua didn’t. He wasn’t concerned about himself, he was doing what God told him to do and followed His will. As he did, cities fell, and Israel returned back to the control of his people. It was a matter of trusting God and God would fulfill His promise. He didn’t leave them stranded. Nor will He do the same to us. It’s important for us to get away from those thoughts of our own self-preservation, self-concern, and selfishness and to just say, “Christ, take me. Use me for your kingdom”…

When we say “Jesus isn’t a religion, but a relationship”, it’s exactly what it means. We don’t just go to church and small group every week and just read God’s Word everyday because we have to. It should be because we want to seek out a relationship with Him. Communicating with Him, glorifying Him in our everyday lives… but ultimately trusting Him and seeking His will. There is no relationship without those things in mind. Once we do, those once mountainous obstacles become anthills that we can just step over. It’s a matter of thinking about God and that it’s always putting Him before ourselves. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It reminds me of Psalm 37:3-7. When we commit ourselves to Him first, He will make something of the lives we live and see out our hopeful desires and dreams.

… As I got off the bridge and onto I-5, I thought about how much larger God is than my life. While I focused on myself and my concerns, I was left paranoid, in fear, and frustrated. But as I started to put more trust in Him, things started to work out and I could really start to see the works in His kingdom. As I thought about what I did that day, I realized the selfishness and the sin I committed towards my friend that day. I needed to look to Him to help me through the realization that I now had to deal with. While I was not happy with what I have on my hands now, I know that He loves me and He will provide for my needs. Rather than try to paint my own picture, I allow God to use me as His canvas to paint a picture of His love, His glory, and will for me for everyone else to see.

As I passed the UW exit, I looked up and I saw a cross shining brightly over the highway off the Calvary building. I smiled with a sense of relief. It was just another reminder of all the things He’s done for all of us and just how amazing a God He is.

To Forgive and Be Forgiven

From the moment we come into this world until the moment we leave it, we’re bound to mistakes in some way. They’re usually of varying severity, depending on the person that we’ve harmed. A small white lie… a rather defamatory insult… damage to something that was precious to someone else… and sometimes, it is far, far worse… The fact of the matter is that these mistakes are bound to happen, regardless of how much we try to prevent ourselves from making it a reality.

There’s always two parties involved when incidents like these happen. When we’re in the party that caused the problem, it’s our immediate duty to apologize regardless of how deserving it is or right we might think we are. If we are the ones that were the recipients of such actions, it’s our duty to forgive those that hurt us when they apologize.

Why? Like I said earlier, we’re all prone to making mistakes. We all are sinners. It is an unfortunate trait that we as humans possess. However, something to think about is this. Is it right for us to ask for forgiveness from someone if we can’t forgive someone else for what they’ve done to us? Or is it right to be expecting an apology from someone if we are too prideful that we won’t give one ourselves? We all want to be forgiven when we’ve hurt someone and to receive an apology when we’re been hurt.

This is obviously easier said than done. I know I haven’t been so easily swayed to do one or the other as a part of either party in the past. And I know I forget sometimes as well. Again, it’s a trait of humanity. It does take time as well to do this, depending on the severity and the extent of the damage. However, it regardless of how severe it is, if someone is to apology with their full and honest heart, it is important for the other to forgive with the same kind of heart. To either with any lesser kind of heart is about the same as not doing it at all. It shows that we don’t care or love them if we don’t do it without the fullness of our heart.

But lesson learned, in our daily lives, we should keep this in mind when things like this happen. Apologize for mistakes that you make. And forgive those that have committed mistakes that affect or hurt you and apologize. And do so with an honest and whole heart. Otherwise, it’ll hypocrisy if we choose not to.

In X Years, I Want To…

About a month ago, I went to a little birthday party for a friend of mine at a bar/pub in Fremont. I got the chance to hang out with him and some friends of his, chatting, laughing, and harassing him about being “so old”.

While talking to him, one of the girls at the table asked, “So… where do you see yourself and hope to do in one year, five years, and ten years?” He starts laughing in hopes to avoid the question. I start harassing him by throwing comments related to a thought going through his mind that “starts with L and ends in Z”. But he shared some things that he wanted to do, things he wanted to see, and other thoughts.

But it was an interesting question that the girl asked. It made me think about it for a second myself, even though it wasn’t directed at me. Where do we see ourselves in a year? Five years? Ten years? While I agree with the idea that it’s better to think and focus about the present time, there is no harm in just imagining and thinking about the future for the sake of daydreaming and just for fun.

What do I see myself doing in each of those years? Maybe some day I’ll share that, because right now, it’s still in a bit of limbo and chaos. But in the meantime, I’m going to go back to my state of sulking and “being emo” after seeing the Red Wings beat the Pens earlier tonight… It would have been nice to see Sid, Malkin, Hossa, and Staal win a Stanley Cup. 🙁

Quitting soccer…

A few weeks ago, I suffered my third concussion in the span of a year while playing soccer. A week before that, I landed on my head rather clumsy on a bad challenge and was dealing with a lot of headaches. The fact that I had taken two head injuries over a week span left me made me thinking long and hard about my health and well-being.

It’s the things that we love so dear sometimes that we have a hard time letting go of. Sometimes, it’s a loved one. Or it could be it’s an item we’ve treasured for so long. For me, soccer was one of those things I had loved a lot.

It wasn’t for the glory of playing the game, nor was it for bragging rights or even to work towards becoming the best. It was the fact that I learned about a game that isn’t about one person. Or two… Or even three. It was a collective whole that made it work. It was about building the trust between everyone on the team in order to succeed and progress.

But more importantly, it was about the relationships that I had built through playing the sport. Whether it was IMA teams, Shamrock leagues, or Co-Rec teams, I built a lot of friendships there. That’s what really crushed my spirit when I had to make this decision. I could still watch games from the sidelines, but it wouldn’t be the same as it is on the field. The difference in the relationships between player to spectator versus player to player is huge. The other thing was it wasn’t with just men, but women as well. It gave me a bit better understanding and more respect for women in the game. I cherish all my relationships with those on the teams I play with though.

How long am I quitting for? That seems to be the question everyone is asking. Some are saying that I should just take a break and come back. However, I already know the answer. It is for good. During that weekend, I considered all the pros and cons about a possible return. While I have control over my own actions, that only half of it. It’s about the opposing player that I can’t control. It wasn’t worth that risk of taking another injury from another place that could result in me suffering serious brain damage or disabling motor skills. To have to deal with that as well as my friends and family suffering the consequences due to it wasn’t something I was willing to make them go through. Being unable to serve, my family, my friends, the community and the world would be extremely difficult as well and I didn’t want to do that either.

While it’s sad for me to have to quit playing the game, I know it doesn’t mean that I am leaving everything behind and moving on to something else. I will still try to be involved somehow. It could be coming to games to support or it could be helping with managing teams. I don’t know, but I will still be around.

Though this door has started to shut itself, I know that there will be another one that will open up for me. It’s the way life and God works with all of us.

Reality Check…

The past year has been frustrating to say the least. There have been some bright spots, but for the most part, it had taken its toll on me. I’ve tried to maintain a positive attitude despite the problems that have risen and the events that affected me. The three concussions in the past year forcing me to quit a game I’ve loved to play for the past few years… all the job rejections that I’ve had to deal with… the relationships that I’ve cherished so much have started to fade away… my mental health slowly deteriorating due to my head injuries… my inability to work out my relationship with one of my best friends… and much more.

Over the past couple of weeks, these things started to overwhelm me. And in doing so, emotions started to flare a bit more. I started to get a lot more upset and more apathetic about things. My mind kept thinking “Screw going to church and the retreat. This job hunt is pointless. My degree was just a waste of thousands of dollars. There’s no point in staying in Seattle anymore.” I just surrounded myself with negativity and tried to verify my current situation with blame and anger. While I didn’t show it in public, I was constantly fuming. Negativity just swarmed my thoughts frequently. I started returning back to my old ways, becoming ticked off at life and isolating myself from everyone else whenever possible.

Then I was reminded of how selfish I started to become again…

Thoughts flooded my mind of the current state of the world and all the tragedies that have been occurring over the past few weeks: The hundred thousand people in Myanmar that have lost their lives, and the many more that have lost their homes, loved ones, and much more due to the cyclone. The ten thousand that died due to the earthquake in China in the past few days. It wasn’t just that, but other events as well: The genocides in Darfur, the HIV virus epidemic, the war in Iraq, and the struggles going on in Israel, the homeless that are across the US. So many of these events came up and forced me to think about my life right now… and how fortunate I should feel.

I’d become unthankful despite what God’s provided for me throughout my life. He provided me a place where I can live, a family that loves me for who I am despite my downfalls and struggles, a great group of friends that care about me and help me get back on my feet when I fall, two great roommates and a best friend that listen, give me advice and help me through the tough times. And ultimately the love that He alone provides me through the best of times and the worst of times. I had forgotten everything He’s done for me that it left me feeling broken and asking His forgiveness for what I had done. The fact of the matter is I could have be somewhere else in this world right now, struggling and suffering much, much more. What I have to deal with is nothing compared to what many in this world have to deal with.

All that I can do is be thankful for how good of a life that I’ve been given. For me to wallow in such self-centered thoughts and be frustrated about my future was not the kind of person that He asked me to be. It’s to use my resources and gifts that I have to provide to those that are in need for this world. And to be thankful for how amazing a situation I am in right now. God gave me a reality check and a swift kick in the… Well, you can pretty much finish this sentence. It’s what I needed to realize how good I have it right now.