2019 was a year of extraordinary personal and professional growth.
While 2018 was the year I celebrated being a single man, 2019 brought an extraordinary woman into my life. Never say never! Antrea is an excellent match in many ways! We share a love for work, and we are both intellectual individuals.
Antrea is black. Little did I know how much the color of her skin would make me grow. Seeing life from her perspective was new to me. I realized that I grew up within a bubble where the color of my skin had little impact on the course of my life. Yes, in Luxembourg, skin color doesn't matter all that much, but that may just be because the population is predominately white.
I like to say that I learned how to swim in a swimming pool, whereas Antrea had to stay afloat in a wild ocean. I had absolutely no notions about the difficulties a black person could face here in the US. I don't mean to say that I now fully understand what it means to be a person of color, but I sure have increased my level of empathy for Antrea and her brothers and sisters. I feel their multi-generational grief and have become painfully aware of the crimes that were committed against black people. No feeling bridges gaps better than love!
No worries, the contrast of our skin color is not what defines our relationship. However, it is an element that pushes two sweethearts to open up not only their hearts but also their minds! We were both challenged to accept the possibility that we may have been wrong about certain convictions we held onto over the years. When people make concessions to new ideas, you now that critical work is done.
We have changed each other in subtle ways that we could never have foreseen, and that alone makes it incredibly precious.
Happiness & Truth
With so many changes in my life and a woman playing an important role, a person close to me wondered if I am still true to myself and if my happiness has not become dependent on my new relationship.
I have included my new girlfriend in every aspect of my life. I have made no course correction; instead, I allowed her to improve my life by letting her apply her skills and support to any area she wanted to. This lead to results, both personal and professional, that I could not have achieved on my own.
This does not mean that I became someone else. It does mean that I am not too proud to let someone else who deserves it enrich my life. Being able to trust makes me happy. Being able to let down my guard to someone deserving makes me happy.
No healthy relationship is based around only receiving! Don't think for a moment that deciding to give back means that you have lost yourself. On the contrary, it means that you have tapped into an essential part of your soul. There is no love if you cannot see beyond yourself. Balance remains important. Give and receive - love and be loved.
Physical Fitness & Health
I did reach a peak of physical fitness in 2019. I lifted more than ever before with a personal record in deadlifting at 255 pounds. I was extremely disciplined and spent an average of 2 hours at the gym, ever day in 2019.
Where do I want to take it from here? I think about the sustainability of my fitness and health. Is the human body crafted to go through these enormous efforts on an ongoing basis? Why invest so much muscular energy in moving weights? In 2020, I will try to work much more with my body weight, calisthenics, yoga, and mindfullness. Working out without weights has always been way more challenging to me. Why not get better in that field. A friend of mine from Luxembourg publishes lots of inspiring content. You should check him out on Instagram.
In terms of nutrition, I will continue my vegan ways, making sure that I keep my diet as close to a whole food plant-based diet as possible. It pleases me to see that 2019 was the year of vegan alternatives. The breakthrough of Beyond Meat and the adoption of the Impossible Burger by Burger King are just a few examples of significant progress. Nevertheless, it remains more important than ever to eat clean and refrain from such highly processed, vegan comfort foods.
I also plan on grounding daily. I have yet to look at the science behind this under-researched practice. Still, I know from personal experience that it helps me with energy and inflammation levels.
What Do You Do?
The answer to that question has changed. I no longer work as a freelancer.
I run a marketing agency (Shankx Web Development) that focuses on the healthcare industry. We leverage advanced content creation in highly specialized fields and use the Internet and other platforms to reach an appropriate audience.
I believe in price transparency, accessibility, and high-quality when it comes to fixing healthcare in the United States.
As a co-founder of the Free Market Medical Association in San Antonio I aim to build a network of like-minded individuals and companies.
I serve as the chair-elect for 2021 on the board of the Texas Tri-County Chamber of Commerce.
Public speaking, writing, and social media are my passions that tie everything together.
We are a team of three right now, and I can easily see the team double in 2020.
Being a boss is fun since it gives everything I do even more purpose. The salaries I pay to my employees often exceed my income, which is a rather odd concept to wrap my head around.