FUCK YOU! Fuck your self-pity and fuck your little injury. Look at her and try to imagine what she's been through . . . She's a true badass, a freaking beast!
The bungalows in la Guitarra have a brilliant social design. To talk to your neighbour, you just have to lean over and say hi. My new neighbour was a pretty blond girl, Line from Norway. I often heard her laugh out loud with two other girls. The trio was joyful and full of life. I was disabled and needed that positive energy. The injury also forced me to stay still and focus on my consulting business.
The immigration industry is shady and lucrative. Most practitioners sell empty promises. They take advantage of people's ignorance and desperation. The Regulator is the government body who is supposed to, well, regulate. Instead, they abuse the privileges of their monopoly and milk the practitioners to fatten their ass. The two main players of that industry are corrupt and greedy. I despised both.
I wanted to educate people and explain what I do as a Canadian immigration consultant. Sharing my knowledge with the masses would be a noble way to flip over the table; to unveil the lies and show the tricks. If people knew the truth, the scam would stop. It would be the right thing to do. And now I had the time for it. The only thing I missed was the discipline.
Discipline is a skill. And like any skill, it takes practice. I thought I had it when building La Chichona but that wasn't discipline. It was an intense push of energy that burnt me out. Discipline, however, is sustainable on the long run, year after year after year. For long lasting efforts, I learnt that I needed three things: a worthy goal, accountability, and frequent rewards. Worthy goal ✓.
My friend Minh is a world-class athlete, an iron man (Canadaman finisher) and an entrepreneur. He is also the most relentless person I know, a tireless machine. We share a common admiration for each other. I, for his discipline and jaw-dropping achievements. Him, for my boldness, I guess. Minh would hold me accountable on my progress.
He was happy to help. Our goals had to be challenging, yet possible. Minh and I were competing to achieve our respective tasks on time. We would review the progress on a weekly basis, adjust, and repeat. Wasting his time and losing the respect he had for me was not an option. Accountability ✓.
The cheerfulness of my new neighbours was uplifting. If not surfing, they were making cocktails, hung out by the pool or went out partying. They seemed to always have fun. Anywhere they went, good vibes and laughter ensued. I wanted to be part of that, to enjoy good company after a long day of work. Frequent rewards ✓.
A successful day meant completing the tasks AND enjoying the reward. Daily activities became rituals, and rituals became habits. Day after day, my mind grew stronger, more disciplined. On the first weekly call with Minh, I was all proud to announce that I achieved my goal. Minh achieved his too, two days earlier, and added on more work. Ironminh I called him. I was competing against a machine, and machines do not rest.
To celebrate the day, Line and I had a ritual: the hammock beer. We would crack a cold one and enjoy a good conversation, my reward after a busy day. I found out Line was a single mother. She was showing me photos of her son when a picture intrigued me: she had a shaved head. It turned out Line was sick not too long before. She had the incurable disease.
Line shared how the illness affected her life, how it took over her body and shaded her dreams. Cancer and chemotherapy were sucking the life out of her, feeding on her diminishing vitality. As if cancer wasn't enough, she had a child to raise, by herself! In a surge of strength only mothers know, she refused to be weak. She refused to miss her baby growing up. She refused to go without a fight.
Despite the exhausting chemo sessions, Line did not feel sorry for herself. No, she would come back pale and worn out, put on warm clothes and go out on a cold night. She was sick, really sick. Yet, she never missed her boy's football games. She beat the cold and bore the pain to share a laugh with friends; an iron mind in a weak body. Line fought a terrifying battle. Haunted by death, she chose life. And after a five-year battle in death's pit, she won. She fucking beat cancer. Line lived.
A happy mother, she has a loving entourage and leads a thrilling career. Her story reminded me of the sacrifices mothers make for their children. I was overwhelmed by admiration, processing what she'd been through. I tried to speak but no words came out, only tears. What a badass...
The innocent-looking blond sipping her beer next to me was the embodiment of discipline, character, and persistence. Of course, she had her doubts, but she never let them break her. Line had the resilience to rise up after every blow, the courage to stare in the beast's eyes, the discipline to overcome physical and mental challenges . . . for five years! Even Minh was no match for her.
I'll try to make up for the words I couldn't phrase then. Line, I will do my best to honor your discipline, to work relentlessly for a worthy goal, to never yield. And when faced with hardship or doubts, I will find a hammock, raise my beer and think of you.
To Line, the most inspiring badass I know.