My 26th Birthday Thoughts

Until yesterday, my last post talked about how I now am doing online teaching English with DadaABC and am loving it. You can read about it in detail here. Its the last month of the summer, and there are all sorts of extra hours available before the kids go back to school, so I decided to put in the hours this month and add 15 hours more to my already 27. Having to do prep and assessments, and also while working graveyard hours to accommodate China time, I’ve been exhausted. I didn’t think it would affect me this much, but I definitely have been more fatigued than I anticipated I would be.

I logged on yesterday with the intentions of trying to get caught up with most of your work for the last week and then making a quick post to say I would be going on a break. The more poetry and travel posts I read, the more my mind completely changed. I also became mindful that I was exhausted, and was about to consciously make a decision not to do something, writing poetry and blogging, which has allowed me to access more peace and finally start to feel increasingly happier with myself as this year’s progressed.

Last week I turned 26. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. My last two birthdays have left me feeling ridiculously old, but I didn’t feel that way at all this year. I think this is because I was dealing with all sorts of resistance and denial of my current situation at the respective times the last two years.

I hated poker, lived a very toxic lifestyle outside of poker, and the vicious cycle kept perpetuating which rendered all my effort in poker completely useless. I had never been able to actually get out of this cycle until I completely hit rock bottom and finally got out of poker. Poker itself isn’t bad, but I think it requires someone with such mental fortitude and no life leaks off the table. I now know that at the time it just wasn’t for me. Something it took me a long time to realize, and something I felt extreme sadness in given I put so many years into it, but something i inevitably had to let go.

Its sad that poker completely died over the years and that now that I’ve been able to change internally, that the opportunities that used to be available have eroded with time, and that what was once lucrative has completely decayed. It was a lesson that when opportunities like it come up, or when I’m extremely passionate about something that I need to follow it 100% and not let being irresponsible affect my dreams.

During my college years all I wanted to do was drop out. I was completely disinterested with my major and going to school made me depressed because it was not what I wanted to do with my life, but what my mom and girlfriend at the time prodded me into doing. Yes, I know ‘prodded’ is unfair, and that its ultimately my own life. Not making this mistake again. After I graduated, poker sadly had a year left until it reached its exponential death many pros had seen coming.

Now that I’m a teacher and am recuperating for having gone as close to rock bottom physically, financially, and spiritually as I’m comfortable with, I am making 70-75% less what I made playing poker, have very few friends in my hometown Las Vegas anymore, only two true ones, and don’t really leave the house much. I don’t mind this though now finally because I’ve grown to love my solitude, and my choice of solitude in itself is an act of surrender, so I can save as much as possible to travel with next year.

I think back on things and know that a decision I’ll always regret is not dropping out because that was an extra 900-1000 hours of playing poker I was forfeiting each year. That was $30,000-$40,000/year back when poker was what it used to be. It also is not spending money on tuition, and adding extra stress to my life for a little piece of paper. It would have been a conscious decision to follow a dream instead of living the dream’s of others.

I never really knew I would love teaching as much as I do, but what I was passionate about when I made the decision was traveling and experiencing different cultures. Originally, teaching was a Machiavellian approach to traveling for me, but now it is what I love. All I want to do is travel around Asia next year, write poetry, and logon to DadaABC and teach my students.

Over the years I’ve had a lot of many incredible people come in and out of my life. I had a relationship I am truly grateful for that taught me so much about myself, and how much I needed to change about myself, and am blessed to have a guardian angel in my heart that’ll never fade. I don’t have many friends in my home town, but I have 7 people I consider best friends scattered around the US, and in Pakistan and Scotland. I’m not rich, but I have a wealth of experiences and people in my life I’m truly grateful for.

This year a 5 year tradition ended. I didn’t go to karaoke this year. On my birthday I had Korean BBQ and a few bottles of soju with one of my friends, and then the next day my oldest childhood friend, my first friend in Vegas when I first moved here 16 years ago, came over for some cake and we watched Goodwill Hunting. He chose that, so I was like why not? Its been over a year since I last saw it, and its one of my favorite movies.

I’m 26 years young, have created a lot of amazing memories, and still have so many yet to create. Can confidently say this is the cleanest my mind has been in years, and am feeling the most I’ve felt for the right reasons. I’m no longer obsessed with chasing money in poker or chasing girls to fill a void I now know no longer exists.

Cheers and thanks for reading and all the support πŸ™‚

Until next time



24 thoughts on “My 26th Birthday Thoughts

  1. Awwww see the cute young you. Writing is indeed a wonderfully delicious outlet that helps relieve all that tension. Great to see you have so much purpose and done so much at such a tender age. Happy birthday to you. Keep shining! Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy 26th birthday Sherif!πŸŽˆπŸŽ‰ You have come a long way and it feels as if this journey made you whole again. A guardian angel in your heart is a true blessing and will guide you in taking care of yourself. The better you care for yourself the more you will be able to help others. Enjoy your break Sherif and much love to you from all of us here β˜ΊπŸ•πŸΎπŸΎ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Xenia!! And I’m not going through with the break, remember the more I read the more I changed my mind haha!! πŸ™‚

      And you’re right, having a guardian angel has definitely helped make some necessary changes.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! And yeah after 22 you start feeling like, umm… make it stahpppp!!! Its definitely pretty exhausting, but once I make it through August will have 15 hours less per week so will be fine πŸ™‚

      I checked out your site and enjoyed a few articles. Will definitely enjoy following you. Take care as well and have an awesome weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wishing you a belated happy birthday … and it is fantastic that you are now doing something you love. The money will come in time as you are obviously passionate about teaching and helping others. That, in itself, makes you rich … even if it doesn’t always feel like that in monetary terms. But as your passion for travel is strong, there is no doubt you can and will combine your love of exploring new places and cultures with your love of teaching. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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