I’ve been pretty active all my life but there were times when you just had to devote all your time into something else. I say there are no excuses unless its really a personal issue.
I grew up in the suburbs of Austin, Texas. I remember when I was younger my parents signed me up for gymnastics and basketball which I didn’t find much interest in. Later on I found out tennis was my thing. I took private lessons and played for the USTA from middle school to high school. I also played on the high school team.
During the high school years I decided on a career goal. As much as I loved tennis I knew I didn’t have the skills to become pro. I wish but it was a dream and I had to stick with a more realistic plan. It wasn’t something I knew I wanted to pursue. I was into art and design and it was suggested that architecture would fit my interest. I ended up ditching tennis for the 2 architecture classes they offered in school for the chance to play in the high school varsity team. The result was good. I built model houses and was designing on the computer.
I carried this passion of art and design to college but the game of tennis was still there. I took tennis class as an elective too. I also took Tai-Chi class because I was always interested in martial arts, mainly because of Bruce Lee — his philosophy and just a pure lean mean killing machine. He’s just awesome and I wanted to be like him. I ended up assisting the coach for other students in both classes. I learned teaching was tons of fun.
I graduated and decided to apply for my Masters in Architecture. I wanted to extend my knowledge in theory and design. I also wanted to teach architecture to students. While I was there I joined the Chinese Lion Dance Club, which is part of a larger martial art community. I also picked up a bike and started biking.
After receiving my masters I ended up working just in time for the 2008 market crash. I can’t remember how many times I had to find another job. It became a broken record. I couldn’t go on with this pattern anymore. I have also noticed a pattern within the office. What did I do 9 to 11 hours a day in the office? I sit in front of a computer all day. I needed to change this not for myself but my future.
Throughout the predictable outcome of the economy I ended up without a job for days, weeks and sometimes months. During that time I became more serious about cycling, I ended up coaching tennis, and also started running. This is what I love doing and it helped me focus on my goals and that life is worth more than a jobless situation. I also become LEED certified and CPBD certified. Both architectural accreditations which I keep current because you never know.
Coming from an active background I wasn’t able to adapt to the office setting. Same thing applies today. After 7 years I decided that this wasn’t going to work, although designing my own house or for others is still a lifetime goal, I wanted to be on my feet — teaching or coaching people on a regular basis. This ultimately has led me to pursue my certificate as a personal trainer.
I’m certified as of October 2013 and while I am still freelancing I look forward in the upcoming years in building success in this new industry. I guess the real journey starts here.
-Jonathan Chen, Exercising Cap