One afternoon about a few year ago, as we would do every so often did and still do, I sat down with some of my old friends for coffee, reminiscing about the old days, retelling old stories about our old ways. We all come from different walks of life but we all had one characteristic that tied us all since college; we were all forward thinkers who loved the classic traditions.
We always found amusing how far we got in those days, armed with little more than a cocky confidence, a smile, and the ability to act more professional than we actually were back then. Today we are older, wiser, and actually became respectable professionals in our respective fields, but we never forgot it was thanks to all the lessons we learned back then.
“If only I could leave an instruction manual, a sort of guide, to my kids and grand-kids in case I’m gone so they don’t have to learn the way we did, hard way, by making more than our share of mistakes.” This conversation was just a few weeks after my mother had passed unexpectedly. A few months before her passing, my doctor had warned me to start taking care of myself or I wouldn't reach 40. Like so many, I never took him seriously, till my own mother's sudden passing made my doctors a lot more serious. In just a few days, all that philosophical verbiage I used to spout out from my martial training, how you have to “Live today as if you could die tomorrow”, became a reality alarmingly fast. We looked at each other and raised our cups in agreement and understanding. That was the informal start of what I called the Caballero Club.
With an idea in my head, I began my first draft about a year ago for what I called back then the Caballero Chronicle. Originally, the project was going to be a guide for Latino empowerment, following the old Gentleman Traditions from
. Yet, the
further I dealt in the topic, the more I realized that the lessons of
empowerment I wanted to tell others, were not limited to a single ethnicity or race, or even
culture. They were about understanding who you are as a man in a modern word. It started to take shape in the form of a thesis of self-empowerment based on the Universal Truths of Respect, to
others and to self. Spain
So armed with a proposal and about 45K worth of words, I headed to test the waters as an amateur writer. And that’s when I found out? If you are an unpublished author, complete unknown, trying to push a book, the waters were really cold and unkind. Yet instead of getting frustrated by the rejections, I got frustrated with myself.
I realized I failed my own lessons, specially the idea that you don’t travel to reach a goal, but to experience the trip. I was so focused in having a manuscript ready to try to sell to a publisher, that I lost track of why I was doing. And so I put the draft away.
That was the formal start of Being Caballero.
I would simply enjoy the ride. Write, read, see people’s reactions. Treat it the same way you would when having a conversation with a friend. Sometimes you teach them something, other times they teach you something. Yet this conversation would be with the world. Am I the same man I was when I began? No. I am not even the same man I was when I began writing this article. That’s the beauty of life, you constantly grow and learn.
Every once in a while I still get together with my friends and have some coffee and catch up, just now it’s usually on Skype since we each live in different time zones. We still discussing just how being a gentleman, how being honorable, how being educated, and how being cultured, all helped us forge our lives. We discussed how that attitude got us through hard times and helped us enjoy even more the good times. Many of those chats have actually evolved into some of the stories and lessons you have read here. The book deal? That will happen if it has to happen. I hand that over, like so many things in my life, to fate. Right now I am a little too busy just enjoying a conversation with the world.