Saturday, August 15, 2015

What I Learned about Life on My Birthday

It was seven years ago this week that Ronda won a bronze medal at the Olympics. I wouldn't even have realized that if I hadn't gotten a message on twitter from the Judo Inside people congratulating me on the anniversary.

It was a day of mixed feelings - disappointed when she lost in over time to drop her into the bracket to fight for the bronze, excitement when she won the bronze medal match. Ronda had trained for years leading up to that and as her family, it had been a lot of effort and sacrifices to help her get there.

Seven years later, I wasn't even thinking about it. I'm in Salt Lake City, Utah as part of the Boom Startup Ed Tech Accelerator. I'm sure Ronda wasn't thinking about it, either. She went on vacation somewhere with no cell phone service and no Internet.

Seven years ago, I left Beijing on my birthday, flew to Tokyo where I had terrific sushi, then flew home to Los Angeles and went out to dinner with my husband. Thanks to time zone changes, my birthday lasted much longer than 24 hours. It was a very nice day. At the time, I was on the USJA board and probably fighting with half a dozen people on the board and on the USA Judo board (because we were always fighting about something with no outcome but wasted time). I hadn't thought about them in years until I sat down to write this post.

Now, I spend my time very productively and happily making computer games that teach math, social studies and (soon) English.  The work I do improves people's lives and employs people (which also improves their lives because no one ever says 'Hey, look at me, I'm broke and unemployed. This is so awesome.' )

There is a point in here that is very important ....

I was talking to my brother, who teaches middle school, and he commented that his students get so emotional about insults (real or imagined), disappointments and accomplishments. We agreed that it because they have no perspective.

Recently, Ronda did something that made me want to smack her in the head. I was quite annoyed. Her sister, Jennifer, who not coincidentally also teaches middle school, commented,

I know you are upset, Mom, but it's not the first mistake she has ever made and it won't be the last. She'll figure out for herself eventually that it's wrong and then she'll do the right thing.

The point is that too often we make ourselves miserable or unbearably arrogant because of a single failure or success.  Whatever it is that you are sobbing or cheering about today you probably won't even remember happened five years from now.

I'm not saying that we should all go through life like robots because nothing really matters. What I am saying is don't get too stressed about the things that go wrong. Also, don't be a pompous ass about the things that go right. As both Ronda and Julia commented after winning the junior nationals, 10 years apart,

"It's great the day you win, but then it's tomorrow."

Here is the other important point - what matters isn't any single day. It's all the days added up together. And at the end of the day - there is always another day. You can try again tomorrow.


Feel smarter? Want to be even smarter? You can check out 7 Generation Games. This is my day job.
Because it's my birthday (today!) for any game bought or donated this week, my company will match it with a donation to a program for low-income youth.

Happy Birthday to me!


LsP said...

So, Jennifer was there when this Ronda slapping ordeal (did not) happened, and Jennifer hardly spends time anywhere with the family, so, this had to be in Brazil. Ronda beat Bethe.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

I don't know where you got that idea. Jennifer spends plenty of time with the family. She just keeps a low public profile.

Tiffany Vogan said...

Words from a stranger:
I'm a 30 y.o correctional officer. A few years ago I was fit, happy, positive and confident. Something changed. My morale was decreased. I became an unhappy, unmotivated, and overweight. I like to blame it on my job and the daily environment but the truth is I allowed myself to become something I don't like. I have read books, talked to to friends and trainers, and listened to tapes proclaiming they are the answer. Nothing helped. The heavier I got the less I wanted to change. Truthfully, three weeks ago I had no idea who you or your family were. I was walking through a bookstore when My Fight, Your Fight caught my eye. It looked like an interesting read so I bought it. I finished it the same day. Something about it struck a nerve. The words that I had so desperately needed to hear were in that book. Why was I not being the best me possible? Why was a settling for mediocre? It's been two weeks and I'm down several lbs and I've managed to cut out my addictions. I know it won't be all rainbows and sunshine from here on out but it's a start. I thank you for being a strong woman. I thank you for raising strong women who will change the world, even if it's just the world of a simple soul like mine. I was giving something I needed, a swift kick in the ass from a stranger. Our paths may never cross but you and your family will always be in my prayers. God bless! Tomorrow is a new day and I'm finally looking forward to it again!

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Glad to hear it, Tiffany.

Keep up the good work.

Tiffany Vogan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexander Gauthier said...

Tiffany, keep pushing! Great post btw, thanks for laying it the way you did. Many of us hit that career "pitfall" affecting our state and making us compensate in weird ways. Seems like we're going down the wrong path but feel "ok" and develop that not giving a crap feeling which seems "sustainable" but tolerable.

Sorry for the rambling, bottom line is it's never too late, especially at 30 you youngster :)

You're beautiful btw :)


Bri said...

Love this dose of common sense. Hope you will keep writing your blog. I'm not a math geek but these are good words. And Ronda is somebody to be proud of. She came to Jacksonville for a book signing and was so accommodating, despite pressure to get to the airport. She waded into the bookstore crowd for some "group selfies." She was thinking of others. Nice to see.

leticia gomez said...

You are an incredible mother I love her! Today was also my birthday and Learned Also reading your post, I love all that counts and ignore critical comments I AM OF ARGENTINA

Anonymous said...

No internet??? No cell phone service?? The moon is the only place I can think of. Everyone in the world knows she went to Texas to go fishing...or some shit like that.
Some little hick town a little west of South Padre Island (the party capital of the gulf coast)... It must have been one banging vacation. I hope she had a good time.

LsP said...


TonyD said...

Wait, what did Ronda do that annoyed you?

Rina Mendoza said...

This reminds me a lot of Ecclesiastes (my favorite book in the Bible). Many people think that's it's depressing and it gives you a feeling of hopelessness. I wholeheartedly disagree. This train of thought has given me hope in hard times and puts life as a whole into perspective.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

There are lots of places in this country with no cell phone and no internet. Trying to work in those areas is the bane of my life.

Tiffany Vogan said...

Mr Alexander thank you for the awesomely kind words! I'm excited about the progress I am making and am looking forward to the road ahead. It's wonderful to know there are people out there still willing to support a stranger. Beautiful is a strong word sir but I humbly accept your compliment and say thank you for the smile today.

Anonymous said...

When someone makes 10 million a year there is no place on this earth where it is impossible to conmunicate via phone or internet...if they so desire...I am sure you know this to be true...ever heard of satellite uplink???

Anonymous said...

More integrity lost after the morning announcement. I guess your daughter is targeting the 50% retards that are oblivious to all things MMA. The fact is that if Jessica Eye had won then she would be fighting Ronda. But Meisha won...and was promised by Dana to fight Ronda next. If Ronda thinks Dana is a man of integrity, which he is not, then Ronda must be the same. The money is beginning to tighten the stranglehold on your daughter...and you do not recognize this...or you are in agreement...which makes you just as bad and full of bullshit.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

I just returned from 2 weeks in Utah and I have no idea what this is all about, why Holly is the next fight or what happened. If I have no idea, then I'm pretty certain YOU anonymous person, don't either, but you have elected to think the worst of people you don't know.

Tiffany Vogan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

this whole slapping ronda in the head deal probably has to do with the travis browne rumors.

Tiffany Vogan said...

I'm not sure if my last post worked correctly or not so forgive me if it did and I'm just being repetitive here but this awesome blog that has been so disrespected has me beyond annoyed. 1) Social media has allowed people to say what they want, who they want, to whomever they want behind the guise of anonymous. If you're going to say something negative have the courage to say it and own it. Cyber bullying is ridiculous. 2) Ronda gets paid to fight. That's her job. Would you work for the most money possible however it's offered? She was offered a fight. She took it. That's how bills are paid whether it's behind a desk or in a cage. 3) Integrity? Let's talk about that. Is the definition of integrity to disrespect or insult a child to their mother? Does it make you better because you can vocalize your opinion on a situation you probably know nothing about? 4) New does not equate to bad. Let's give some new girls some chances. Meisha had her shot. How many does she get? Should we keep beating a dead dog? Ronda is better. Simple. 5) This a blog by the incredible Dr Annmarie. It is not all access Ronda. Let's use the appropriate forums for these conversations and let the doc do her thing. She shouldn't have to defend her daughter here.

Ricki Walterscheid said...

Preach it, Sister Vogan!

Cuivre said...

I don't have a problem with Holly Holm getting her bid for the belt. I remember a brash young judoka making her presence known in the MMA world and making it very known that she wanted a shot at the champion-the champion, Miesha Tate, deep down inside, realized she was in for a world of trouble and wanted to enjoy her belt a little longer before meeting this straight talking young woman in the octagon. So very interesting how the world changes and twists- now we have a visibly reluctant challenger put into the position of facing her dream title shot straight in the eye. All this despite this challenger having been in the sport longer than Ronda, the current champion. Ronda, like any professional, likely has her private disagreements with Dana White behind closed doors- not in the earshot of the media and rumor mongers.

Aira Bongco said...

Don't forget to forgive yourself. No use in battering yourself up if it will lead you away from the solutions.

Ventus said...

There isnt really anything much to say about how UFC aranges fights lately.
Its no grand wonder or mysterious plan.
They simply set up fights according to which combinations will get better viewing ratings and ticket and PPV sales.

Miesha or anyone else in UFC that deserve a fight according to the rankings and other official data simply wont get it if its clear that fight wont produce enough interest and therefore good sales.
And at this moment a fight with Holly is simply more interesting for reasons we all know.

This is UFC changing its business to be more like Pride was, and Belator is doing the same simply because its clear that people prefer and like matches that have interesting opponents with some kind of story about it, then matches according to rankings that dont have much of a story to them and turn out to be stalling, unattractive, slow events where fighters strategise about the same ranking positions too much.

Thats why Gustafson got the match with Cormier, btw. Thats why Diaz fought Anderson Silva, thats why McGregor is at the position he is, etc, etc.

Its been going on this whole year and some few last dumbasses should wake up and smell the coffee. There will still be matches according to rankings and whatnot, but its a mix and match procedure and UFC still needs to balance it all better.
Its gonna take time. Deal with it, ffs.
Of course one or two pathetic low individuals who reduced themselves to "Ronda haters" will pathetically take any such angle to make their dumb troll posts seem somehow more reinforced and "true".