Whenever I pen my articles for this column, I am often asked one question, “What defines a champion?” We are quick to think that a champion is one who has won awards, racked up millions, and is one who is “living the life.” And while these people are commendable, in my heart of hearts, the true champions of life are the ones who have weathered through storms gracefully, wearing their battle scars proudly.
One of these people is Baldwin Velasco. From the outside, Baldwin appears to be the guy who has it all—a finance executive for a financial institution who fills his social media feed with stories of adventure and exploration.
Upon meeting him, his aura exuded a different kind of confidence that is far from intimidating. It is a confidence that has been tested by time and one honed by the challenges of life. Baldwin, who grew up in a traditional Chinese home, also holds a degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology.
It was a normal life and he appreciated all that he had: a loving family, a good job, and a 12-year relationship. Or so he thought. For Baldwin, his entire life changed with the demise of a relationship that he thought would last forever. “It shook my entire world.”
Baldwin, just like anyone who has gone through a heartbreak, was devastated with what has happened. It was a long healing process for Baldwin that started with initially concealing his heartbreak with replacements, “The immediate response was to find a replacement. The greatest lesson I’ve learned, however, is that instead of replacing things I’ve lost along the way to fill the void, it’s best to focus on what is in the here and now.”
In the midst of a heartbreak, he reached out and focused on his family, cultivating meaningful friendships while at the same time recalibrating his sense of self. In the process of losing what seemed to be the most important area of his life, he focused on the betterment of self and on finding happiness within, as cliche as it may seem.
He also used the time he was blessed with to focus on the betterment of issues in the local LGBT community, a community where he met good friends, “My greatest mission is to create a world of safety for us in the LGBT community. I firmly believe that with the right tools, the community would no longer be plagued with issues that cause them harm.”
Today, Baldwin is working overtime to provide the community with the right tools that will educate them.
Baldwin looks back on the experience and sees the positive in it instead of the negative. His biggest advice, “Refocus. It is very difficult but once you get your priorities straight and appreciate those who are still there for you, everything will fall into place again. Nothing is forever, but there will always be something to be grateful for. The only person who will never leave you is yourself and God.”
Baldwin is proof that we can all be everyday heroes and that the greatest definition of being a hero is pursuing what is for the good of others even if we are hurting ourselves. This is where our greatest victory lies.
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