As you read about me below and throughout my blog postings, you will see more about who I really am. I’m an average guy to many, a nothing to some, and to others– extraordinary. There’s nothing hidden or cryptic in my verbiage, just simple words from my heart and mind. As you can see from reading my blog, I like quotations – they inspire me, humble me and teach me. All the words in bold blue text in each posting are an encapsulation of my raw thoughts. My hope is that through my words, YOU will be inspired, motivated, and taught. Please feel free to leave your comments here…then I can learn from you. :)
My given name is James Michael Filbird. Nicknames: Jim, Jimmy, Jimbo. My family name is very rare; as far as I know, only 5 people in the entire world have this family name. I was born to Nancy Dolan and Richard Filbird on 2.27.59 in San Diego, CA, USA at 9:36p.m. at Scripps Memorial Hospital. I weighed 8lbs. 3oz. at birth. I was a chubby Pig baby born into the 90th percentile weight class of infants born in America. I have sea blue eyes that still work well without any external optics, even after staring at a computer screen for 27 years. My blood type is very rare: AB+ (only 3% of the world’s population share this blood type.) I’m predominantly left-handed (a Southpaw like President Obama is) but use the right side of my body almost as freely as my left. Only about 2% of the world’s population are true Southpaws.
Another personal rarity is that I’ve had my tonsils surgically removed twice – they grew back – at ages 3 and 5. What’s strange is that even after 49 years, I still remember the happy and bizarre moments from that last tonsil surgery very clearly. It was surreal in many ways which is why I suppose I still remember it so vividly. In fact, it was the only time in my life that I remember ever having had to stay in a hospital overnight. It’s a good thing too because I’m afraid of them. They remind me of when I visited close friends who were very sick and some who never made it out alive from them. Thank goodness hospitals are also where life begins and is preserved. I’m happy and proud that my mother is helping bring new life into the world as a labor and delivery nurse for a prestigious hospital in California, USA.
Perhaps now you’re beginning to see that I’m an oddball of sorts from all the rarities and oddities surrounding my life. I’m truly “one-of-a-kind!” Another personal oddity is my astrological star signs – Pisces and Pig. This combination makes me quite a complicated man since my star signs are both the very last signs in both Western and Eastern astrological charts. According to many astrology experts, this means that I possess some of the traits of all the other star signs above mine. I guess you could call me an astrological mutt. Yikes! No wonder I still can’t figure out who I am after all these years.
My hobbies are varied – I enjoy golf, swimming, traveling, reading, spending time with good friends, shopping, eating at good-tasting restaurants, going to a park or beach, wine tasting, playing ping-pong & badminton, and watching a good movie. I recently started playing X-Box video games for the first time in my life. It’s so much fun! I grew up mostly in coastal California cities swimming and surfing at the beach. Some serious hobbies I had in America were snow skiing, water skiing, bicycling, weightlifting, racquetball, river rafting, jogging, playing croquet and basketball. I was a city-slicker most all my life enjoying 300 days a year of nice sunshine. As a teenager, I made a big change in my life and moved to the wooded hills near the Canadian border. I lived in the deep woods of northern Michigan, USA where I fished, trapped, and hunted like a mountain man when I was 16-18 years of age. I finished high-school there and learned to value friendships and to respect nature. Fast-forward 36 years; now I’m settled in to an amazing super-congested, super-rich, super-fast Chinese city with 13 million residents. I never thought I would ever end up here at this point in my life, but here I am. It’s strange how life can bring you surprising and wonderful things…if you just let it.
I am the oldest of five children – two brothers and two sisters. I got married at 23 and divorced at 31. My marriage was both a happy one and a very sad one, of which I learned so much from. I have two wonderful sons – Shane, 28 and Myles, 25 (photos below.) They are both university graduates living in America and living a life I wished I was living when I was their age. Shane is married and neither has any children — yet. They are good people, sons, citizens and I’m so proud of their personal accomplishments in life. Shane, my eldest son is an officer in the US Marines. My youngest son Myles is a professional computer animator for a TV station in New York city.
In the twelfth year of my life (coincidentally, a Pig year), I discovered real life personal tragedy. I lost three very dear friends of mine – my grandfather, my best male friend, and my best female friend. That year, I watched my grandfather, Jack, slowly die in a hospital and convalescent home from a stroke he suffered at age 72. He was like a father to me and I loved him dearly. One summer Friday afternoon, my best male friend, Brian drowned at the beach we always swam together at. He was 12 years-old. I was supposed to go to the beach with him that day, but I couldn’t go. I guess its better that I didn’t go with him that day. Or what if I had gone with him that day, would the outcome been any different? One can only wonder. We did everything together and he was like a brother to me. Then a few months later, yet another tragedy struck me. One winter day I got the news that my best female friend died at the age of 12 from a rare pneumonia 4 months after I last saw her. She was my first love, the girl I promised in writing to marry when I turned 21 years of age. She was taken so early in life. That year was an unbelievably surreal time for me and an extremely sad period for me to endure. You’re never really prepared for death – especially the loss of your closest friends – so it is difficult to know how to get through the experience. What I took away from that experience was that life is precious, delicate, and sometimes…short.
I’m just a simple man in many ways – a spiritual sojourner seeking clarity in life, ultimate success in business, inspirational friendships, long lasting love, harmony with those I’m not like, happiness in health, and prosperous peace in his life. For 13 years (from age 19-32), I was a “born-again” Christian going to church 3 to 4 times a week and teaching high-school kids about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When my marriage ended, I forever changed my attitude about organized religion and their views about God. Gone are the days when believing everything would be better in my life just because I was a Christian. These days, I’m not religious and believe in a spiritual presence/force that gives us meaning to this crazy world and existence we call life. I believe that we live in a multi-dimensional, very complicated, yet perfectly simple world where perhaps dreams, angels, gods and eternity do exist. Unfortunately, our eyes and mind are only capable of seeing life in 3-D. So, in this life as we know it, we’re not able to see all the unseen, brilliant life that surrounds us everyday. Perhaps we can only truly understand this in death, which I believe is the start of a new beginning.
The following statement sums up my philosophical view of our existence: “We are all connected to each other biologically, to the Earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. The distinction between me, you, the ground, the air… all of it… is only a matter of ourselves, not a matter of reality.”
Throughout most of my professional career, I’ve worked in a sales and marketing capacity either for myself or for other companies. I’ve been self-employed since 2000 when I joined the throngs of entrepreneurs attempting to stake their claim in the dot-com funding boom during the early 2000′s. In 2000, two colleagues and I started a uniquely-themed toy company that combined soft toy animal with their online counterparts that could be virtually adopted online at our cartoon universe website. It was a brand new concept that no one else was doing at the time. It was my responsibility to find a China supplier to help us develop and mass produce the toys, which is what first brought me to China back in 2002. For the past five years I’ve been helping westerners do business in China as an exporter, a product development partner, a supply chain manager and also as a business consultant. For the past four years, I’ve been very active in developing my business at the world’s largest professional social networking website LinkedIn, where I am featured as one of the 100 Success Stories chosen from the 120 million registered worldwide members there. I’ve been featured in two books written by authors who contacted me through LinkedIn and was part of LinkedIn’s own pre-IPO online promotional campaign. I’m convinced that Social Media will forever change the world — hopefully in a positive manner for the masses.
I’ve traveled to almost every major city in America and in China. Both are fascinating countries that are entirely different from each other in almost every aspect. My first day in China, October 21st of 2002, I climbed to the top of the Great Wall and instantly fell in love with the country from that day on. One thing I will never forget about that day is: when I reached the highest point of the Great Wall, I saw something amazing – I saw a Chinese family enjoying a KFC picnic at one of the corners on the stone floor. I was so shocked! I didn’t even know KFC was in China. So, the very first time I ever saw KFC in China, was at the top of the Great Wall. It was such a surreal moment; it was like a living TV commercial to me. Four years later, I moved to Shenzhen, China to start a new life. So far, it has been a very interesting experience that I’ll never forget in all my life.
I came to China alone and I am still alone. I’ve only had one girlfriend since I lived in China; we were together almost everyday for six months and broke up over two years ago. Currently, I’m single and desire a woman who can tolerate my obsessions, understand my thinking and accept my weaknesses. She must able to take my energy, support and knowledge and turn it into something fantastic for herself, us and others. For her long-standing devotion to me, I will adorn her with lavish gifts, keep her healthy, beautiful looking and happy, teach her, and take her along with me as I travel the world. Throughout our life together, we will become more like each other, and like each other more. For now, she is merely a wishful thought within my imagination that yearns to become reality.
Since I moved to China I stopped doing many things that I had been doing most of my life, such as: driving a car, living in a ground floor home, eating American food, enjoying my hobbies, and spending time with my friends. Not having to drive a car is nothing I miss at all. Since age 15, I’ve been driving. I’ve driven over 1 million miles in my life, so I have no desire to drive anymore. I’ve learned to enjoy taking the subway, bicycle taxis, car taxis, and walking to get around. I have simplified my lifestyle since moving to China and live a cleaner life now compared to my lifestyle in USA. Thusly, I am reducing my Carbon Footprint and contributing to a cleaner living environment for future generations to enjoy.
One of the most interesting experiences I’m having here in China is that I’ve “adopted” a 16-year-old Chinese girl named Lisa whom I call my little sister. I met her parents nearly six years ago when they hired me to teach Lisa English. Soon after I started teaching her, I decided to teach her for free and sponsor her to attend a university in America. Lisa is smart, hard-working and a good girl. She exemplifies 1,000′s of Chinese students yearning for a better education and life with hopes of attending an American school and eventually a life there. I have taught her Advanced English for a few years and during the summertime I teach her swimming; she is one of the brightest students in the city of Shenzhen, and is an excellent swimmer too. She has inspired me to help other young Chinese students who wish to attend an American university and establish their lives in America. Someday, I would like to develop a unique and contemporary SINO/USA English Teaching Academy in Shenzhen and eventually into Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou in an effort to help 1,000′s of Chinese students wanting to study in USA or EU.
My goals while living in China are:
1) To marry a wonderful woman (my “Golden Lady“) and have a mixed-blood baby girl because I never had a daughter and also because China needs more girls since Chinese parents are obsessed with only having boys. All Chinese girls born in China are a blessing and necessary to China’s future civilization.
2) Develop a unique American-based English teaching/cultural academy center in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. Currently, there aren’t any learning centers in China like the one I envision developing.
3) Build a simple schoolhouse in Tibet for anyone who wants to learn English and American culture. I would construct the schoolhouse, provide desks, books, study supplies and recruit English speaking foreign locals to teach for me.
4) To continue learning more about China and its rich cultural heritage. Each day living in China, I am reminded to be more humble and to be a more tolerant person, which makes me a better person in many ways. I want to work together with Chinese businesspeople and achieve many successes together, so I must always be a good student learning more about the country I call my “second home.”
Below are photos of my two sons and myself.