Perfectly Flawed: An Open Secret (February Challenge PT1)

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

Perfectly Flawed: An Open Secret

Post 1 will be about how your experiences have affected your personal life and what your book would be about. I can share my book would be about the personal lessons below, and how they guide me through a good life.

  • In Winter 1985/1986 I was homeless, living in my car for 3 months at 16yrs.
  • In April 1989 both my hands 80% amputated at 20 yrs. Physical recovery would take 3 years and the PTSD is still with me to this day.
  • In late 1989, bought my first house through both rent-to own and seller financing methods. This taught me a lot about real estate ownership and investing and set my RE investing in motion that continues to this day, I just bought another investment property in July 2021.
  • 1995 Married at 26 yrs. – it felt right at the time.
  • In 1997 I became a dad at 29 yrs. – planned happiness.
  • 2000 -divorced at 31 yrs. And forced into a custody battle of epic proportions; PTSD returned stronger than ever.
  • 2002 Remarried my love, Ailina at 34 yrs. in our beloved Maui.
  • Moved to San Diego, CA in 2003 at 35 yrs. (a promise kept).
  • 2018-Present: There have been many challenges in the last 4+ years, my marriage needed to be worked on and I’m proud to say we did and we’re better the last three years than the previous 19 years.
  • My 50th birthday came with having a stroke 3 days later, luckily a mild one known as a transient ischemic attack(TIA) but this set me on a gym workout and yoga journey than allowed me to lose 40 lbs and feel young again.
  • The pandemic of 2020-2022 brought my bride and I closer, my business took off like a rocket and we suffered much loss. Ironically no one was lost to COVID-19, but we lost a parent, family, friends and our beloved dog Peroni all in the last 2 years.
  • But I’ll share this, it’s a journey I wouldn’t re-do differently, it’s led me here and I’m quite happy; it’s a good life, not always great, because people die, lie and cry, but always a good life because it’s filled with gifts amongst the challenges.

May 1989, 1 month after my hand's reconstructive surgery.

Notice they are completely covered in "boxer casts" -

I had no use of them for months and needed 100% care.

Personally, what my total experiences have taught me are easily summed up here, but quite the Cliff Notes version as my life lessons are a three-part book deal, and yet I feel I’m still learning so this at best, is an incomplete list even if completely shared; I'm a work in progress until my last breath.

The accident with my hands, where they were crushed into 80% amputation, whether I like it or not, has taught me not to complain so much. When I look at my scars I remind myself, "Dude, you went through much worse in 1989, is this really THAT bad?" I still do complain, but I catch quicker and restore perspective. It really seems too ridiculous sometimes what upsets me, compared to the accident. I have to laugh off my silliness - it's a good life - relax!

October 4, 1997 I became a Dad to Wyatt Thomas Nelson

The most important thing in life to me is love, loving your family, your spouse, your kids, your friends and most importantly, you MUST love yourself first. You cannot love another completely if you do not first love yourself.

Then, once you do love someone, the most important thing I've learned about love, is forgiveness. Be willing to own your mistakes and forgive yourself. Be willing to forgive others for their mistakes. We’re all flawed beautiful humans, we’ll all blow it occasionally. Holding a grudge, hate and animosity is toxic, it’s cancer. People need to be worthy of forgiveness, I'm sure we all have someone that we had to walkaway from permanently, but we can privately forgive them in our hearts and settle for indifference rather than carry hatred for them the rest of our lives.

October 5, 2002, Ailina did me the honor of becoming my bride for life.

The Grand Wailea - Maui, Hawaii

Learn to love freely, learn to forgive generously. Don’t judge others, for they are hard enough on themselves, you don’t need to pile on to the expectations they put upon themselves. I decided I need to be able to offer encouragement if I see their potential, advice if they are asking only or simple silence-I stay out of it sometimes as a best course of action.

(left) My first purchase San Mateo, CA 1989

(above) My first San Diego, CA purchase 2007

My experiences have taught me many other helpful lessons be tenacious but polite, be flexible, but establish your boundaries, be honest but not hurtful and most of all, seriously…never ever quit until the heartbeat ends, if there’s a pulse, there’s a chance. I never give up on something until it is truly time to do so,  because I’ve been told “no” only to get a “yes” and I’ve seen seemingly "impossible" results come to fruition; so be passionate about your goals and be true to yourself and get after it! One life, don't blow it.


Posted by

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
I Offer Rebates to Veterans
& Active Duty

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RCS-Divorce     Southern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

Comments (10)

Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Experience is matter and they shape us years down the road and we don’t always see it coming but we usually have something profound to learn from them.

Feb 27, 2022 08:02 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I'm always amazed: receiving a comment on 700 word post in less than 60 seconds of my posting it. 🙄😂🤣 And even more so when it's part one of two and they do not read part 2. Things that make you go Hmmmm?!!

Feb 27, 2022 08:12 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I read your post backwards. and it did not make a difference.  They both have wonderful stories and lots of great advice.  A

Feb 27, 2022 10:29 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Many thanks Ron and Alexandra Seigel 

Feb 27, 2022 10:52 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Thomas you've worked through a lot of stuff in your life and learned what's most important to you.  Lots of great insight and advice that so many will appreciate!

Feb 27, 2022 11:30 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Thank you Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker -much appreciated.

Feb 27, 2022 11:51 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Wow, Thomas! There's nothing like a major tragedy to keep perspective on some of the other crap that happens in life.  Thank you so much for opening up and sharing!

Feb 27, 2022 12:24 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Thomas- awesome. You have been through more than what many have and thrived. What an interesting life you are leading. And what you have endured can be an inspiration for us all. 

Feb 27, 2022 03:26 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Thomas - I read this part of your story yesterday, let it sink in so an appropriate comment might be "ready" today.  I read it again. 

The challenges in life may be summed up as Cliff's Notes at times for any situation even an AR contest but there are some thoughts that come through a bit stronger, more meaningful, on a second visit.  And isn't that also a part of a review of life (so far)?   It's more than perspective.   It's a journey.  And a learning experience.  A good read.  Again.  And a lesson.  For you and for others if they think about the thoughts but search beyond them too.  

Feb 28, 2022 06:11 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

That is quite an accomplishment to lose 40 lbs. and I am happy to hear that you bounced back so well.  You are an inspirations and I love that sky diving picture, though, that is as close as I ever will get to sky diving. 

Feb 28, 2022 11:15 AM