I’m at the Jersey Shore. It’s 11:36 PM.
I spent the night riding my beach cruiser around with my sister and I took some time to reflect on my journey thus far.
2017 has been intense. It has been exciting and scary and exhilarating. It seems like every morning I’ve had to take a second to remind myself that this is really happening.
There are so many changes taking place and all of them are positive. I’m at this strange in between spot where I’m actually starting to feel like an adult (I would consider myself 13% grown up at this point) and I’m looking at my life from a different perspective.
During my bike ride and while watching drunk people awkwardly interact at the bar, I came up with a few things that are starting to make sense to me. I would like to share them with you now.
1 – Fear is a liar. It’s a dirty fucking liar
I talk a big game but I have fears just like everyone else.
I fear losing relationships I have, I fear not getting things I want that I have been working so hard for. I fear what other people think about me. Worst of all I fear that I’m not good enough. When I measure myself up to other people, I’ve always felt at least a few notches under par.
But one by one, I’ve conquered these fears. I’ve lost relationships and I didn’t die. I missed out on opportunities but new ones came my way. I’ve realized that not everyone needs to like me and most importantly I’ve learned that my feelings aren’t as important as my actions.
If I keep doing the right thing, I feel good about myself. It’s working so far. Actions predicate emotions.
Fear is 90% bullshit you have convinced yourself to be true.
2 – The race is long and you are only racing yourself
In my own head I used to compare myself to everyone.
For some strange reason, I can convince myself that everyone is doing better than I am. They either have more money or they have more happiness or they have the family that I hope to one day have. I’ve spent years comparing myself to other people, even people whom I love.
It took some time for me to really understand this concept. I think once you get to know lots of different people you start to see the truth in these situations.
The reality is that everyone is just a person. Everyone has their own ideas and their own doubts and their own insecurities.
Every day, try to do a little better than the day before. I deal with setbacks and keep from beating myself up too bad. It’s easy to paint an image in your head of what life must be like for someone walking down the street. But I promise you, it’s rarely the case.
There is a quote I heard once that has always helped me in these situations…
Do not waste your time with jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead. Sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end it’s only with yourself.
– Zig Ziglar
The most important battle is the one inside your own heart and mind. Win over yourself and you will the keys to the kingdom.
3 – No one actually wants to be happy
You hear that shit all the time.
“I just want to be happy.”
It’s not true. No one wants to be happy all the time. The problem is we have all watched too many family sitcoms and we think that a simple life of ease and comfort is what we need to strive for.
That’s bullshit. Please please don’t fall for that nonsense it will leave you feeling miserable.
Happiness is just an emotion. The same as anger or sadness. We all feel everything, because we are all just people.
To want to feel happy all the time is to rob ourselves of exactly what it is that makes us human. We need challenge, we need struggle and we need perseverance through it.
What we should all be striving for is not happiness, but rather we should be striving for wholeness. You find wholeness by serving others.
To be whole is to be satisfied. Each and every one of us has a spiritual requirement that needs to be met. If we don’t feed our spiritual being, we start to tell ourselves stories about what life should be like. But if we live in wholeness and contentment, we can feel happiness and sadness and anger and remain in tact.
We can do these things because we understand ourselves.
The point is, it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to not be happy all the time. Happiness is fucking boring. We are evolutionary required to struggle and to connect with other people. So find a commitment, find a way to be of service and the idea of happiness won’t even exist for you.
4 – Pain is not your enemy
I used to have a friend in my life named Sarah.
Sarah was cool. Over the years we grew apart, but she said something to me once that stuck with me. She said “I dare you to suffer.”
I’ve come to realize that pain is just the price to be paid for growth. It’s not a groundbreaking concept. It’s universal and it’s really fucking obvious.
You want to be in shape? You want a business? You want a healthy relationship? Do you want anything at all in your life???
You will need to suffer.
I always really loved that quote because if you find people that have traveled or built something of value or accomplished some milestone in their life, the one common denominator between them all is pain tolerance.
They were willing to pay the price and in exchange for their currency of pain, they bought a reward.
Do not be afraid of pain. Seek it out. Find things that you suck at and do them and get better at them. Soak it in and let your muscles burn and your heart throb and try your best to enjoy the agony.
Your future self will thank you.
5 – Life is nothing less than an adventure
When I was 23, I went to visit my grandfather in the hospital. He was living out his last moments surrounded by his family.
I was leaving the hospital to move to Florida. My grandfather was still alive, but I was leaving him full well knowing that was the last time I would ever see him.
In my heart I knew I had to leave Philly, but I was still twisted up about the situation. My uncle frank pulled out a piece of paper and he wrote the word “adventure.” He circled it and he gave it to me. I still have it.
I said goodbye to my grandfather and my family, I got on the plane and I never regretted it for a moment. The adventure awaited me.
The sad truth is that most of us are afraid. We are afraid to fail and we are afraid to expose ourselves to the elements. We are afraid to fall and we are afraid of heights. We are afraid of ridicule.
So we coast. We wake up and we work a job and we come home and we watch the fucking voice. We do this for years.
Until one day we die.
And on our death bed, how many of us will actually be able to say that we lived out our dream life? I honestly don’t know.
What I can tell you is that I will not be defeated in my demise.
When death comes knocking for me, I’m leaving this bitch with nothing left. I want to be completely burned out and dry and broken and used up.
And in those final moments, I will have one last chuckle because in my heart I will know that I gave back more than I took and I squeezed every last fucking drop of life out of this body.
One day you will die, so what are you waiting for?
It’s now 12:42. I’m sitting on a still night listening to the waves. I feel bigger than I’ve ever felt before. I feel like my life is truly entering a new chapter, one of which I welcome with open arms.
I still have so much to learn. I still have to see the northern lights, I still have to complete a triathlon, I still need to leave earths atmosphere and I still need to lock this girl down. All of these dreams of mine will come in due time.
But right now, right this very moment, I feel as though I know less than I ever have. The more I learn, the more questions I find. It’s a cyclical nature of progress I suppose.
Yet, I feel a calm that I am grateful for. I know it will not last much longer, but I will cherish it while I can.