I had one of those moments Sunday night where, you know, you’re just about to fall asleep when your brain decides, “oh you’re all cozy and pumped on your weekend, I think I’ll start running through all.of.the.things on your to-do list for the next couple of days so you’re super nervous and awake for a few more hours.” Rude. I found myself deciding to listen to those thoughts and I did in fact start getting nervous about the details of each thing on that to-do list and how the heck I was going to get all.of.the.things done. Over the course of 30 minutes, my brain started drifting off in different directions about life and the could haves and the should haves and the what ifs. I’m not sure if it was hearing Eric sleeping right next to me, or realizing that I myself am alive, breathing, and healthy but it hit me like a load of bricks.. out of nowhere, “I am ALIVE, right now, right this very moment.”
I’m not sure if you have ever had a moment hit you so forcefully it leaves you in complete awe and amazement about something so simple, something you take for granted more often than not, something like the pure amazing fact that you are existing on this earth right now. I’m not sure why it hit me so hard this weekend, but I woke up Monday morning with a new excitement, a new kind of gratitude.
Realizing how precious and short this life is makes the to-do lists I’m stressing out about, a little less stressful. It helps me remember how important it is to make sure I am living a life I am excited about, one that helps me remember how freaking lucky I am to be alive, one that allows me to SEE and BE OPEN to of all of the opportunities, one that constantly reminds me that I am capable to have what I want in life if I make the decision to work towards it.
Over the weekend I asked, “What lights your fire?”
What is it in life that makes you feel so alive, so happy, so excited to be living and breathing right at this very moment? Are you living your life with this in mind? When was the last time you felt like that?
I think life gets so busy that we sometimes we forget what it is that makes us excited to be on this earth. We get so caught up in the motions, so wrapped up in what everyone else wants us to be doing, or what we “should” be doing, or what we don’t have time to be doing.. That we don’t make enough time to light our souls on fire, to do the things that make us feel so alive, so happy, so full of life. And if we aren’t doing that, we aren’t presenting our best selves to the world, and that is preventing us from living our best lives, from being totally connected to our True North.
If you think back to when you were a little kid, those ages where the fear of the unknown did not stop you from swinging as high as you could and seeing how far you could launch yourself off of the swingset, or where you danced your heart out because you really didn’t care who was watching. I think somewhere along the way we lose that inner kid, where the fear of the unknown and the potential of negative consequences really start guiding our decisions. We start listening to what other people want us to be or think we should be and lose that excitement for life, that excitement of what is possible. We decide not to see how far we can jump because we are too afraid of possibly breaking an arm. Our decisions become safe and we learn to settle. But why.. and for what?
Is it because someone once told you a dream you had “wasn’t practical,” that your goals in life were “unrealistic,” that you would fail, and doing something “out of the norm” wasn’t a “safe” path, that you would be judged? For a long time, I put off the things I really wanted to do for those reasons. But the things that people tell us are impossible or unrealistic are usually the things our truest self really wants to experience, they are usually the answers to fully living and experiencing this amazing life. When we push away our truest desires, we are telling ourselves that these things are not possible for us and that we should choose something more along the lines of “safe” but when we only get one chance on this earth, why settle for mediocre?!
I think in order to look past the safety net through to the things we are actually craving, to the life our inner kid wants to be living, we have to sit down and get verryyy clear on the things that make us the happiest and what we really want out of this precious life.
If I am ever feeling lost or need some clarity, I grab a pen and a piece of paper and reflect on the following questions:
1. What am I grateful for?
(list at least 5 things)
2. What makes me truly happy - what lights my whole being on fire?
How can I make some space to do some of these things in my daily life?
3. What are MY life dreams and goals?
Have I been working towards them? Or have I been putting them off? Why have I been putting them off?
4. Is there anything stopping me from living my best life?
What small changes can I make on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to start living my best life?
When we can be very clear on our goals and dreams in life, we can start making them a reality. The first step is realizing that you can.
Over time, I realized that I could make choices for myself. It took really understanding what I want in life and going after it forcefully. I started grasping that there isn’t just one way to live, that I didn't have to do what everyone else thought I should do. I trusted myself enough to know that I was going to be okay at the end of a decision. I started figuring out what really made me happy and understanding that anything was possible if I wanted it badly enough and if I say “I can’t,” then I won’t.
Changing the way we view life and what is possible with that life is the difference between living one that everyone else wants us to live, one that is safe, vs one that we have always wanted to live, that deep desire within us, that little kid within us that isn’t afraid to leap.
There have been several times in my life where I decided to listen to my gut, my dreams and just go for it. Whether deciding I was going to do everything I could to do Bike and Build and bike across the country, or switch my major to something that left my options a little more vague, or leave a large, secure corporation to work for a 3 year old start up, or leave a relationship because I knew I wanted more, or to face my fears and try rock climbing, or devote most of this year to studying to become a personal trainer even though I am so scared of failing my test, or live out of my car for a month and travel, or up and move to a ski town in a new state without a job, or decide I am starting my own business someday, or even being vulnerable in this blog. All of these things had some sort of warning signs from other people in my life but in my heart, I knew they were things I needed to do in order to live the kind of life I wanted. And you know what? I haven’t regretted a single decision.
Did everything go as planned? Absolutely not. Was I scared out of my mind at times? Of course.
But it has always been worth it because I learned something about myself. And because I knew the only thing I would regret is looking back knowing I didn’t try something or make the difficult decision to leap.
I will leave you with this challenge. Answer the above questions and then do least one thing that completely lights your soul on fire, really make some space to feel that yumminess today. Whether it be grabbing dinner with some friends and having a good belly laugh, or snuggling up with your loved ones to watch a movie and eat ice cream, or going for a long run in the foliage, or playing some music and dancing your heart out or even making some steps towards a goal you have been working on. What is it that lights your soul on fire?
We get one life, friends. One precious, amazingly beautiful, spectacular life. So take full advantage of it and go for what you have always dreamed of. Make decisions that will make YOU happy. Because everything does work out. You are going to be okay. Trust yourself.
One final quote to stick in your back pocket because Henry David Thoreau says it exactly: