Life Lessons from a 25 year-old Infant(Disclaimer: I’ve got an issue: I will never know if I can safely publish this, for I will always want to add more… so I’ll just effing publish it.)
This month marks the first year that I’ve poured my heart, soul and chaotic brain into this website. It also marks my twenty-fifth trip around the sun. While I had no idea what I was doing when I started both endeavors, I can say with complete confidence that I still have zero clue what’s going. All I know is that as this goes on, I am learning every second of every day.
After a few years of seasonal employment and one stint in an office, it began to dawn on me that my inner desires of fighting a “normal life” were there for a reason. I wasn’t going to just find any old 9-5 and call it a day. I did not want join the rat race. Sitting every day on the highway in gridlock traffic among all the other office go-ers, I lost it.
I couldn’t sit in my car any longer. I couldn’t continue going to a job I had no love for.
I researched for hours, finding inspiration from digital nomads, specifically travel bloggers. I formulated a plan. I thought long and hard about a domain name, about a hosting server, about design frameworks. I spent a buttload on a membership to the Travel Blog Success community. I spammed tons of friends asking for advice. Sometimes simply telling others your plan is enough to keep you accountable.
After one year of actively seeking those who understand and inspire my mission statement, I couldn’t be more thrilled with what I have found. So many incredible people in this world use their faculties to lead an inspired life, a life full of happiness and drive. From the nomad yogi bodyworkers to the Microsoft team leaders Skyping into meetings, from the energy healers to the surfwear curators and designers, from the web designers to the photographers; a life outside of ‘the norm’ is possible. You, me, we can all have a work/life balance that fits your inner desires. I owe a lot of credit to my family, my friends, my newfound community of location independents and especially one life-coach-in-training. They have given me the power to push past the criticism, past the inner demons, past the booming voice that is Normal Society.
I have taken very important points with me along the way. Wether they be the personal mantra of newfound friends, a wise word of wisdom from a stranger, or something I’ve figured out myself. Things that will help you figure out how to get it going, how to make a life worth looking back on, how to ALWAYS live life in the “good ol days” in the present and for the rest of your life.
1. Sell your time wisely.
Think about it, when you are at work, what are you getting paid in return for your free time? Is what you are receiving in your paycheck worth the work involved? Finding the proper level of pay for your free time is nothing short of a miracle… but starting to shift your focus towards this thought will inadvertently help you decide wether or not to take that job/promotion/vacation/career change.
Stemming from a systemic belief that long hard work= great outcome, we are all conditioned to believe that the more we work: the better, the more industrious hours we have: the more successful we will be. However, as Tim Ferris, acclaimed author and Lifehacker tells us there is a definite 80/20 principle: 80 percent of your productivity comes from 20 percent of your efforts. Likewise 80 percent of your wasted time comes from the 20 percent possible causes. So, cut your 20 percent time-wasters and spend as much possible energy on the productive 20 percent. For maximum productivity, focus on doing less, not more. The point is to maximize the outcome, not the amount of work. So my friends, use your time wisely, sell your time wisely. For those of us who are relying on hourly wages, this may not directly apply to you, however the 80/20 relationship can help you decide what actions to take while at work.
2. Fear is not a good enough excuse to stop. Or not start. Or not continue.
Honestly, if we all listened to those dark little voices in our head saying “But what will so&so say…” “This isn’t good enough” “What is this?”… nobody would do anything. That journal you haven’t started? The meditation practice that sits in the future just beyond your grasp? It will all stay there, comfortable in its unavailability.
Fear is behind your unfinished projects. Fear will creep up on you in the early morning, right when you decide that today you’re going to start meditating, or writing, or drinking juice, or running, or ANYTHING… it convinces you that tomorrow is a better day. Tomorrow is Fear’s favorite day, it is the day that never arrives, if Fear is successful. However, Fear has no choice but to succumb to Shamelessness. Shame is an emotion brought on by the perceived disapproval of others. If you eradicate shame from your life, get over the fact that not everyone will like what you do, you will inevitably kick Fear in the balls. If you can just say Fuck It, throw caution to the wind and get over your own self-imposed Shame and Fear, you may just become more productive, creative, meditative, inquisitive, and comfortable in your fear.
I’ve recently come upon an amazing quote from a commencement speech given at the University of the Arts by Neil Gaiman.
”“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
3. Always ask yourself “When is now a good time?”
Fear is something that will keep you from believing that NOW is a good time to do something. As I mentioned earlier, tomorrow is Fear’s favorite day. In order to become a more productive person in this world and achieve your goals and aspirations, you must believe that there is no better time than now.
Later does not exist. Period. There is never ever a time of a day on any day that you say “Okay it’s later…” That phrase will always be “It’s still not time.. maybe later”. Decide what it is you’ve put off. Learning a new language? Trying that new coffee shop? Starting that exercise plan? Travel to India? Apply for that dream job? Writing that post about life lessons from a twenty-five year old infant? Do it N O W. Later simply does not exist, nor will it ever. Tomorrow doesn’t count. If it doesn’t exist NOW, it doesn’t exist. Learn the difference between NOW and LATER. What can you do RIGHT NOW? Everything. Anything.
I never want to look back and have just a small segment of my youth that I found were the “best days”. Every day is the best day. Today is the only day that exists. Yesterday and tomorrow exist only in your mind.
4. Find your tribe.
Seek out the people who believe in you. Surround yourself with supporters. And if you don’t know of any, well then get cookin good-lookin!
It doesn’t matter if your closest friends don’t want to read your website. I’ve come to terms with the fact that some of my proclaimed best friends have no idea that I’m commenting on their inability to navigate to GlobalFrolic.com this very instant. Instead of getting upset that I don’t have their support, I make sure I seek out those who do find what you do inspiring or commendable. Wether its joining a Facebook group of like-minded folks, trading ideas with someone who has expressed interest, or simply taking the time to say thank you… you need a support system. If you don’t know of anyone who supports what you’re doing, you’re either not doing anything, or you’re not looking hard enough.
Read an article you enjoyed online? Reach out to the author, it is very uncommon to NOT be able to comment on online articles these days. About one year ago I read an article that resonated with me so deeply that I immediately commented and addressed the author and expressed gratitude. About 5 hours after I received an incredible email, thanking me for the comment and starting a conversation about the topic on hand. Boom, instantly I have found someone who shares one of my worldviews, understands where I am coming from, and appreciates the reciprocal support.
I recently reached out to a website that I truly enjoy, sent the owner an email asking some questions and found out that she is miraculously living in the same village I am in Indonesia. We’ve met up a few times since and chatted about various topics, I was so pleased to sit in front of someone who’s work I admired. While I don’t think coincidences such as this are happening every day, there is no reason to believe that they can’t happen.
Criticism is just as important as praise.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to unfriend those who are cynical, banish your roommate because she doesn’t read your poems &articles, or walk away from your family because your Dad jokes about your website’s “staff”. Criticism shows that some people care enough and want to help you improve, or that you’ve touched a nerve. Accept that your voice will not be heard from the mountains to the valleys, but instead in the hearts of and minds of the few who need it. That alone is enough to keep going. I’m writing this as much for you as I am myself.
5. Write shit down.
The amount of quotes, phrases, phone numbers, names of places/people, thoughts that have passed through me like a cappuccino is innumerable. I have four different “journals” or “notebooks”. Some I draw in, some I write in, some I scribble some weird chicken scratch and try to decode it later. I have one that began as a travel journal, turned into “ohmygodIaminsane” journal, turned financial spreadsheet turned address book. Do I wish I had everything calculated and dialed into my google drive? Yeah maybe. But sometimes it’s freeing knowing that if you don’t enjoy what you just wrote down, you can cross it out, throw it out, rid yourself of it forever.
In this digital age you can make or break a career/life/relationship with one ill-timed drunk-text on Twitter. Facebook statuses become digital journals in which people unapologetically let the world know exactly what they’re thinking, because well, Facebook does ask you… so why not tell it? The fact is, once it’s out there floating in internet space, it never goes away. That alone is daunting.
If you’ve got some Fear, or Shame, or Criticism that’s preventing you from spreading your wings and taking a big fat creative shit… then get a pad of paper, a notebook, a journal… and write whatever it is down. Take your creative dump in private. It doesn’t matter if you are writing for an audience or yourself, the simple act of stringing together your thoughts will help make them clearer. This can help you in times of emotional distress, creative chaos or career confusion.
6. Have fun.
Sell your time wisely, get over Fear, do shit NOW, find a community and write all your weirdness down… but it’s all nothing if you can’t have fun along the way. It doesn’t matter what you do to bring home the bacon to make sure you’ve got electricity in your house so you can read your fave GLobalFrolic articles… if you’re not having fun then you’re simply not living. It doesn’t take a plane ticket, or a road trip. The world IS your playground after all.
This list may never be finished, or I may stop here. There are no absolute endings to anything in a creative endeavor. However, I can guarantee that I will share with you the good, the bad and the ugly of creating the life you desire… whether you like it or not.
[ANOTHER] Disclaimer: I have sneakily linked a few people in this article, all are one of two things: 1. Major Inspiration or 2. Major Support.
And you, my reader, I cannot thank you enough. You are the reason I’m writing. If you are interested in seeking out some truly creative and interesting people who are all living life as they (not you, or me, or WE) see fit… Check out these lovelies. This list is in no order in particular.
Mark, you aren’t like the rest
Nicole, I could write a book on how much you’ve inspired me
Daniela, mi hermana at Yeah Vinyasa Yoga
Sara at TeacherTravels
Lori at Balanced Yoga
Kenn, I still don’t know who my audience is..
Danielle at Salt Gypsy
Andrew at VegHead
Khrista, Jill, Robin, Kenn, Dani and everyone I shared space with at Nosara Beach Hostel last winter. You guys were a pigpile of love and inspiration that I so desperately needed.
Hopefully I’ll be able to write another post like this in one year. Who knows what continent I’ll be on then, but for now, Asia will do. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming here and reading what I’ve got to say. Here’s to another 365 around the sun!
May we all be happy and free
& do whatever fosters the two.