15 Ways to Say “Fuck Yes” to Life Today

Photo: Luke Pamer at Unsplash

People keep asking me questions about my latest trip to Europe:

Why are you going?

When are you coming back?

To which I answer:

Why not?

I’m not sure.

I have carved out a life of almost 100% freedom. It comes with it’s own set of challenges, may not be permanent and is likely not right for everyone. It’s something I fight for every day, and will continue to do so, for myself and others. It’s been a long road, and I expect that the greatest challenges have yet to come.

Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek discusses the concept of lifestyle design — -carving out a life that empowers us. This is something that I’ve been working out the whole time — -I just didn’t know what to call it before.

Most of us are brought up with certain societal expectations about how we are supposed to be: ask for permission, get married and have kids, hang on to your 9–5 job, save your money for retirement. Most of us don’t think we have much choice in this — -but we absolutely do. It may require cutting through real fears and being ruthless about who you spend time with. Hearts might be broken, but we come out stronger.

“Be brave enough to break your own heart.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

Ever since I learned about the concept of agency back in university, I could never quite get this fundamental question out of my head:

In any given situation, how much choice do we actually have, versus what we think we have?

Here are 20 action points (try one or a few on a regular basis) to help us acknowledge and step away from boredom, chaos, pain.

  1. Stop asking permission. Just for today, don’t. Communicate, set your schedule, get your work and other things done, respect schedules of others — -just make your own choice.
  2. Pick up a life-changing book to read on your lunch hour or find a podcast for the drive home or before you fall asleep. There are so many out there now. If you are working with mindfulness and spirituality, I’d recommend Pema Chodron; if your focus is more business-oriented, I’d recommend something like the 4-Hour Workweek.
  3. Try a new food. Eat it slowly.
  4. Handwrite a letter to a loved one.
  5. Stop saying “I wish.” You are here, now, doing a thing, try to focus on that, plus future situations that are readily attainable. Try instead to stick with phrases that keep you present: I do, I will, I am.
  6. Sit for 5 minutes. This doesn’t have to take the format of traditional meditation—the point is to just be with yourself in a place that is comfortable , with zero distractions.
  7. Stay hungry, but don’t get hangry. I’m not talking about literally starving yourself — -this is more of a metaphor for observing those moments when you expect instant gratification. I believe that we have stopped learning how to wait, especially when we’re uncomfortable. The next time you start stressing about being “hungry,” ask yourself what would happen if you had to just wait for an hour. Will the world end? Probably not.
  8. Shorten or skip the meeting.
  9. Buy art or music from someone on the street.
  10. Share a creative project of your own.
  11. Pinpoint one fear (however “small”) and commit to exploring it and working with it.
  12. Take a “snow day.”
  13. Sign up for a course you’ve always wanted to take.
  14. Wake up ridiculously early or go to bed super late — -whichever one is out of the norm — -but spend that time doing something you get lost in.
  15. Plan to be spontaneous. I said this to someone at a party once, and they looked at me like I was crazy. But there’s always a balance between planning and flexing — -it’s good to be prepared, but always be open and ready for change.
“If you telescope out 10 years and know with 100% certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret, and if we define risk as ‘the likelihood of an irreversible outcome,’ inaction is the greatest risk.” ~ Tim Ferris