Life Is For The Living
The other evening I wrote a note to my Facebook friends and published it on my wall. I don’t typically share deeply personal things over Facebook, but that night I was moved to do so.
Right now I’m writing you from Mexico, where I’ve been for the past week and have another week ahead of me. My wife and I are dipping our toes into new lifestyles as “digital nomads,” where we move from city to city, experiencing the new cultures, flavors, and people along the way. We’re far from fully nomadic, but we’re certainly getting to explore many new places at a rapidly accelerating pace!
What I wrote to my friends is a simple proclamation of my positive outlook on life. I made note that despite the fact I don’t know where I’m going, I do know my life is for my living, and therefore worth living well. While simple in concept, it’s much more complex in practice.
Getting personal for a moment, I lost my mom a few years ago. Actually, it was only 18 months ago. I’m still recovering from the struggle of her sickness and all the events that followed. I got married a year after she passed, which brought incredible amounts of joy in to my life, yet I was still in this shroud of darkness from dealing with all the emotions and grief that came with such personal loss.
I share this because it’s key to the point I want to make. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you are living — and enjoying — the life you have been given.
My mom had her first cancer when she was my age — 29. She felt her life threatened at this young age and decided that she would go live her life to its fullest by experiencing everything it has to offer. She had her partner in crime, my father, and together they experienced so much life exploration.
My mom always feared she’d be taken from this world before she was truly ready, so she made note to live as much life as possible. This outlook led to world travels, prioritization of family and friends over long working hours, and a truly fulfilling and enriching life together.
Yet despite my parents so clearly choosing life and relationships, I’ve grappled with what to do with my life throughout the years.
I’m insanely ambitious and always strive to achieve. I crave accomplishment and seek success, driving forward with endless tenacity and unwavering persistence. I’m constantly exploring, learning, and growing, as it’s clear to me that self-improvement is an integral part of living my best life.
And I’ve achieved! From entertainment to creative agencies to technology and personal projects, I’ve continually created successes with every engagement I’ve worked on and company I’ve been a part of.
And then I lost my mom. Which is about the time when everything clicked.
I remember sitting in the hospitals in Philly, and the hospitals in Houston, and seeing all the sick people. It was the first time I had ever been around truly sick, dying people. People of all ages — from 5 to 90 — were roaming the halls and sitting with their people.
My parents and I would talk a lot about life, and how we got to where we are, and I’d just listen to everything they had to say. I couldn’t believe this was happening to my mom. To my family. I couldn’t believe she was going to be taken from us at 57 — she’d never even see retirement!! That was insanely aggravating and devastated me at my core. My parents would never grow old together, which is what I’ve always wanted to do with my life: grow old with my partner after experiencing everything life has to offer.
Which brings us back to Mexico. Where I’m writing to you from, now.
I’m here because my wife works remotely and I work for myself. We came down here because her colleagues are nomadic and travel wherever they want in the world, so they can live and work in new places while experiencing new cultures and ways of life. Together we’re eating new foods, exploring new beaches, and creating memories together that will surely last a lifetime. And we’re working while doing it! Every day. We find coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and more, all offering wifi for the low price of a coffee, smoothie, or meal. And it. Is. Glorious!
It’s an incredible way to live and work, and I know this is just the beginning. We’ve been bitten by the travel bug and our wanderlust is kicking in to full gear! We know we want to get out there and we know there’s no better time than now.
Which is exactly what I want to say to you: There’s no better time than now.
Whatever it is you want to do, now is the time to do it. Whether you want to travel, start a business, learn Spanish, take a cooking class, find a new job, or transition into a new career; whatever you’ve been wanting to do that you haven’t done for any number of reasons, now is the time to do it.
We don’t know how much time we have on this earth, but we damn sure know we’re not here to grind our days away working jobs we don’t like for companies we don’t believe in with people we don’t particularly enjoy. There are so many better ways! There are people in this world who will help you feel whole again; help you feel alive.
You just need to go seek them out! That’s all it takes.
Sign up for that photography class, take that first step towards creating a business, and book those tickets to that exotic destination halfway across the world. The only thing in your way is you! Sure, if you’re American like me, our working world likes to squeeze us for all we’re worth, but that dynamic is changing. If your company won’t support you taking care of yourself, don’t continue to support them by growing their business. Go out and find a better job! They’re out there just waiting for someone like you.
In the wise words of a friend of mine, “life is too short to be anything but happy!”
We will always have ups and downs, challenges and triumphs, happy moments and sad ones. We cannot control external forces, so we must learn how to deal with the ebbs and flows while maintaining some semblance of mental health. From someone who has dealt with depression, loss, and grief, I know how dark it can get. I’ve seen it in myself and my loved ones, and I struggle with some form of it on a regular basis. But I know that by putting one foot in front of the other one, metaphorically speaking, I’ll be able to walk myself into a new, brighter life, where things are better than they were before.
And that, my friends, is what I’m living for.