Or do any of the things you dream of doing.
While another Thanksgiving has come and many of us find ourselves taking one day out of the year to give thanks, I think it’s incredibly important to acknowledge that you aren’t thanking yourself enough.
You work like a dog year after year. You argue with yourself that it’s all leading to something: a trip, a promotion, more money, an apartment, a house, a bigger apartment, a bigger house, security, happiness, and the list goes on.
But when does the vicious cycle end?
When will it ever be enough? When will the list stop growing? When will there finally be nothing standing in your way from doing all the things you’ve said you were going to do?
You’ve sacrificed years of your life, relationships, friendships, and ultimately your happiness in the here and now, so that you could one day live your dream. However, on this day of thanks and reflection, I want to remind you that dreams aren’t something to continuously be dreamt, they’re things to be lived out right now.
You argue with yourself that while you don’t love your job, it is in fact providing you with security, an income, and a plethora of other bullshit we feed ourselves to make ourselves feel better about shitty situations. After all, these things are somewhat important, and if we can’t justify why we are doing something than we feel really crazy for doing it. Right?
I mean you spent thousands of dollars on your education, and then years of your life grinding away at your career, which you thought you would love, eventually, but still it just doesn’t feel right. You can shake this feeling for a little bit, and find some things you like about your job, but ultimately this feeling just isn’t disappearing. We make excuses, say things will change soon, and my favorite, “I just need to get to x.”
We all do it, or at least we’ve all done it.
Personally, I found that I was always saying I wanted to do something, or that I was going to do something in the near future, but for one reason or another the timing just wasn’t right.
And then last year I fucked my whole life up even more than I already had, and just went for it. I decided that I was going to do the things I always wanted to do. I was finally going to cross off bucket list items now; while my body is able and capable; while I’m young and have less responsibilities; and while I know I can always bounce back if things don’t work out.
In May of 2016 I unexpectedly decided to hike 650 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, and two weeks later I was at the border of Mexico and California at mile zero with one of my best friends as ready as I’d ever be to push myself in ways I couldn’t even been to imagine. 650 miles turned into 800, and after 45 days of living in a tent, and carrying my whole life, food and water included, on my back, I had completed the hardest thing I have ever done mentally and physically.
From there the adventures haven’t stopped.
I backpacked for 2 weeks through Germany. I went to Australia for a month by myself because I had always wanted to, and it was time to stop waiting for someone to go with me. An excuse I’ve employed forever. I decided to go to Thailand to work with elephants and Cambodia to work with kids because I was sick of bitching about things, and wanted to be a part of the solution and change. I decided to miss my flight the day I was supposed to go home from this same 2 week trip, and travel through South East Asia for 3 months doing humanitarian work along the way, and seeing a part of the world I had no real knowledge of. I decided to dye my hair blue because hair grows back and I had always wanted to. I decided that I was going to live life, not just watch it pass me by on someone else’s Instagram account or Facebook. I decided to be the guy I had always wanted to date.
And I can tell you my life hasn’t been fucked up at all, it’s only been fucking amazing.
I know what you’re thinking how did you afford all of this? Well, I can tell you all these trips have cost less than one month’s rent does for me in New York City. I live below my means, I save, I don’t eat out a lot, I don’t shop, I rarely drink alcohol, I almost never use taxis or Ubers, and I work in between my trips, so that my savings never runs out.
You’d be shocked how much money you spend on things you do not need, alcohol being one of the biggest. Personally, I’d rather actually have a fun time somewhere abroad then get drunk to make my surroundings fun. P.S. alcohol is so much cheaper in most other countries.
I also chose a career as a life coach and personal trainer because they’re flexible, and place me in a field that is needed worldwide. They’ve even taken me to places all over the world that aren’t included in my self-funded adventures. And yes, through all of this I have been clever enough to turn this into a digital career on social media, but this was only after years of hard work and spending my own hard-earned money to do the things I had always wanted to do.
Does all of this sound crazy to you?
Well, what if I told you, I thought your life was crazy? Waking up every morning and doing the same thing because somewhere along the path of growing up, you were taught that that is what you’re “supposed” to do. That you have to force yourself to find joys in life, rather than actually enjoying life.
The truth of the matter is that I really shook my life up 4 years ago when I decided to quit my job, my long term relationship, the city I was living in, and the pressure I was drowning myself in. I finally told myself no more, and since then every year I have pushed myself harder and harder to do more, explore more, and just be a better, kinder, more loving human in every way, which I truly accredit to traveling as much as possible.
The thing that backpacking and traveling as a whole has really taught me is that:
- You’re never alone unless you want to be.
- Traveling is far cheaper than you realize, you just have to get creative.
- For everything you get to cross off of your bucket list, you’re about to add four more items to it.
- People are amazing, resourceful, and kind.
- The Western world isn’t the end all be all, and America specifically has tricked us into buying this American dream that doesn’t actually exist, but just traps us.
- There is no time like the present.
- Big cities aren’t all there are to see.
- You don’t need to speak a language to communicate with people.
- The world is changing for the better and for the worse.
- You’ll never have enough time, so make the most of it everywhere you go.
Thanksgiving is a reminder to all of us celebrating that the holidays are upon us, and that a new year is fast approaching. It’s an important reminder, and something that we all should be grateful for.
So while you are taking time today to be grateful and thankful, I say take time to talk to yourself today. Finally thank yourself for making it this far, and working really hard to get to this point because I know it hasn’t been easy. But I promise it doesn’t have to be this hard, and you can have everything you want.
Lastly, I challenge you to question if the year you just had would be the year you want for the rest of your life, and then just go for it, whatever it is because it will never be the right time to do anything. Make a list of all the cool shit you’ve done, and use this as a reminder that you’ve done some pretty epic things once, and you can do stuff like this again. Remind yourself that you’re a badass, and don’t get down on yourself if your list doesn’t feel long enough because the awesome thing is, you still have plenty of time.
All that’s left to do now is eat some good food with some great people and relax.
And maybe buy a backpack!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!