I live in Naples, Florida – the retirement capital of America. I always tell everyone there is a bank, pharmacy and golf course on every corner to paint the picture of what a wealthy city ripe in retired living looks like. I’ve got love for this sleepy little beach town even though it tends to be overgrown with older people.
In fact, it’s kind of nice sometimes to see older people and how they interact in the world at their age. Being reminded of old age helps to keep me humble and hungry. I often catch myself admiring the 80-year-old couples (including my grandparents) that still hold hands as I watch how they walk around in their own little worlds.
The other day I was running errands and I noticed two ladies, hunched over and full of greys, that had to be in their late eighties. One was wearing an oxygen tube and the other one was trying to sit down but was moving slowly because she had wraps on her legs for swelling. I know this because my grandfather has the same ones. Regardless, they were enjoying ice cream together, chatting and smiling, as such a simple thing seemed to bring them joy.
And in that moment, an epiphany ignited in my brain. I had a revelation that it must be so frustrating in old age to not be able to do all the things you once could. It hit me hard: once you have it all figured out and you’re fully blossomed with wisdom, your body starts failing. Like you finally get your mind right and you’ve become well-versed at this thing called life, but now you can barely get around to enjoy it anymore.
With the inevitability of reaching old age, God willing I live that long, when I reach those years I want to be able to say I really lived. I earned every grey hair. I endured every wrinkle with a smile. That I deserved all the wisdom I gained along the way because I took chances, risks and I did things that lit me up. I gave my everything to the things and people I love and took as best care of myself as I knew how to. I left my heart on the table, time and time again. That I stood up for what was right, what I believed in and left my mark, even if they were claw marks. I want to know that when my body begins to fail me later that it wasn’t all for nothing.
Let’s stop wasting time doing things that don’t truly make us happy. Let’s quit staying stuck in patterns and habits that don’t benefit our evolution. Let’s get serious about what really matters. Let’s get real about how we handle our calendars. How we show up for ourselves and for others. How we take care of ourselves and what we put into our bodies. How we share our gifts and serve others. How we love and learn to be less selfish. How we interact in this universe.
I think all of humanity needs a gut check, myself included. Most are living in a perpetual loop of feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired. And it comes down to us not living the lives we really want to, for what ever the reason may be. Comfort or, it’s adversary, fear, keeps us stagnant and living in unhappiness.
For what? So that in later in life we can say: “I wish I would have…” with a long list of lost dreams, times we said yes when we should have said no and no when we should have said yes, regrets and settling for things that were ordinary, basic and average.
Which leads me into a motto for life that will change how you live.
My motto is simple: If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a no. Life is too short for things that don’t excite our souls. I want butterflies, goosebumps, things that make me come alive and leave me without speech.
Let’s start striving to really answer our calls in life by paying attention to what it is that we desire on the deepest level. Let’s begin to be more aware of what makes us tick and start aligning ourselves with only that. Let’s be accountable for our words, actions and intentions. Let’s aim to be exceptional and to surround ourselves with the like. Let’s stop living basic lives.
Basic is spending every weekend at the club, getting twisted, popping bottles, watching the sun come up like it’s our job. While this might be fun for a while, it loses it’s luster as we realize that’s what people with no real purpose gravitate towards to escape, feel important and to avoid being alone at all costs. I know because I used to be one of them.
Basic is chasing money trying to get rich quick, cutting corners, robbing Peter to pay Paul and living beyond means to gratify ourselves. Basic is working at a job we hate, being in a relationship we’ve outgrown or saying “I’ll do/start/be that tomorrow” like a broken record. Basic is surrounding ourselves with meaningless relations, fake personas and misconstrued priorities just to cope or pass the time. Basic is not living up to our potential because we are too stuck in the past, our ego or a vice that has it’s grip on us.
Anyone can be basic. Let’s rise above those lifestyles and become more than the average. Let’s be honest, being basic might work short term, but it’s not sustainable nor is it healthy and it doesn’t fill us with happiness or a sense of true being. And, on paper, it certainly doesn’t sound like something most would say hell yes to.
Let’s trade basic in for bad ass and start being hell yes-ers.
Let’s break the basic chains and start truly living our lives based out of our intention to find what we are passionate about, pursue it with every ounce of sweat we’ve got and create a life we are in love with that we can be proud of with people doing the same.
As the year comes to an end, I challenge you to join me and really take a close look at how you spent this year. Where were you settling? Where were you stuck? Where did you say you would do things but didn’t? Where did you spend most of your time and with whom? Were you at fault for being basic instead of living in the land of bad assery? And most importantly, where did you say yes when it wasn’t a light you up, get your blood pumping hell yes type of yes?
Let’s bring in 2016 with a motto for life that will change how we live. Let’s use it as our guide in the New Year to become better humans together who go after what it is that we really want. Let’s make sure that when we are 80 years old, enjoying ice cream with a loved one, that we can look back and say our life was one big hell yes.