“I am leaving you.”
“You have to move out.”
“She died last night.”
Your life can change drastically with just a few small words uttered from someone’s mouth. Small sentences that can rock your world, crush your spirit and send your life into a spiral. Many of you have probably heard one or maybe all of those words spoken to you – and understand the impact they can have on your life.
When moments like this send a tremor through your life – you can’t see it, but the universe is offering something else to you in exchange. There is always a trade-off. You may not like the swap that is being forced on you – but it is happening and you can get on board with it or you can let it crush you.
Lost a job? You may have less, or even no, money – but you do have a ton of extra time on your hands. Lost your house or apartment, sure you are homeless – but you also are forced to live a stripped down version of your life. Things like furniture and flat screens don’t factor into this – you become a nomad – and you realize the things you actually need – can probably fit in a backpack. You lost your woman? While this may mean you deal with a lot of sadness in your life and a lack of companionship – this also means you have less accountability in your life and no longer need to plan around someone else’s schedule or desires. Relative or someone close to you died – you have an opportunity to honor that person’s legacy and live a life they would be proud of.
Homeless, jobless, hopeless? This is the –less life. You can either take advantage of it or wallow in it. You can either see these as obstacles or as opportunities. You can choke on the bone or you can suck the marrow from it.
I will choose the latter every time. These times in your life need to be acted on to achieve any kind of personal growth. You can become a better version of yourself through adversity or you can let it beat you into submission. I know how dark it can be. I know how easy it can seem to say “I give up” – but that will never be the choice I make. When you look back one day and realize people have killed themselves over less than you dealt with – there will be a sense of pride in knowing that you not only chose to move forward, but you became better – a more evolved version of you.
I have spent the last month of my life taking advantage of every moment given to me by these challenges. Most of us do not have to deal with more than one of these at a time – but when it appears your world is crumbling down around you – open your eyes and realize it simply means more opportunity – more time, more chances to grow.
I have met amazing people, spent time cultivating relationships that before were mere acquaintances – and today are true friendships. I have visited places I had never been – camped out under the stars on mountains I had never climbed, worked out in gyms I had never visited, gone snowboarding on slopes I’d never shredded . Every opportunity that presented itself – I said “yes” too. If a decision needed to be made where I found myself thinking about the pros and cons – I just stopped thinking and said “yes.”
My favorite writer of all time said it better than I could ever hope to do. I have this quote framed in an old box and I found it the other day – I read it probably twenty times – and let it sink into my body – meditating on it until I felt every word moving around inside of me like a medicine. I hope you get as much from it as I have when I have dealt with loss in my life.
“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”
Henry David Thoreau - Walden
When you find yourself in the deepest, darkest pits of despair – it’s only because you are choosing to look down instead of up. The sun will rise tomorrow, the pain will ease a little each day, the stress will become more manageable. These will simply happen with time – but that is not living. Waking up every morning hoping today is the day you stop loving her, the day you get a new job, the day you find a place to live, the day everything “falls into place” – that is a way to simply exist. I am here to tell you – fuck “existing” – go out and live the –less life.