After perusing the cluttered newsfeed of Facebook, I often regret the time spent. I find a lot of news to be discouraging and just plain sad. I also find some personal news unnecessary, although it is my choice to follow people and scroll down through the endless posts that we put out into the world, memorialized for all time on a server in the middle of a desert, or who knows where. This is not an attempt at being cynical, I’ve lived that life already and it’s not rewarding. This is actually the opposite. The other day I came across a video that actually sparked something deep in me. Because of my past dance with negativity I have to be very careful about what I watch with my eyes and hear with my ears. I’d rather be FOR something than AGAINST something. Of course I am against things...but I’ve learned it’s better to focus on what I can do about an issue instead of wallowing in sadness or fear.
We’re all on the same journey. From birth to death. That journey can look completely different, but it’s something we all share. Some of us grip tighter to our lives than others. Some of us even get to the point where we will take our own life rather than living it out. So, back to the video I watched: it was about a girl, 19 years of age, who was terminal. Her life expectancy was mid-twenties and she spends her time living the short life she has been given with everything she has. Because she does not fear death she is living her life, albeit short, to the fullest. It’s weird, because some of us spend so much our time consumed with worry, working too much and zoned out, that we forget about our true life.
“Live everyday like it’s your last.” I have heard this quote a hundred times over but never truly dissected it. For the terminal young girl this is more pertinent because she knows the amount of sand in her timer, for us, it gets a little more complicated to live like this. Some of us might have a shorter life expectancy than her but we wouldn’t know it. Some of us will live to be 100 years old. So how do you live everyday like it’s your last while still living in preparation for the future in case you get there. That is the true test. I believe it’s a balance of preparation and celebration. Preparation is key because we should have goals and dreams we are working toward, the key is creating a journey that is worth living too. Celebration is living in the moment. It reminds us to be thankful for the people and the moments in our life.
This is my next goal. To celebrate daily and prepare daily. Looking ahead can be exciting, but if we only look ahead at the expense of our NOW then we may be disappointed when the future doesn’t turn out like we thought or we don’t make it there. On a similar note, if we always living in the past full of regret we will also lose out on our present moments. Let the past teach you things but don’t let it control you. A new tactic that Johnny and I have been trying out is weekly or monthly “resets”. Whenever we get stressed out or overwhelmed by our current situation we wake up the next morning and act as if this was the first day of our life. Our home, our bank account, our friendships, our hardships, everything is looked at as a new life that we are blessed and challenged by. We have the tendency to live in our past mistakes and our future goals all too often, this recenters us. It’s like taking the little Google Maps yellow man and dropping him down somewhere random. We wake up and say, “this is the life we have in front of us, today is the first day, how are we going to life it well given what we have in front of us?”
We are not promised tomorrow. How can we live FOR things instead of always AGAINST? How can we create daily CELEBRATIONS? How can we continue to PREPARE for our future without being fully consumed by it? And how can we GROW from our past experiences and live NEW days? We are here to live, grow, connect, create and someday die. It’s the journey of life. How we walk that path is up to us.
If I were to design my own life, which I am able to do, albeit slowly sometimes, what would I do? When we feel depressed, lost and exhausted it means it’s time to re-center, re-define our visions so we can get back on that path, the one we really care about.
My dream life combines meaningful work with leisure and adventure. It’s the life I showcase online. The life where I create meaningful experiences for people as my work. The life where I know the land and I explore the natural world, foraging and connecting. It’s a life full of community and full of the beautiful lonely moments. It’s about learning, growing and teaching. It’s about knowing myself so I may love myself and others with my full capacity. It’s not about obligations, it’s about what we know is true in us and living that out.
I know that some of you reading this are stuck in obligations as we speak. Write about how you would design your life. What is important to you? Who do you desire to be? Who inspires you?
Try and remember yourself as a child. What was important to you? What made you come alive? What have you always known to be true? Reconnect with that part of yourself.
Bring to mind the moments in your life where you felt truly alive and aligned with who you desire to be. Close your eyes. Pull each moment into your chest with your hand. Breathe deeply. Grab one memory, pull it in. Grab another memory, pull it in.
Now bring to mind moments and memories from the future where you will feel truly alive and aligned with who you desire to be. Imagine these memories from the future and pull them into your chest. Imagine another and another and another. Pull them into your chest. Breathe deeply.
Everyday I get closer and closer to this being a daily reality. Many things have stepped in the way, as they do, and in those times we must be even more rigorous about self-care and keeping our eyes set on our visions. These small exercises can re-center us when we’re feeling lost.
Remember Yourself. You will find a way if you seek it. Don’t lose heart.
Be Wild. Be Well.
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David