A Truly Awesome Life

Hey World,

This found its way into my inbox the other day, and it really struck a chord. 

"You know what I love about your life? Well - a lot - but what I really admire 
is that you are living a truly awesome life and you are totally aware of it. It's 
like living in the moment. I'm guessing that comes from being grateful."

I am grateful for the life that I've created for myself. It's taken a lot of dedicated time and effort to get to where I am. But I'm also thankful that so many people supported my ambitions and gave me opportunities when I needed it most -- you cannot succeed without the assistance of others. 

@ the top of Mt. Vesuvius; December 2014

The message above was particularly beautiful in its delivery, but similar comments are made me to me quite often. Comments about how happy I seem, comments about how 'awesome' my life is. Comments that make me question how many others see their own lives as being awesome, as living in a beautiful moment. 

I want a truly awesome life for myself, but I also want that for others. Which is why I think it's important to share my journey to happiness with others, and to share how I got here. 

So here we go, a truly awesome life, in four easy steps:

1. Figure out the ideal. No, I'm serious. Take some serious alone-time to think about what brings happiness/satisfaction into your life. Is it reading? Writing? Traveling? Helping others? Hiking? Running? 

For me, the things that I realized would make me most happy at this point in my life is:

-- time and money to travel
-- financial stability to pay loans
-- job that serves others, location: East Africa 

Figure it out, and prioritize whatever you come up with. Trust me, this is the absolute hardest part. It was a long personal journey to come to this conclusion - and cost me (literally) a ton of money and months of my life. 

2. Work towards your dream job. Unless you're a secret millionaire, you probably need to work to sustain yourself. And if you're going to spend at least 160 hours a month (almost 7 full days) doing it, you might as well love it. Test jobs you think you might like. Walk away from said jobs when you realize you don't. Find another job: rinse, wash, repeat until achieved. 

NOTE:  it's totally okay if your 'dream job' is actually just a job that helps you fund your actual dreams -- like snorkeling in the Galapagos 2x a year, taking a yearlong sabbatical to write a book, becoming financially independent to open your own Etsy shop, or even just having time to spend with family, friends or the great outdoors.  Many times jobs are a means to an end. 

3. Follow through. Stop making excuses, and start taking risks. Push yourself past your comfort zone, one baby step at a time, but in a continuous forward motion. 

For me, I started with a kickboxing challenge, and then a 5K. It opened doors; and within months, I was doing things I never thought I would. Being open to the world and its many opportunities is truly infectious, and you begin to realize that many assumptions are meaningless. 

Anybody can do anything, with a lot of determination and if given the opportunity. I truly believe that (with the exception of becoming famous...jury's still out on that one). 

4.  Never lose your humility. Like Rumi once said, "You are the universe in ecstatic motion". Never stop marveling at the wonders of your existence. Carve out time to reflect and be grateful. Remember that the path to get to wherever you are probably wasn't easy. Find ways to share your thanks - to the people who supported you along the way, to the doors that opened (and even those that didn't), and additional waves of thanks into the world (because why not?). 

It's really that simple. Figure out what makes you happy, find the means, and then go and do it, remaining humble the whole time. Well, it's really not that simple, but it's do-able...so why not do it?


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