Remember when you were a little kid, and any time past 8 PM was some kind of magical, forbidden hour you weren't allowed to ever see? What went on at that time, while you were shackled to your race car toddler bed, curtains closed even though the sun was still up on a July night, and told you had to go to sleep?
Sometimes, you might dare crack open the door, you could hear the TV, maybe your mom was knitting yet another scarfsweaterblanket, and you older sister was doing brain busting math problems, calculating how many grapefruits Sally would have if she multiplied her current supply times five, added "x" and ate the rest. A stomachache and diarrhea. That's what Sally would have.
You would run past the scene to "go to the bathroom" and investigate this magical land of the night. There didn't SEEM to be anything special. No flying pandas, no glitter and fireworks in the kitchen. WHY were you never allowed to see this time then?! "GET BACK IN YOUR ROOM AND GO TO SLEEP" your parents would soon shout, having caught on to your plans. You'd sulk back to bed, and swear you couldn't wait to be old so you could just stay up all night!!
Well, eventually that time came, and you went from going to sleep at 7PM to waking up then. You realized there WERE indeed flying pandas and glitter and fireworks in the wee hours of the night, and they could often be found at the bottom of a bottle of Jack. There was no "bedtime" anymore. As a matter of fact, your parents would call you a lazy ass and scream every weekend at you to get OUT of bed during daylight hours. It was awesome....for a while.
Then you got like, a j-o-b. They wanted you to start at the ungodly hour of 8 AM. Suddenly, staying up till 8:30 AM all summer left exactly....negative 30 minutes of sleep every night. Wasn't going to work..... So you started to go to sleep earlier. First 1 AM, then midnight, then 11, then one night in your mid twenties when you found yourself in between the sheets, alone, in your sweatpants at 8:42 PM it hit you....you grew up. You were going to sleep at this time without your parents yelling at you. You got up at 6 AM because YOU WANTED TO. No one had to tell you to. You had lived and learned. And only then, were you able to realize the serious value of a proper sleep schedule. No one could have told you at four years old that there was nothing special about the night. No one could have told you at 16 that it was worth getting up before noon. You had to make this discovery and conclusion on your own. (Some people are still working on it ;) )
The point there is, as I was thinking this week, I realized, you just cant make anyone do anything that they don't want to do, and do it well. Its so simple, yet we continue to try. We offer incentives. Most of them monetary. If you get up and mop this nasty floor or analyze these numbers for 8 hrs today, I will give you the money to get those new kicks you've been wanting, or pay your rent! That motivates us to do what we just don't want to. We slog through. We collect $200. We pass go. We circle the board again.
I see the same in the fitness world. You tell people they have to do this, this and this to get in shape. Time and time again they "slip up". Ooops, I just HAD to eat that cake, my mom was in town, and I just love sugar! You were too sore to do your cardio, so you didn't. You had a stomachache so you couldn't lift at all this week. Your dog had to go out so you couldn't leave home. I've heard all those and more as to why people cant do something. It's to a point now where, when I offer fitness advice, I go in expecting you NOT to listen. Most people simply do not. If you do, you have blown my socks off. I realize you WANT this. YOU and only YOU want this. I didn't make you want it. You made that choice somewhere inside you, that you wanted to hit that goal. That goal became more important than any piece of cake, it propelled you through being sore, it helped you find a way to let the dog out AND make your lifts.
The same goes in this career path I've chosen. My dad told me for the longest time it was a great idea and I would love it. But I resisted. I wanted to do what everyone else was doing and just work a normal job and go to work picnics and wear a skirt. I did that. I had to learn the hard way, that it wasn't what I thought. I then started my business, not because he wanted me to, but eventually it was ME that wanted to. I wasn't happy, and I had to reach my OWN breaking point to change.
Funny thing is, a lot of people seem to have a much higher bullshit tolerance than others. Most people seem to figure "this is the way it is" about everything, from the state of their fitness, their job, their life. They shut off and tamp down their desires to do anything else long, long after they want to. They resist other people telling them what they could do to improve their situation and get mad when its suggested. They don't want it bad enough, they think its too hard.
But whats harder, secretly wasting your life slogging away, a slave to money, to other peoples expectations, to your own idea of what it "should" be? Or is it harder to put in the work necessary to make a change? BOTH are hard. Pick your poison. It was hard doing a job I hated. It's also really really hard doing a job I love, for entirely different reasons. The path isn't laid out for me, I'm not just grinding my days out. I'm instead fueled by a new kind of grind. its a much lighter feeling. Its electric almost instead of dead and flat. I'm out there pushing but the rewards when they come are that much sweeter, despite the failures being that much scarier.
Its what keeps me doing this. Id rather work doing new things for this, than ever be stuck in a passionless position. If I ever do return to working elsewhere, it will be because I needed/wanted to to attain a goal, be that pay the rent, or a change of some sort. Ill dance in a lobster suit if you'll notice my biz and become my customer as a result. I'll do math and keep spreadsheets and calendars. I'll be late for the gym to make a delivery. I'll call people I don't know whereas when I was a kid I wouldn't call ANYONE and I hated the phone. It all changes when there's a PURPOSE!
Same thing with fitness (as usual, there are so many parallels!) It hurts to do cardio sometimes yeah. Lifting is hard, sometimes I want to eat ALL the chocolate and peanut butter and I'm HUNGRY. I choose not to eat cake because my family is in town. I instead choose to hang out with my family and enjoy their company. I do this every single day, because I WANT TO KNOW that I did everything I could to get as far as I could. The only person that loses if I "slip up" is ME. Why do that to myself, aren't my goals worth more?
Put you first. YOU only get one life here. Get fired up about something. If you've told your inner voice to shut up for so long, let it speak instead. Find the motivation to do the things you have always wanted in yourself because if you don't find it, YOU WILL NEVER, EVER DO THEM. If you're waiting for someone to make you, you ll be waiting a long time. You need to want it for you. I can't tell you to do something and make you do it. Your mom cant make you. Your friends cant make you. You need to live out the experiences to get you where you are and LISTEN to them. Don't tamp them down and continue to be mediocre. You need to get to the point where you've had enough and then you need to make the change rather than ignore the signs as so many do. YOU need to stop making excuses for yourself. Only you can do that. Otherwise, you may as well sit around at 2 AM looking for flying pandas in the dark to take you to the perfect life in a cloud of glitter and highly advanced pyrotechnics. Well hey, let me know if you see any! That'd be pretty cool....
Have you ever slept in your car in an airport parking garage? Ok, you probably actually have, as sleeping in airports isn't really that crazy. But have you ever done it right after blowing the entire life you knew apart and making massive changes, there because you have no where to call “home”?
I think not.
If you have, kudos to you, because you know its one hell of a ride, and one that I've been on.
2017 has been one crazy year. If you know me, you know that. If you know me from some vague snapshot on social media, you know some things have changed. If you don't know me at all and you've stumbled upon this in the deep crevices of the internet, you probably know someone like me.
This kind of a story isn't an easy one to talk about, mostly because its ugly. Ugly like: someone might not think I'm perfect anymore and riding on the backs of unicorns and following the rules that humans should follow so no one hates them on Facebook , ugly.
But here's the thing, and why I'm writing about this . Someone out there, is going to look at this and say OMG, that's me. That's me and my feelings and my life or that's what I WANT to be my life but I can't do it because its too hard.
And I want to be here to tell you that making huge changes IS too hard, oh is it ever. But you will be ok. And it will suck and you will learn more than you ever have in your life and emerge a better person than you were before.
Without going into too much detail out of respect for other involved parties, I found myself very unhappy in a relationship situation I was in at the beginning of this year. No, no one was a bad person, nothing outlandish happened to solidify the choice, and no one came at anyone with knives.
I just found myself to be living in a non authentic situation (aka a lie) because it was easy, all I knew for so long, and I didn't want to hurt anyone. The downfall was gradual, and almost went completely unnoticed.
However, as the commitment to forever presented itself and drew ever closer, my guts screamed Stop! Stop! NO! a little louder each day.
Always being one to listen to my guts, I realized a massive shift was about to occur and the power of knowing in my heart what I had to do was far greater than my fear of, well, upsetting other people.
The see-saw tipped one day, leading to a series of serious talks, difficult admissions, crazy truths, turmoil, disappointing and surprising many other people, and general out of body experiences that this was really happening.
I was really going to blow my entire life apart as I knew it.
Its so scary to talk about this. Why? Because disclosing anything opens a person up to judgment, duh. Everyone else will always have an opinion about how you should live, and be quick to point out what you did wrong.
But I know there are other people out there, sacrificing their happiness, living a lie, not taking action on their truth, because of this very fear.
So I want to tell you honestly what its like, how it feels, and what to expect when you make big changes, be it leaving a stable job, moving, or yes ending a long relationship.
So here you go, here's what to expect in my experience, when you make huge changes in your life....
1)People will hate you on Facebook.
We all like to nose around on each others social media for signs of what “happened” when someone makes a life change. Where does she work now? What happened to her boyfriend? Why isn't his dog in any of his pictures?
People will be doing this to you when you make a big change. They may have “heard something” through the grapevine, or they may be trying to figure it out on their own.
People who used to like your pictures and statuses will stop. You will get unfreinded. People will assume you are a terrible human being who haven't even spoken to you in five years.
You can do nothing to stop this.
It will be uncomfortable and you will want to justify yourself to everyone. It is not going to be worth it because remember, your life is yours and yours alone. Time will pass, and people who barely know you WILL forget it ever happened.
2) People will hate you in real life.
Be it ex coworkers you left behind when you went to a better gig, your ex partner and his or her friends and family, or the people you left behind when you moved to China, people in real life will be a bit peeved.
It is nearly impossible to part ways with anyone and anything without developing some kind of “side” in the situation. The other “side” will not share the same sentiments about the changes as you. If they did, they too would have made the same change at the exact same time.
You can part ways amicably, but almost always, the person or people who's direction you are moving away from, will not hold you in as high of esteem as they once did.
You will have to accept you can't make everyone happy, and life just hurts sometimes and things that will benefit you and others long term, have to hurt NOW.
3) You'll have to remind yourself often are not an awful person for wanting what you want in life.
At each stage of life, getting a job, getting married, having kids, moving, buying a house, etc, sometimes people just drift along with what everyone else around tells them they should want, or what they should think is “normal.”
You decided that something didn't feel right to you in your life, and you took action on it . That is a hard but brave thing to do (because of all the above points). Too many people can't bear the judgments that will be bestowed upon them, and for good reason.
It really, really sucks. It hurts.
But you don't want to find yourself
with three kids living in Kansas when all you really wanted was
to be a Brain Surgeon in the best hospital in Manhattan.
Because I have news, not to copy Gary V but he's right here: Someday, you'll be dead. You can't come back and do this over.
Sometimes, in the case of a breakup especially, these big choices will involve hurting other people. Unless you are a truly a POS human being, this will not feel good and it will not be fun. Because you are not dead inside, you will feel bad. That is normal, and it is OK.
Sometimes, the hardest thing and right thing are the same, just like that old song by The Fray. Remember, every human deserves real love, respect and to live a great life. In the case of a breakup, wouldn't it be worse to lead someone on long term?
You are not an awful person for making changes, even ones that temporarily hurt other humans. You would be a far more awful person if you lied your entire life away and robbed others chances at what THEY want.
Hopefully, being the brave human you are, you go through life listening to your guts before you make big commitments. The more responsibility involved in your choices, the more seriously you should take them. Options are limited sometimes, and you may find yourself making the best of situations you are in, which is great, but late at night in the dark and quiet, you know you will always wonder “what if”?
That long term unease is going to be worse than this short term sharp pain of change.
4) You will see who your friends and family really are.
When all goes south, who sticks around? Friends you weren't that close to at first will surprise you with the amount of support they give you for your choices. Friends you used to rely on, won't even return your calls, will judge you, and will not “side” with you.
They will not hear you out and will have already decided they don't want anything to do with you based on something they heard or saw on Facebook. They will never ask you for your perspective.
The same goes for family members. It will not be easy to tell family members about your life changes. They will need some time to come around and adjust, too. But if family is truly family, they will see you are happier and will support you fully in time. If they don't, you will have to distance yourself for a while, if not permanently if you discover some not-so-great truths about their loyalties. You must just bear this discomfort as it comes.
5) You will feel more determined than ever to get the rest of your life together.
Going through a breakup? You might have time to start that side gig you always wanted to now. Moving to Utah? Could be time to try skiing. Been wanting to spend more time growing your business, working on a project, adopting an animal or traveling?
The changes, whatever they were, will have given you new perspective on things, new chances to do stuff you might have been wanting to do before you blew your life as you knew it, apart. These things were not the main motivator for changing your life, but they come as welcome and surprising benefits. This is called growing as a person.
6) It will take time to adjust and that is OK.
Feelz, thoughts, and demons will continue to surface for a while after you make a big change.
Things you didnt even realize you were going to feel, you will feel. Thoughts you did not even fathom having, you will have.
You will have to work through these daily for a while, and wonder why you ever thought changing your life would make you happier. Eventually, it will get easier, you will adapt, and you will be happier. If you are not, you will see the next move you need to make to find happiness more clearly. All of this will result in large amounts of personal growth. This is good.
Despite everything, there will still be people that judge you harshly, be it from their own jealousy of passing by their own changes to make the choices you did, or be it because they think (keyword think) that they would have done it better or differently in your situation.
That will always suck.
But what will always suck more is not living your truth. I don't mean to sound like some crazy, bullshit toting shamen, but if you don't live your life putting your own happiness first, how can you possibly give the best of you to others and to the world?
Not from a job you hate. Not from living in a town you're sick of. And not from a relationship that isn't working for you any longer, especially in your rapidly changing 20s.
Pushing through and ignoring these doubts you have to spare judgment, could result in, complacency, wasted talents, kids without an example of real love to learn from, and daily stress and unrest , that you continue to stuff down until you expire.
If you keep beating down doubt and signs that things need to change in your life like you're playing a game of Whac-A-Mole, This is your wake-up call. Ten years from now, is anyone on social media, or your real friends and family, going to care at all about what you did back in 2017 to progress your own life?
No . They'll move on to the next thing. They'll see your happiness, progress and growth and be unable to deny that you did the “right” thing.
Those you may have hurt temporarily, will hopefully be living a life doing what they love, because even if they didn't see you were holding them back from that, you were. If they aren't, well you avoided that type of person before things got more complicated by greater commitment and responsibility.
Think long term, think about the people that REALLY matter to you and the ones you know will always be there.
That should never change.
I wish you luck in all your big changes. And if you find yourself sleeping in an airport parking garage in order to MAKE these moves, despite the cold, and the trucks thundering over the joints in the damn thing all night, I assure you, it is without a doubt, 100% worth it.
Every now and again, you find yourself at a funeral. Sad music, sad people, weird clothes. A body on display like a turkey on the Thanksgiving table, except you're not sure if you should look or not. Can the deceased hear you? Are they really dead? What's dead like?
I found myself in such a situation, when my then boyfriend, now fiance's grandfather passed a few years back. I sat with the family, looped in a solemn horseshoe formation around the casket as people paid their last respects.
As I watched everyone pass, I couldn't help but feel suddenly, overwhelmingly out of place. Here I was, only having known the man for the past five years, yet I was front and center for the last moments of his time above ground.
I wanted to be there, wanted to support my boyfriend, but I wondered, was this who he expected to be left standing when he died? Would he be disappointed with this turnout? Did I even deserve to be here?
In 70 plus years of life, just think of all the people he'd known. From his first friends in grade school, to high school, his first job, former girlfriends, bosses, people he'd met doing sports, the list goes on and on and on.
And at the very end, here was me and a few other people. And this is who and what it'd all come down to.
That got me thinking about how sad and how scary it is, that we can all count on one hand the people who TRULY care about us. We go through people in our lives like we do coffee filters, and the time we take to brew each relationship before we change that filter, seems to be getting increasingly shorter.
How many people have you lost? No I don't mean they died, I mean simply "lost touch" with? Not because you wanted to or should have (that's a whole different story) but simply because you nor they could be bothered to continue to hold the relationship together? Your best friend in elementary school, do you still talk? Your college roommate? The person you met in zumba class and went to dinner with a few times?
Our relationships these days seem like a revolving door. We meet because we have something in common, be it work, hobbies, classes, mutual friends, whatever. We talk, we bond, we hang out, and then slowly, slowly, we talk less. We stop hanging out. Someone moves. Lives change. And soon we don't talk anymore at all. All those little things we told each other no longer even matter. We didn't mean enough to each other to withstand the heavy pull of life.
And I have to admit, sometimes it breaks my heart.
How many times have we become close to someone for a time, telling them every detail of our day to day lives, only to have it fade away as though we'd barely met at all?
Perhaps this is a natural part of life, and we're only meant to know some people for a very short time. They might come into our lives to help us with a problem or solve an issue, and for nothing more. But sometimes, maybe it would be nice to forge more friendships that would last until the end of our lives.
Not fancy, hang out every second friendships, but friendships that you could pick up right where you left off, friends that will be there for you no matter what happens friends that love you . We all have a few like that. Why cant we have more?
Relationships, like everything worth having in life, take work. We seem to want to do less and less work. It's easier to simply stop working to be a good friend and find someone else that fits our current needs. People and things change, and its easier to go out and find replacements than to work on what we already have, and add to it.
I'm guilty of holding onto strings better left to fray. When I befriend someone I try to give it my all, but I can say the only people who haven't let me down are a couple of my girls and my fiance. Probably good that I'm marrying him then!! ;)
Everyone else turns out to be somewhat of a letdown, They stop talking to me suddenly or slowly, they fade away without reason, they lose interest in working for a friendship. It makes me sad. But I know that I am not alone. I see it happen everywhere, with everyone. I'm sure I'm guilty of being the letdown at least once, too.
Naturally, that's made me less sensitive to people that talk to me. "New friends" if you will. I am always happy to get to know people but I don't expect much to come of it. I don't expect them to remember me when I'm 75, or 45, or in many cases, 30.
What does this teach us? To always embrace ourselves and our independence. The things that keep me happy I've learned to find within myself, my design, my work, my goals. Fitness. My dogs. People are additions to your life, and shouldn't ever become your reason to exist, or your motivation to go for those things you want for yourself.
Perhaps you must let them fall in and out of your life, maybe that's how its supposed to be. Perhaps life is meant to be lived meeting, loving and losing as many friends as we can.
That doesn't mean it isn't sad when we realize someone we used to (or still do) care about has stopped talking to us slowly. That doesn't make it any easier when we leave a job and we never see the person we spent day in and day out with, ever again.
What if it didn't have to be that way? What if we put a little more effort into telling the people that we want in our lives, that we want them there? Or better yet, showing them. What would we have to lose? I'm not talking about horrible exes, or mean bosses, or former friends who turned into something we don't even want to know anymore.
No I'm talking about those silent faders, where nothing ever went wrong, nothing really changed, but the friendship ended because no one put in the effort. Those are the saddest losses, those are the ones that make us wonder if anyone truly cares about us at all.
So...... go out there, weather it be in your personal life or your business life, and send an old friend a message. Meet up. Tell your current friends they mean something, and don't allow them to fade without any negative reason for doing so. Cut people slack. Forgive minor imperfections and offenses.
Put in some damn effort. Just like you should with your professional life, your spouse, your kids your health and your pets. Put in some effort and care a little bit.
Someday that's gonna be you. Laying in that coffin. When all is said and done who is going to be there to remember you and what you meant in your time here? Assuming they haven't passed before you of course, who will be able to say they really knew you through a big portion of this thing called life?
Who will you support throughout this life, who do you want there. There's never a wrong time to remind them of that. Remind them now. Before the sad music and the weird clothes and the coffin thing.
Before its too late.
"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
I think it does. I think it makes the same sound it would if it were surrounded by a crowd of people.
But you read the quote. No one is around to hear it. No one cares. No one will come chop the tree up into logs. No one will plane the logs down into boards. No one will build a chair or a table or a baby crib out of that tree. It doesn't matter if it's among the finest Mahogany in the country. It will rot, marred by maggots and larvae, unseen and forgotten into the ground.
It could have been so many wonderful things.
Like all trees do, it began as a seed sailing on a puffy little cloud, or some happy crap like that. (More than likely, it was stuck to a fox's left ass cheek, and was carried a couple of miles before dropping off.) It found a comfy place to live, and it put down roots. Because its a tree, it cant put a for sale sign out, call for a U-Haul and move. It would be stuck there for the rest of its life. It would have to wait for people to find IT to determine it was worthy of being made into something.
Good news. You are not a tree! You can move wherever you want. You can interact with whomever you want. You can be made into whatever you want.
Of course there's always gonna be that crowd that wants to sit home in their pajamas and is content working at the 7-11 for the rest of their lives. Key word: wants. Getting by doing the minimum is enough for them, seriously. But what if that's not you?
What if you want to start a company, what if you want to create art seen around the world, what if you want to be a pro athlete or create a clothing line or increase awareness and raise money to cure a disease? You can't be the unseen tree. And you can't be scared to rip yourself up by the roots.
You need to be everywhere. People often think its bragging, or gloating about themselves if they continue to promote to the world what they do well. We all know that asshole on social media that posts 3040 selfies of everything they do and every other post says "F#*K the haterssss!" But just WHY does that person bother you and I so much, you fellow hater?
No its not because you're jealous. You're actually, seriously nauseated by their content. It's because their content isn't real. Everything's always perfect. They never get upset, or fail or have a bad day, or fart in a crowd and blame someone else, or fail to wash their hair for six days. You, unfortunately, can't relate to them. You fail often and forget to be perfect. Therefore, you wish they would just go away. They don't make you feel good about yourself. They make you feel bad . Why would you buy what they're selling or support them in their missions?
The people and businesses you look up to and ultimately buy from and support make you feel great. They share not only the good, but the bad. They make noise and its real. They put themselves out there flaws and all. You can relate, it feels like you know them. You'd buy sawdust in a package from them because even if you've never met them, they're your friends, and you trust your friends.
So there's good noise and bad noise. And then there's no noise . We all know that artist that THINKS no one will like his work so he hides it in his closet, even though he's the most amazing thing you've ever seen. Or that great writer who was told by someone that publishing a book is unreasonable and stupid, so they put that dream on the shelf and stayed silent. Or that ice cream shop whose owner doesn't know or care how to use a computer, so they aren't on any social media. No one knows they make the best banana split for 50 miles.
You're good at something and you have dreams. Whether you think you'll ever get there or not, you don't stand a chance if you don't put it out there. Social Media has made it easier than ever to share with the world what those are, and to remain humble. Don't spam people or be fake and perfect. Be real. Be someone they can know without ever having met you. People go with what they know and hear consistently. They support it, they think of it often, they buy from it.
Be in people's heads. Not screaming spammy crap, but be there for what you're good at and for who you are. Don't be afraid to be imperfect and don't be afraid to be really good at something and tell the world. You're good at it because it was meant for you and you love it. You're going to mess up a LOT because you're human.
You're not a tree. You can do whatever it takes to succeed. Email everyone you know and be yourself. Do it again a couple months later. Talk to people, meet people. Walk up to them even though you have no idea what to say. You'll look stupid. You will. You'll feel stupid. Deal with it. Anyone who got anywhere, dealt with it. It'll separate you from everyone that quit.
There's so many cool people out there, with cool examples and inspiration. Whatever it is you want to do, someone probably already did similar. Find out how and then do it better.
Talent is worth nothing if no one knows you have it and you're too scared to use it. Its yours, go own it before its too late. Be the tree that grows next to the Eiffel tower, not in the middle of Montana. Make sure everyone hears you when you fall.
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