Things I Believed in 2019 – Volume 1

Live without regrets

“Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything” – Bukowski

I’ve read you’re more likely to regret the things you DIDN’T do than the ones you did. I’ve regretted both but I do know that I feel FOMO when I don’t do something I want. Stop making excuses. Stop letting fear control you. Do the damn thing. 

Stop ‘should-ing’ yourself

“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.”

-Rita Mae Brown

I hate knowing people don’t like me. But I also hate having to filter myself and hide behind a mask to be accepted. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m working toward being okay with that. I can’t be someone for others because I won’t like myself. And in the end, the most important person’s opinion about me is my own. I have to live with myself. No one else does. 

Continually step outside your comfort zone

If you continue to ride the same roads with the same people, you’ll only ever know how to ride with that group on that surface.

If you continue to shy away from what scares you, you’ll always be fearful.

I was first to admit how intimidating Dan’s Sunday ride appeared when he posted it in our Strava club. I know if it was anyone else leading this ride, they wouldn’t have supported (or was it peer pressure) me nearly enough as Dan. Dan’s a strong AF rider with unyielding patience.

I’ve seen his Sunday rides posted before and never had the guts to join. It was always because of fear. Fear of slowing down the group and never being invited back. Fear of getting dropped out in the middle of nowhere by myself. Fear of looking stupid.

The problem with fear is that we typically let it control us. The unsubstantiated fear we make up in our minds is like a cell we allow to multiply in our thoughts. And our thoughts are incredibly powerful. The quote attributed to Henry Ford says, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

So when Dan told me it’d be fun and I’d be fine, I chose to believe him. I chose to chase failure. When I finally arrived home, after our seven-hour long, “Parker Punisher” adventure ride, my tired legs reminded me that being afraid wasted more energy than riding with other adventurers. 

Be mindful of your everyday days

One year ago, I was in a much different spot — mentally and physically. I didn’t think to set intentions for the month ahead. I was merely trying to survive. I’m trying my best to be more intentional with everything I do. I’m flawed. I’m not perfect. I mess up and I will again and again. But today I’m going to spend some time setting intentions for the month ahead.

I’m gonna check-in with myself, review January, and make a plan for February. I don’t plan to spend all day doing this. Realistically, I’ll take 30-60 minutes. I’m just sick of my days all blending in together and passing me by. 

Treat today like it may be your last or first, of eternity

I watched Groundhog Day last night and afterward, wondered what I would do if I had to relive today over and over again for the rest of eternity.

How would I go about it?

What would I do?

It’s speculated that Phil Connors lived Groundhog Day for 34 years until he broke out of the endless loop. This “endless loop” has several interpretations, even though the directors said they simply created a “heartfelt story.” How I interpreted it was that the curse was broken when he stopped thinking of himself and helped others instead, and he finally appreciated the day for what it was. Then, poof, it was gone.

Not only does this film point out the need to appreciate each and every day, but to help others as well. Further, it highlights: treat each day like it may be your last, or first, of eternity.

Don’t take it personally

Why is it so hard to not take things personally? Most of us aren’t narcissists (we think) but when someone does or says something to us, we feel personally attacked. 

Don Miguel Ruiz says, “You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said.”

When we take something personally, we get trapped in a kind of hell, what Ruiz calls “personal importance.” Personal importance is the utmost expression of selfishness because it means we think the world revolves around us.

He tells us that nothing other people do has anything to do with you. They’re living in their own experience, seeing the world in a different lense from you. If someone tries to insult/disrespect/hurt (even compliment) you, you can’t take it personally. It’s their “emotional garbage” they’re trying to spread to you. If you take it personally, you become infected with their “garbage,” or “poison.”

It works the same way with ourselves. We treat people and act in a certain way based on our agreements with reality. It really isn’t about that person, it’s everything about us. The way we talk to and about others; the way we treat others. Ruiz even says we can’t take what we say to ourselves personally.

Ruiz says, “Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.” We aren’t responsible for others’ actions. We’re only responsible for ourselves. We can choose to ingest others’ poison, creating our own hell, or we can choose to reject it.

Ask yourself: How would you live your last day?

Scrolling through old photos, I found this one, from 2009. 10 years ago I was a passenger in a really bad car accident. I had a Stage 3 concussion, cracked both sides of my skull, and temporarily severed nerves in the left side of my face. I had to wear an eyepatch because I was seeing double.

When they rushed me to the hospital, after I finally came to, I kept asking, “What happened?” The paramedics would say, “You were in a car crash.” Then I’d ask, “Who was driving?” And it continued every few minutes because I couldn’t remember. 

Everyone thought I was going to be Drew Barrymore from 50 First Dates.

We never know when our last day’s going to be. We tend to think we’ll live forever. I just watched a commencement speech by Steve Jobs in which he said: 

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, “If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me… and since then, for the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today.” And whenever the answer has been, “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. 

Here’s your reminder to stop going through the motions; to ask yourself if you want to keep doing what you’re doing. How would you live your last day?

Take responsibility for your life

Being miserable is easy. It’s the coward’s Modus operandi. When we choose Misery, we’re choosing laziness, entitlement, and ego.

Life is fucking hard. For everyone. We’re all just trying to figure it out because none of us actually have achieved and conquered Life. Life will conquer us first if we choose to fight it. 

For most of my life, I’ve chosen to battle Life. Because I thought it owed me something. I believed that if I did A, B, C then I deserved X, Y, Z but there’s no contract when we’re born that stipulates Life’s obligation to us.

Life owes us nothing. We are entitled to nothing. We’re no better than the person sitting next to us because we have degrees or we’re in a prestigious group or we know three languages. 

We achieve things because we owe it to ourselves. When we choose Misery over Gratitude and Acceptance, it’s because deep down we don’t believe we’re worth it. We don’t give ourselves accountability and responsibility. It’s as if we’re still a child, awaiting our parents’ orders. It’s easy and lazy to avoid responsibility. 

Choose to be brave yet flexible in Life. That’s the only way any of us are going to get through it. 

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