Have you had a dream you've been putting off? Wanted to make changes in your personal life? I think we've all had those "aha moments" that tell us...Yes! that's what I want to do!!! But we find excuses why it can't happen or it's not the right time. First, there will never be the "right time" and second, if it is really important you'll find a way...if not, you'll find an excuse.
What have you been wanting to do in your life? A new job? An adventure? A relationship? Everything begins with a decision! When I decided to do my bike ride that was it! The decision was made and there were no other options. I told my employer what I was going to be doing...taking 3 months off to ride my bike across America and I hoped that I had their support but was prepared to lose my job if that's what it came to because THE RIDE WAS WHAT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME! Not only did I not lose my job but I had their total support! Did I know everything about bicycle touring? Not even close! Did I train for it? I commuted to work the month before I left. Did I have the bike I "needed"? No, I rode across the country on a $350.00 department store mountain bike. Could I afford it? No, but the decision was made and to my amazement and gratitude friends, family and total strangers supported me throughout the entire journey!
Excuses are easy...decisions are tough but the joy and satisfaction that comes from doing something you wanted to do even if you had doubts about the outcome are life changing!
What's your excuse????
In Toby Keith's song "My List" is a lyric that says "start livin...that's the next thing on my list". This is so appropriate for the way we sometimes look at our busy lives. So many obligations, errands and tasks to complete that this is the one list item that often gets pushed to another day...week...month or year. How we define "livin" is going to be different for each us. It could be canceling that meeting at work to attend a child's performance in a school play or taking your son fishing instead of washing the car or maybe it's something really big, a personal dream you've been putting off for years. However you define "livin" I encourage and challenge you not to put it off for another day but to make it the next thing on your list!
Why is it that we remember sports events or entertainment winners only for a short period of time? Quick, who won the Superbowl 3 years ago? Who won album of the year last year? Did you remember or did you have to look it up online? Heroes and celebrities are soon forgotten not because they weren't incredibly accomplished but because our attention spans are short.
If this is true, why do we so vividly remember those school plays our kids were in years ago or the special vacation we took with family or those words of encouragement spoken to us by a parent decades ago? Because these are the moments that truly matter! When we are making decisions on how to spend our time we need to ask, is this going to make a real difference in my life or in someone else's life? Which is going to be more rewarding...watching Tom Brady throw another touchdown pass or playing a game of catch with your son? We probably won't remember that touchdown pass Tom Brady threw but chances are that game of catch with your son will be a memory for years if not a lifetime. Take photos of those special moments and the memories will be even greater!
What are your special memories? When and how will you make the next one?
Bucket lists can consist of any number of things including; exotic vacations, personal achievement or other life experiences that you want to be sure to do before you die. What I find interesting about bucket lists is the term itself...this is the definition according to the Urban Dictionary, A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".
Sure, we can call it "our goal(s) or something similar but for some reason I find the term "bucket list" a bit odd. So, what happens when we accomplish what's on our list? Is that it?, or do we add more items to a new list? In addition, does this not suggest that we are close to "kicking the bucket" and must achieve what's on our list immediately?
I feel it is more important to surround yourself with people that understand or even share what it is that you want to accomplish and encourage you! I prefer to not have a "bucket list" but to simply enjoy everyday and not take the little things for granted. The best part of this approach I've found is that it has opened my eyes and mind to experiences that I may have never considered. A simple evening mountain bike ride in the foothills or a walk with my dog Ace can often getting the creativity wheels going at full speed.
Yes, it's important to always be striving towards something great in the future, but not at the expense of missing out on today! I prefer to call it my dream list or life list...
The great quote by Henry David Thoreau says "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined".
I'm intentionally not watching as much news or going to news websites, not because I don't want to be informed but because of constant negativity. Bombs, shootings, political battles...on and on. I'm not so naive to think that this will make these events stop happening but by focusing my energy on positive events maybe...just maybe I can impact the life of someone else in a positive way.
While on my bike ride across America, I hardly ever heard the "headlines of the day". What I discovered was that despite the bad news that may be happening the real hearts of Americans were everywhere! People offering to let me stay in their homes, conversations with strangers in small town cafes all across the country intrigued about my journey. Often purchasing my meal, taking photos with me, providing me with their phone numbers in case of an emergency and encouraging me every mile along the way. So many times motorists pulled up along side me asking if I needed water or food. On a long, steep mountain road I even had an SUV pull up to me with 3 small children with their heads out the windows cheering me on with a sign they drew on a piece of paper that said "keep pedaling dude" with a smily face.
Simple gestures of kindness can impact people in real ways that we don't even realize. It doesn't have to be anything big, a kind comment to the clerk at the grocery store, letting that person in line go ahead of you, a word of encouragement with a smile to that teenager behind the counter their first day at the fast food restaurant. Opening and holding doors for people, buying a police officer coffee or lunch, paying for the person behind you in the drive up or even something as simple as letting a motorist in during the busy commute. Just think about the impact on the world if we all start practicing simple acts of kindness every day!
What good will you do today?