(Though this post contains some dirty language, I composed it with pure intent. Sorry, Mom! It’s also very long. Sorry, everyone.)
When I was a kid and when something awesome was about to happen, time stopped. Waiting for Christmas morning: an eternity. Waiting for a trip to the promiseland (er, the ice-cream shop): like sand grains slipping though the Days of Our Lives hourglass. Now it’s 2012 and I’m 33 years old and how the effe did I get here? As a grown-up, time freaking flies when life is The Awesome.
I’m sometimes embarrassed by this blog, which now contains the ins and outs of four years of my life. Holy self-aggrandizing heyzeus, do I ever run out of words to talk about that which occupies my time? I mean, did you see my last blog post? It’s a three-minute vid about mememysuperfantasticyearmememe. Today, I’m trying something different. This is my attempt at extrospection (Dood, it’s a word. I neffer effer make up words.).
People watching, I loveitsoverymuch. There are few places where you can only watch people, though. If, for example, you watch people at a coffee shop, you also have to feign interest in your book or your cappuccino so folks don’t think you’re about to stab them 1,000 times. The only place where you can exclusively watch people is the airport. If I lived down the street from an airport, I would say things like, “Okay honey, I’m headed to the aeropuerto.” And then I would go there and sit in a black leather chair and watch people all day and this would be totally normal.
Observation is how I interact with the world. Because of this, I’ve seen people (myself included) do stupid sh@t. I’ve also seen people act in ways that make the world ticktock a little better and with a lot more joy. Based upon the best stuff I’ve seen humans do, I’ve written resolutions for, well, whoever is still reading (myself included) on how to live this year large.
1. Do what makes you happy.
Let’s all drop the God angle when we talk about this, okay? People, I actually believe in a god (All of our versions of god are probably different. That’s cool.). But, I don’t sit in a recliner and wait for my god to go “ka-blam!” and make cool sh%t happen.
If you say, “Dear God, please give me the wife I’ve been dreaming of,” I don’t think God’s gonna respond, “Sure thing. I’ll drop her from these puffy clouds just for you, bro.” Maybe miracles do occur, but, if so, there have been, like, 17 of them in the whole history of the world. The chances of one happening to you are approximately none.
So, if you decide to make a bowl of wilt-y oatmeal for brekkie, don’t stare at it and and be all, “Geez God, I wanted an omelet for breakfast.” If you want an omelet, get out the da*n skillet, chop you some vegetables, and make the most spectacular omelet you’ve ever seen. This is a metaphor for life. If you want a cool life, make a cool life.
Don’t get ridiculous, though, and decide that tomorrow you’re going to become a world-famous rock star. That’s not going to happen if you aren’t famous in at least four countries when you go to sleep (See #3 below for more on approaching life realistically.). Start small. Start possible. Then fu&king grow. I guarantee this: you’ll blow yourself away by the awesome sh#t you’ll do.
2. Do what makes others happy.
Look at my shirt. I can’t read it when it’s on my body. Even when I look in the mirror, the letters are backward. And, I pretty much suck at ping pong. I wear this shirt because it makes people smile.
Life is the coolestthingever in this respect. Most of the time, making the people around you happy is simple. You listen to your grandmother’s stories for the 32nd time because, dear lord, she’s grinning so wide that her dentures are sliding around in her mouth and it requires no effort on your part. You make your girlfriend breakfast, just two pieces of toast with almond butter, because it’ll make her morning easier and because it takes you about 72 seconds.
I call bulls#it on this “No matter what, you gotta do what makes you happy” crap I hear everywhere. It’s a lame a#s excuse entitling us all to be selfish pricks. Absolutely, what’s the point of living on this Earth if you’re not happy? Being happy and making others happy aren’t mutually exclusive operations, though. It’s so simple to do a few things every day to make the important people in your life happy. Yes, life has heavy stuff that we’ve all gotta work on once in a while. I’m talking here about keeping the peace on a smaller, daily level. This sh$t is easy and it makes the lives of everyone better.
So go put a big fat grin on someone’s face for no other reason than to see them smile. It’ll be the awesomest thing you’ll do all day.
3. Be realistic.
If your great-uncle has always been a child abuser, chances are he’ll continue to be one. If your husband has cheated on you five times, he’s gonna play you again. Reality won’t change because you click your ruby-red slippers. I wish life was magic like that, and maybe it actually is if you’re David Copperfield. But you’re not, so stop believing in magic.
If you’re a little plump around the middle and would like to shave off some weight in 2012, that’s baller. But be realistic with your goal. If you weigh 400 pounds now, you’re probably not going to weigh 180 at the end of the year unless you score a chance at being a contestant on The Biggest Loser.
Or, if you’re a struggling artist who makes really cool art and wants to build an audience for it this year, that’s The Awesome. But, becoming a bestselling novelist is probably not going to happen. Maybe one or two lucky, creative folks will experience something completely off-the-wall like this in 2012. But this kind of dreaming is detrimental to forward progress for the rest of us. If you’re a writer who’s been published once in your fave literary mag with a 300-word soliloquy of awesome, make it your goal this year to get a feature piece in your third-favorite journal. You’ll have to work your pretty, little hieny off for it, but this is tangible, do-able sh$t.
This is what I mean about being realistic. Dream big. Create achievable goals. Set yourself up to be cheers-ing success next New Year’s Eve.
4. Remember that things are less serious than you think.
What I mean is, don’t take the little stuff too seriously.
There are a few things in life worth thinking hard about. Like marriage. Or deciding not to resuscitate a sick loved one. Or walking into your boss’ office and telling him/her to shove off. This is the biggest stuff of life and none of it should be considered callously.
I’m talking about the snotty barista in the coffee shop or the dood who stole your Wal-Mart parking spot or the indifferent text message you got from your girlfriend. Don’t think about these things for more than the number of seconds it takes for each of them to occur. It’s never worth it and the anger you feel for this petty sh@t will carry into other corners of your life. Soon you’ll be a mean bi$ch/bas$ard for no good reason. Life is way bigger and better than getting tangled in the little crap.
5. Hang out with people who make you a better person.
Remember in gym class when you chased all the fast kids around the track? Remember how your gym teacher would say, “Running with them will make you faster”? He/she was totally right. Unless Ryan Hall or Josh Cox or Deena Kastor was in your gym class, then you were pretty much screwed and forever the slow kid. In general, spending time doing something with someone who’s better than you will make you more awesome, too.
For example, I’m currently obsessed with Scrabble, but I suck at it. I’ve been playing Bryon, who is way better than me. I’m getting better because playing him forces me to try harder and think more. It’s kind of awesome like that.
What if you think you’re good at everything? Uh, you’re wrong and you’re probably an arrogant idiot, too. Even if you’re godda&n Tim Tebow and real good at football (Sorry, you’re not Tebow. He doesn’t read my blog.), you’re not necessarily good at everything else. I mean, I heard Tim Tebow can’t sing (This is probably a lie. He may have an excellent set of lungs. It’s an example, run with it, people.). This applies to you. You may be awesome at one thing, but this probably means that you’re less good at other stuff and have much to learn from the people around you.
6. Take good care of your body.
Most of this stuff has been about caring for your mind and building a life your brain likes. But we’ve got these bodies in which we’ve got to live, too. I know this era of plastic surgery and knee replacements might make you say, “Dood, I can eat as many Ho Hos as I want because liposuction and open-heart surgery will fix my effed body.” Yo, why would you want to eat Ho Hos in the first place and why would you want to treat yourself like sh%t? Relying on others to create a good body for you makes me think you’re weak.
Let me tell you something else. If you like Zumba, then Zumba you’re little as^ off. If you like CrossFit, those WODs are calling your name. If veganism is the way for you, your way rocks the shiznit. This taking-care-of-the-body stuff is highly personalized. I really hate it when people are all, “Paleo is the. only. way.” or “If you can’t bench your body weight, we can’t be friends.” No single way is the right way, so stop being a preachy di&khead. Let’s just encourage each other to freaking do what makes us happy.
7. Love your faults.
Think you’re a slow fu&k as a runner? Wish your love handles hadn’t grown a little wider over the holidaze? Know that you have the seemingly innate ability to blow the littlest stuff into Grand Canyons of problems? Love this crap, to the last, Folgers drop, people.
If these are the parts about you that you like least and most want to change, you’re not going to get anywhere by pretending they don’t exist. Shoving the bads under the rug doesn’t make them whoosh away foreveramen. It gives you a lumpy carpet upon which to stand. This is another metaphor for life. You wanna be building your world on a bumpy foundation? Accepting your bad sh%t is the first step to doing something with it.
8. Be happy.
That’s right, just be happy. And, if you’re not, pretend to be happy. You’ll probably be a glowing orb 10 minutes later. It’s not magic, it’s association (See #6 for more on associating yourself with goodness.). If you want to be cool, associate with the awesomest peeps you know. Or, if you wanna be cool, just be cool (Note: Here is the bestadviceever on how to be happy. In summary, your life is awesome so just recognize it and it’ll automatically become even better.).
Try it. Think about unicorns or kittens or a thick stout or what it feels like to run really fast or whatever the fu*k floats your boat. Pick one thing that is The Awesome, think about it for five minutes, and see how it makes you feel. Some people call this applied meditation. Whatever, don’t let the New Age-y BS scare you, just try it.
If you can’t think of anything to make you happy, this will:
9. Keep it simple.
It’s unique to the last 40 years or so of our culture to want a lot of possessions. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy. How do I know that? Look at almost every human being on Earth. Most of them own about 1/10,000th of what you do. Or, think of your own grandparents. Chances are, they had waywayway less than you do. You think all these people have temper tantrums about not owning a hair straightener or a Ferrari or a 3,500 square foot home? Some of the happiest people I’ve met are those with the fewest possessions.
Our culture of owning the mostest sh$t ever is not sustainable. It’s unsustainable on an individual level (How many of us have had to foreclose on our homes in the last two years?). It’s not even sustainable at the level of an entire planet (The United States is one of the most polluting nations on Earth.). Do you ever feel fu#king guilty because we are polluting the lives of people we’ll never meet? You should.
Take everything you own and touch it. Yes, everything. Chances are, doing this will take you all day or more. It’ll be the first time you’ve touched some of your stuff in years. I guarantee that, if you give away five things today that you haven’t touched in years, you’re not gonna miss them. Repeat this decluttering process every day for a week and see how good you feel.
10. Learn from the wise.
The wisest folks on our planet are the oldest. If you’re a stupid idiot, you’ll die before you get old. Dumb people eat Ho Hos and die from heart attacks. Darwinism still stands.
Wise people sleep a lot. They know that doing good when you’re awake means doing even better when you’re asleep. Wise people listen more than they talk, and get wiser by learning from the successes and failures of others. Wise people worry little. Do you ever see an old person fretting about needing a better cell phone? Wise people only worry about important things, like how not to get cancer.
Holla’, that’s all I got. Now, let’s all go git it in 2012.