On October 30th, my grandfather passed away.
I had just finished a day of hiking up Colca Canyon in Peru when I went to check my email and saw an urgent message from my father asking me to call home. “Say a prayer for your grandfather Steve, he passed away this morning.” I actually wrote this post the day he died, but waited a few weeks until I could give it the attention it deserved. To celebrate his life, I want to help you live a life worth living, just like my grandfather.
This one’s for you, Grampy.
John Edward Kamb, or “Grampy” as he was known to us kids, lived to the ripe old age of 88. He grew up during the Great Depression which claimed the lives of his mother and his older sister, ran his own newspaper stand outside Fenway Park throughout grade school and high school, enlisted in the Navy and fought in the Battles of Kwajalein, Eniwetok, and Guam during World War II, almost died of malaria, and went on to work two jobs for most of his life.
Three weeks ago, he fell accidentally fell down and broke his shoulder. While in the hospital, a routine scan showed that his previously slow-to-grow cancer had unfortunately spread rapidly and he died just a few days later. I unfortunately missed the ceremony last week due to still being out of the country, but just reading my father’s eulogy was enough to bring tears to my eyes about what this man went through and how he lived his life.
This is not meant to be a sad post, but rather a happy celebration of the life of a man who fought for our country, worked hard to raise a good family, and lived long enough to spend twenty-six years impacting the life of his grandson.
Live a Life Worth Living
These are the four values that Grampy instilled in my father, which have been passed down to me:
- Go to work every day. Work hard. If you have a chance to work two jobs, do both. The day may come when you don’t have a job to go to.
- Save your money. Every time you get paid, put something away. Again, you never know when you won’t have money coming in.
- Invest your savings with care, even suspicion. But if you can, put your money to work too.
- Most importantly, take care of your family. Don’t expect anyone to help you. It’s your responsibility. Take care of your family.
Along with those four values, here’s another thing I will NEVER forget about Gramp: despite all of his hardships, tragedies, and trauma that took place throughout his long life, Grampy never ceased to have a big smile on his face, telling hilarious stories and memories about the adventures in his life to anybody that wanted to listen (and even those that didn’t).
Since Grampy’s passing, I’ve thought a lot about my own life and the memories I’m making. After years of “maybe some day,” “when I’m ready,” and “eventually,” I stopped waiting and started doing. I took this trip to Peru because I was tired of waiting for the perfect time to do something special. When I was standing at the top of Colca Canyon after hiking out if it, mountain biking through the Sacred Valley, playing an international game of barefoot soccer, or witnessing the awe-inspiring views of mythical Machu Picchu, I realized that my seventeen days and less than a thousand dollars provided me with stories and adventures that I will never forget.
I can’t wait to tell my grandkids about Machu Picchu someday.
Life Is Too Damn Short
You might have noticed over the past few months that Nerd Fitness has become more than just a place for people to come read about push ups and squats. Although it still has a huge fitness slant to it, this site has certainly become something bigger: leveling up your life in any way possible, every single day. I was on the phone last night with my friend Baker of ManVsDebt. He talked about how we were both in the same line of work: “You might be fitness and I might be finance, but we’re both doing the same thing: helping people remove barriers in their life to really get what they want of it.”
Baker’s absolutely right.
Life is too damn short, and too damn precious to wait until tomorrow. You could be alive today and hit by a bus tomorrow, you really just never know. Capn_Tommy_Sunshine came to the same conclusion I did just a few days back on the NF Message Boards. I may be doing what I can to help you lose weight and feel better about yourself, but really I’m just removing any barriers that prevent you from living a life you can look back on with pride. I hope to look back on my life at the age of 88 and say “I did it right.” If I don’t make it that long, that’s okay: as long as each day is lived with conviction and purpose, I can leave this world happy.
That means no regrets, tons of memories, and one gigantic smile.
Remove the Roadblocks, START.
Everybody has something in their life that they use as a crutch to put off improving their life “until the time’s right.” These are the most common barriers, along with definitive steps you can take today to get around them:
- I’m out of shape and can’t do what I want to. Clean up your diet, stop making excuses about why you’re out of shape, and start exercising today. No excuses, not “tomorrow”, not “after the holidays,” TODAY. Email me if you need help getting started.
- I’m in debt and cant afford to do what I want to. Stop buying stupid crap, start reading ManVsDebt, Get Rich Slowly, pick up Ramit Sethi’s amazing book, and put a plan in place to stop being handcuffed by poor finances.
- I want to travel to [insert iconic location] but I’m scared/don’t know how/can’t afford it. Stop saying someday, start reading Chris Guilibeau, Karol Gajda, and Frugal Travel Guy, pick a place TODAY and start planning.
- I have too much going on and don’t have time. Stop making things so complicated, start reading Leo Babauta and Unclutterer, and take steps to simplify your life.
- I want to start a business but can’t afford to leave my job/don’t know where to start. Stop complaining about a job that you don’t like, start reading Tim Ferriss, and Ramit Sethi and Chris Guillebeau, and start building a small business in your spare time.
- What’s that? You have no idea what you’re doing with your life? That’s cool! Read Mark Manson’s article on “how to find your life’s purpose,” and start there.
What can You Do Today?
In honor of Grampy, I want to help you stop waiting for tomorrow and start acting today.
- What do YOU want out of life?
- Are you making it happen, or are you waiting for the perfect opportunity?
- What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do but “haven’t got around to it yet”?
Maybe it’s traveling to Machu Picchu, driving cross country, or coaching your kid’s t-ball team. Perhaps it’s completing a triathlon, skydiving, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, starting a business, or even something as simple as going on a date, taking dance lessons, or taking a cooking class with your spouse.
Whatever it is, stop waiting and start acting because you never know what could happen tomorrow.
In the comments today, let me know one thing you’ve always wanted to do but have been putting off for whatever reason, and one action that you’re taking TODAY to move one step closer to making it a reality.
It’s time to start living a better life today, because tomorrow might not come and “eventually” never happens.
It’s not goodbye, Gramp…it’s “I’ll see you later!”