Lives Remaining: 0
Before I started Nerd Fitness, I worked for a company called Sixthman, which produces floating music festivals. Although I no longer work for them (and even have a full team here at Nerd Fitness now), I still attend one event every year without fail:
The Rock Boat, a floating music festival where you spend five days with music fans and 25+ bands.
It’s my one chance every year to truly disconnect, reflect, and embrace my love of music. While at sea, I received word that one of my former co-workers from Sixthman had passed away due to complications from surgery for lung cancer (despite never having smoked a cigarette in her life). Tiffany was only 31.
Here on Nerd Fitness, I often talk about how we don’t get to pick the “level of difficulty” we have to play on in the game of life. Some people get to play on “Easy” while others have to play on “Legendary.” Tiffany played on a level two steps above Legendary, forced to deal with a tremendous number of issues throughout her life, never once failing to sport a smile or positive attitude.
She simply played the hand she was dealt to the best of her ability, smiling ’til the very end. She never complained or asked “why?”
It broke my heart, and I am really going to miss her.
It’s a shame that it generally takes a tragedy to remind us how short and unexpected life can be, and that we need to enjoy every day. The stark realization is that in order to live our lives fully and happily, we have to remember we have no extra lives.
This is it.
Did you enjoy your story?
As Gandalf the Grey taught us, “All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.”
I receive emails daily from people who are in crappy situations or are unhappy about the path they’re on, and my advice is generally the same:
You MUST find a way to be happy today, because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
If you are in a crappy job, start looking for a new one today (or make your own). If you are in a crappy relationship, get out of it. If you are friends with people who drag you down, fire them and move on.
Yes, all of the above is easier said than done. Somebody once told me “You can make excuses, or you can get what you want. But not both.” The first time I heard that it felt like a slap in the face – a brutal wake-up call.
If you’re not interested in getting what you want (i.e., continuing to be unhappy and making excuses about why change won’t work), you’re filling yourself with untapped potential, regret, and “what if?”
YES, it is morbid to say, but the “Lives Remaining” counter in our game is ZERO. We could get hit by a bus tomorrow! Or find out that the one thing we all take for granted – our health – is taken from us at a moment’s notice.
So, be happy today.
Here’s how I found to do that: Make your life about the story, not about possessions or bank accounts. I’m not telling you to quit your job and move into a tent in the mountains (though I’m not saying don’t do that if that will make you happy!).
What I AM saying is that every day is an opportunity for adventure, happiness, and improvement…or another day of being unhappy and unfulfilled. We spend so much time on shit that Just. Doesn’t. Matter, when we should make sure we spend that time on the important stuff.
You can start by making sure you spend time with people who fill up your brain with stories that start with: “Remember that time we…. I’ll never forget it!”
Whether it’s a quiet night with friends enjoying a beer and swapping stories, playing a board game, or climbing a freaking mountain in a foreign country, we need to take advantage of the fact that today is a damn good day to be above the roses. If you can fill your day with adventure, improvement, and gratitude…you’re on the right path.
Although I’ve linked to this video more than a few times on the site, I couldn’t help but share it again in case you haven’t seen it. This will be the best five minutes of your day:
Just a few short days after the Rock Boat, I got to be the best man at the wedding of my best friend Cash, whom I’ve known since first grade, and have been on so many incredible adventures with.
We’ve shared so many memories nobody would ever believe. Cash was the travel partner that joined up with me for many of my crazy-ass adventures around the world.
As I was putting together my speech for the newly married couple…I couldn’t help but think back on my previous week on the Rock Boat, my friend Tiffany whose light burned out far too soon, and how fortunate I am to spend another day alive and well. Here’s what I said:
“In my brief time on this planet, I’ve come to learn a few things. Although we don’t get to pick how much time we get to have, we do get to choose two things:
- Who we spend our time with.
- What types of stories we have with those people”
Although Tiffany’s life was cut too short, I’m grateful for the time I had with her, and the lessons she taught me about playing life on Legendary. I’m grateful for my friendship with Cash and the ridiculous stories we’ve had together.
There are so many things we take for granted, but none more-so than our health, and the time we have left. We can control one, and we have no clue about the other…so make sure today is an opportunity to go to bed saying, “I lived today right.”
I have two quests for you today:
- Pick up the phone, and call a friend or family member you’re grateful to have in your life, and let them know you’re glad he/she is in your life.
- Do one thing today that reminds you it’s a great day to be alive. Whether it’s playing music, going for a hike with your dog, starting to plan a big trip, or grabbing dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Do something billions of people would give anything to have the chance to do again.
Cash, thanks for the adventures and letting me be a part of your wedding.
Tiffany, thanks for everything you’ve taught me – you will be missed.
As the my friends in Gaelic Storm say, “here’s to one more day above the roses.”