I haven’t posted on here in awhile, but today seems fitting for me because it’s my biggest reflection day of the year. Today happens to be the start of my 27th chapter on this planet! This time instead of just reflecting one year back as usual, I decided to go back almost a decade.
So let’s get started shall we?
What do I notice? Any patterns? Rhythms? Inconsistencies? Looking back on my early twenties (in which I refer to as “baby Jacob”), I like to see how I lived and how I progressed through time to get to where I am today.
When I was much younger than baby Jacob (in my late teens), I started to see value in getting out. So much so, that it became my go-to response for my decision making process. I’m not just talking about what I should do on the day to day, but into the pursuit of employment as well. This led to a lot of seasonal and temporary work opportunities in my 20’s.
It’s ironic that I’m about to talk about getting out, but here I am. At home. My family home – the one that I grew up in.
What’s up with that?!?
This is because I believe that although getting out is important, let’s not forget our roots. These can represent your family, friends, and/or anyone who has shown you love and support along the way. I myself, haven’t spent much time with my family since I graduated from high school 9.5 years ago. As a matter of fact, since then, I’ve been with them in my home town for approximately 1.5 years collectively. Considering my nomadic lifestyle, I don’t find that to be very lengthy. I’m trying to find the balance of being a good brother, son, and uncle, while living a life that wouldn’t cause me to question “what if” regarding new experiences as I get older. That is why i’m spending much needed family time during this holiday season before I head off again to I have no idea where.
I highly recommend that you take opportunities to get out within your own lives.
But what exactly do I mean by “get out”?
I’ll preface this with the obvious fact that we all take a myriad of paths as we traverse through our lives. Some drop out of school and go straight to work. Some graduate and work. Some go to college. Some take a gap year.. etc. What all these have in common is that they are really big decisions.
Truth is, behind big decisions, is a complex web of smaller choices that we may define as our “lifestyle”.
Let’s start with the basics. “Getting out” refers to your thoughts (thinking outside the box), actions (get off the couch and go for a walk), or leaving your comfort zone (skydiving anyone?).. etc. The list can go on, but you can trace it back to one single word that makes my heart race, my adrenaline pump, and genuine love to run through my veins. That word is “diversification”.
Why does the simple act of diversity in life create the same sensation as to when my middle school crush walked by and smiled at me? That’s because the possibilities are ENDLESS. I repeat, ENDLESS! I’ll go scream this from the rooftops because of how passionate I am about the impact it has not only on yourself, but on others around you!
Getting out opens up doors! It can be scary and it may seem as if there are no extrinsic results, but you need to reflect. You’ll start see the doors within your soul become unlocked; many of whom which may have been closed in the past. These are windowless doors within yourself that have no interest in providing insight to what lies behind them. The doors will not open if you allow yourself to live the same life everyday until you’re dead!
I’m not advocating for you to live my lifestyle. I mean, I take the leap without looking sometimes, I jump from job to job without much of a clear direction on where i’ll end up, I never know where i’ll be a few weeks-months into the future or how i’ll afford it.. For me, it doesn’t matter that my yearly pay hovers around the poverty line – I don’t need unemployment, I don’t need a job, I just need to get out! No distractions please – I’m only interested in what’s really important (this is individual specific of course).
Through all of this uncertainty, I find a great deal of happiness, love, and satisfaction, through my travels and meeting great people.
But believe me when I say I notice how green the grass is on the other side. I admire folks who have found their dream job, and/or are raising a family with people that they fell in love with, and/or see their best friends year round, years on end, without a great geographical distance between them. But alas, we’re dealing with apples and oranges here.
The main thing is that many of us have a choice. If you’re reading this right now, on the internet, with electricity, then you may have even more of a choice than you probably tell yourself. Whichever life you choose, choose wisely.
You probably have dreams, desires, bucket-list items, as well as “I wish I had(s)”, all build up in your mind. Some may be things that have been lingering for years or fresh ideas that just caused you to think “well, dang.. I’m ____ years old and I have never done ____, and I don’t like that!”.
Well Jacob, what works for you?
Two things that have helped me: to get out, and discipline. They lead to a more diverse life and for me, a higher standard of living even if it’s strictly in the emotional sense.
Discipline is important because some of your goals may be MASSIVE and lead to easier discouragement. Well stop that 🙂 Don’t overwhelm yourself from the starting line.
Start small. You want to hike the Appalacian Trail? Pacific Crest Trail? Camino de Santiago? … But you can’t get the motivation to go get the mail?
It should go without saying but unfortunately it’s easily forgotten that we can’t just show up for an Ironman and complete it without training beforehand. Check out the film “What About Bob” to see the value of baby steps. … (Sorry, another Bill Murray film 😅)
For instance, if you have a desire to travel, but are nervous, check out nearby towns or states until you build up your confidence. Want to travel but can’t afford it? Go work for food and accommodation in your dream place so you can live with the locals and have your two biggest expenses covered in exchange for your helping hand and simple kindness. Still have bills? Go get a Work & Holiday Visa in another country and get paid at probably a higher rate than your current job (for Americans, popular places for this is New Zealand and Australia).
Truth is, we’re evolutionarily programmed and built to be elastic. Stretching our abilities to adapt to new environments, and opportunities is in our DNA. If you’re not sure where to start, think about what gives you butterflies, makes you nervous, scares you, etc. You need to push yourself to places you didn’t know possible or maybe didn’t even consider before. You’ll probably find your passion (or discover a different one) and flip your life upside down – THAT’S OKAY! And think about the people you’ll meet along the way! This includes your future, developed, more versatile self.
A fun example: A girl I met was arachnophobic, and would always have people kill spiders for her. She decided to study as much as she could about our little 8 legged friends, and now she loves them! She’s even the one that volunteers to remove them from the room to prevent them from getting squished. If this isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is!
Pushing yourself to “get out”, to try new things, to learn new skills, to break up your lifestyle so it doesn’t feel as if you’re living the same thing on repeat, all can have astounding impacts on your future. Check out Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day for a great display of this.
Just one more example, I promise: When I was abroad and living out of a tent while working on a farm, my partner and I decided to cook food (on a camp stove) and have dinner in a different location everyday. It forced us to prepare, get creative and essentially “get out” of the routine of eating in the same town park every day after work. I love this example because it takes something as simple and mundane as eating dinner and turns it into an adventure (with a beautiful view) that we would look forward to every day. Although very simple, it helped create the irrepressible love for life that we constantly carried in our hearts.
Everyone has room to grow, learn, and develop. Some people already push themselves and itch their creativity in a way that they meet their goal of learning at least one new thing every day. Some people wish they could just do a little bit more.
There’s also many people who live by the motto: “same shit, different day”, and feel trapped because they think they landed in a rut. These are the folks that I think will benefit the most from getting out.
Life is a teamwork venture! Motivate your friends to “take that leap!”. It’s less daunting with company and these adventures are what we need to break up the days, weeks, months, and years. They’ll act as bookmarks in our lives, so when we’re old and wrinkly we won’t just see 45 years of work without any breaks, but instead, beautifully crafted chapters. I wish everyone a long and healthy life, but more importantly, I wish everyone has a life of venture in whatever capacity that best fits their needs and satisfactions!
Love doesn’t have to be complicated.
Happiness doesn’t have to be hard.
Adventures don’t have to be elusive.
I hope these simple ideas on how to get out can inspire you to strive for that new skill, experience or friendship. Stay disciplined my friend. Get up, get out, and push yourself to new and greater limits.
Don’t wait for opportunity to knock, go do the knocking!
See you out there ❤