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Sunday, October 16, 2011

The importance of playing 10/8 - 10/15 Days 281 - 288

October is halfway over... yikes!  And I thought Halloween was the scariest thing happening in October!!!  And with a decent amount of travel planned for November, I feel like the last 77 Days of the year are going to, no pun intended, fly by.

A few updates:

Sunrise/Sunset project is going awesome!  Thank you everyone for participating and an extra big thanks for getting your friends involved.  Please keep following the list, it helps me a lot: Sunrise/Sunset List

I am looking forward to doing another ustream chat here in the next week or so.  I'll update facebook as soon as I figure out a date and time.

I am planning a cool event for 11-11-2011 and will need everyone's help.  I will post all the details of it in the next couple of weeks.  It will be a great time :)

When I started the 1 Year 1000 Challenge I had a bunch of goals associated with it.  The biggest one being, getting back to living life, and learning how to live it to the fullest.  I feel like I have done it and I love the way I am living my life right now and the course it is on.

When I got back from Utah last Sunday someone asked me, "how was your vacation?"

"Vacation?" I replied...

You see the question puzzled me, here is why:

Vacation, as is defined in the dictionary is: freedom or release from duty, business, or activity...

Vacation = freedom???  I understand the definition, but this is a perfect example of a change that has occurred within me.  I love my work, I love my life, and I love the people in it.  Why would I ever want to take a vacation from that which I love?  To me making a three and a half day 1,200+ mile road trip is not vacation that is just how I want to live my life.

I had never been to Utah before because it was "so far away."  These were actually my own words.  When we were there a lady asked us where we were from and then said, "wow California, you sure are a long ways away from home."

Are we really?  NO!  We got on the road for that trip at 3am on Thursday morning, why?  Because I want to maximize my time not just in the day, but in my life.  If I waited to leave at around, say 7am, I would no doubt encounter traffic which will then in turn make my travel time much much slower.  By leaving at 3am I can be 98% certain that I will have zero traffic because I know the majority of people will not get up that early to travel or go to work.  And since there will be no traffic, I can make the drive much faster, AND when we got to St. George we had enough time to spend all day site seeing.  Had I left at 7am I would not have been able to see Zion in the same day.

I still drove the same 480 miles, but by choosing to give up a little sleep and get on the road a little earlier, you get a lot more back.  What would have been a 9 hour drive with traffic was about a 6 and 1/2 drive without.

Give it a try your next road trip.  We all have experienced "sleep," meaning we all know what it is like to sleep.  But have you ever tried getting up even earlier to go someplace you are excited to visit.  You may be a little "sleepy" as you travel, but I guarantee you will not be regretting the lost sleep when you arrive at your destination hours earlier with more time to play.

Play... that leads me to something else:

Another goal I have with the 1000 Challenge is to learn more about people, humanity as a whole.  In that quest, I have been to more parks, festivals, museums, and cultural gatherings than at any other time in my life. In fact I was at one yesterday, the Santa Barbara Beer Festival, and someone came up to me and said, "I see you at every festival."

I was at another park on Tuesday.  As I sat there I started watching some kids play.  For some reason, this particular group of kids really got me to thinking.  They were not on the play ground, they were just running around in the grass, playing.  They had come to the park to play.  To them, Parks = Play.  HMMMMM....

When does it happen in life where we as adults lose the association of Parks = Play?  When do we stop looking at parks as an opportunity of fun and play; and start looking at them as just places, as "just another park?"

As kids it does not matter if we are swinging on the swing set, sliding down the slide with our arms in the air, smiles on our face, or if it is just an open field; to kids parks are an un-ending possibility of fun and adventure - kids live to play.  Adults, what do we live for?  And why do we no longer live to play?

I know, I know, we grow up, responsibilities, bills to pay, families to feed, etc... Those are all important things and a very big part of life and what it means to become an "adult," but why can't we still play amidst all of that?  Why can't going to work still be an adventure.  Even if we do not like our job, why can't we like the opportunity we have to work?

Sure there are bills to pay, but there are ALWAYS going to be bills to pay, so lets accept that and move forward.  Why don't we?  Why do we instead insist on every time the phone bill comes we are "re-shocked" as if we have never seen it before.  We know it is coming, we know how much it is going to be, so why continue to give your precious energy to dwelling on it?  And here's the even bigger question:  If you continually find yourself dwelling on the phone bill and any other regular bills, what does that do for you?  Does it make the bills better?

I would wager, No.  So why not try changing it?  Why not re-direct that dwelling time into more play time?

I think I just answered one of my questions, why do we, as adults, stop playing?  The answer: because we choose to.  At some point in life we decide it is more important to try to impress someone than enjoy ourselves.  At some point in life we decide it is better to "act cool," than it is to just be our-self.  At some point in life we decide that we would rather stress and dwell over and over and over and over and over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again about the same things rather than just get over it and go back to playing.  If a kid throws sand in another kids eye, the recipient of the sand is upset about it for 5 minutes then forgets all about it and goes back to playing with whoever threw the sand.  If someone throws sand in our eyes we hate them and then create this story in our head's about how that person is the "worst person in the world."  We then take it a step further and blame that person for the traffic we encounter on the way to work, the fight we get into with our spouse.  That person becomes the reason why our mortgage payment is late and the reason why we didn't get enough sleep and are "sooo tired" today.

Why?  When you read the above it seems so over dramatic to the point of being silly doesn't it.  Do me a favor, spend some time in a park this week and just watch the kids play, you will learn a lot from them.

I have wanted to see a rattlesnake in the wild ever since I was around 4 years old and my Dad showed me this rattle from a rattlesnake.  I remember I used to go back and pick it up and shake it and imagine running into one and how cool it would be.

I wanted so badly to see one that I have spent time on almost every hike I have been on saying, out loud mind you, "here rattlesnake, here rattlesnake."  I then whistle for them as if I am calling a dog.  My friends at first hearing this thought I was on drugs.  After I explained to them the story they just thought I was nuts!

On Wednesday I saw my FIRST EVER RATTLESNAKE in the wild!  I was so excited.  I yelled out loud, "Holly S**T, A RATTLESNAKE, I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!!"

 I had always imagined myself being so scared at the first encounter, but I was actually quite the opposite.  When I saw it, it immediately began to slither away and I was so afraid I would not get a picture that I forgot all about being scared and instead focused all my energy on getting my camera out, FAST!  Needless to say I got my camera out and proceeded to have a 15 minute photo shoot with my new friend.  As I took picture after picture I began to hear the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin's voice in my head.  I recalled every safety tidbit he ever mentioned about rattlesnakes: their strike speed, how much space they can cover in a strike, etc...

All of this was important information and kept me at a safe distance during our photo shoot.  Once I began to hear Steve Irwin's voice, in his heavy Australian accent, saying "Look at this little ripper, get a stick."  I decided that since my khaki pants had been left at home and since I am no crocodile hunter, that it was time for me to leave before I did get a stick and got to close trying to get the snake to pose for more pictures.

I was so excited the rest of the day.  I told every person I talked to all about it.  They did not fully get why I was so excited to see the snake, but all of them loved hearing the story.

So why was I so excited?  Well for me, seeing a rattlesnake in the wild has been a dream since I was kid - a childhood dream.  And it is one of the few dreams I had when I was a kid that I never gave up on.  Finally realizing that dream 20+ years later... I can't tell you how cool that was.  And what was even cooler was I reacted like a kid would.  Pure excitement, uncontrollable joy, so much so that I had to share my story with everyone, including all of you.

The moral of these stories and this blog:  never give up on dreams.  Sure you can change them, modify them, evolve them, but never stop dreaming.  And WHEN you realize those dreams, celebrate them as if you were a kid.  Remember a kid lives to play, why should we adults be any different?  All we really are is grown up kids...

Enjoy the pictures,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse






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