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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Life I Might of Had ... 10/16 - 10/24 Days 289 - 297

Hello Hello Hello... and welcome.  I hope you enjoy whatever words find their way onto this blog.  I am still trying to think of them, so while I do, I am going to stall for a minute and remind you of a few reminders! :)

Ustream Chat This THURSDAY October 27th, 7:30pm PST.  As always I appreciate everyone who makes an effort to join in and I really appreciate those of you who stay up past your bedtimes, or get up extra early to participate.  It means a lot.  I really do enjoy spending that hour with you all.

The Sunrise/Sunset album is continuing to build.  We are getting more amazing pictures from around the world nearly every day.  As a reminder, please make sure you check the list to see if it is a region we do not have before you post your photo.  Also please label it: Date, sunrise or sunset, where in the world it is (please include the country and if it is a state, province etc... as is listed on the master list).  Remember it is just me doing it on my end so the more detailed you are the less work for me which I really REALLY appreciate.

And my apologies for delay's on shirt orders.  I have been a little slower than normal, but am working diligently to make myself more efficient :)

I am constantly watching people.  I like what I can learn in my day to day observations of humanity.  As I watch, I often find myself wondering: "What is their life like?"  "Are they happy?"  "Do they want more out of life?" "Are they settling for less than they are capable of?"  "If they are not happy, why?  Is it because of money, relationship, health... any of the above, all of the above?"  The list goes on and on and on - I have a busy brain that wonders lots of things.

As I watch people I often reflect on my own life -

This weekend I took a road trip about 250 miles north to Santa Cruz, California.  Why Santa Cruz... well, I have never been, I love the movie "Lost Boys" which was filmed there, I wanted to go, and more significantly, I am at this point in my life where I am spending a lot of time reflecting.  I have been asking myself questions like "What would my life be like if I never came to Santa Barbara?"

Once upon a time I was not the Jesse Brisendine you all know now.  I used to be the shy-est, most insecure, most self-conscious person you ever met. This is no exaggeration, let me give you some examples:

In High School, the first week of my Freshmen year I broke out in hives I was so nervous about starting high school.  I heard horror stories about Freshmen getting picked on and "canned."  I felt I surely would be the victim of such attacks.

I used to wake up every day and spend my time in front of the mirror telling myself "I am so ugly," and "I am such a loser."  In fact I was so worried that people would see how ugly I was that I used to spend, no exaggeration, upwards of 30 minutes every morning picking my nose.  I was so terrified of having boogers because I felt if I did, it would be one more thing that would enhance my "ugliness" and people would see it and they would hate me because of it.

In college I can remember sitting in Psychology class my Freshmen year and a girl tapping me on the shoulder asking if I knew when a test was, I was so shy that I turned bright, BRIGHT red and broke out into a cold sweat trying to answer this girls question.  I could go on and on with more examples and where this all originates from, but that is another blog.  I just wanted to provide you with some background info.

When it came time to go to college I knew that if I was going to have a chance at life, I needed to get out of my hometown.  I did not like it there and I always felt like I never fit in.  I have family that lives in southern California so I was familiar with it growing up as a kid.  Santa Barbara was where I wanted to go as I would have the closest proximity to them while still being near to my beloved Ocean.

I applied to the Universities of California at Santa Cruz, Davis, and Santa Barbara.  Davis because I had a couple of close friends there, Santa Cruz as a backup, and Santa Barbara because, well it is Santa Barbara.

When acceptance letters came out, they were mailed out over about a 6 week (if I remember correctly) period of time.  I got my acceptance to Santa Cruz on about the first day.  I received my rejection letter from Davis at about the 3 week mark.  At 5 weeks I still had not heard from Santa Barbara.  Two other girls, who had been accepted, had already received their's weeks earlier.  I was resolved to going to Santa Cruz.  I still held out hope for a miracle that Santa Barbara would come through, but that hope was fading.

At 18 years old I did not have anything resembling the positive attitude, or the wisdom, and belief's that I share with you all now through the 1000 Challenge.  It was quite the contrary... I was negative, insecure, sad, and anything but sure of myself.

With a heavy heart I resolved to go to Santa Cruz -- justifying it to myself that I would be closer to home so I could visit more often, even though the last thing I wanted to do was go back to my home town.  On the last day of the 6 weeks, I received an acceptance packet in the mail from University of California Santa Barbara.  I accepted that day.

I was curious to see Santa Cruz as I wondered what it was like and thus I wondered what my life would have been like had I gone there instead of SB.  As I walked, drove, and explored around Santa Cruz I took in as much as I could; the culture, the people, the beach scene, the weather, and of course the campus.

As a tourist, I loved Santa Cruz.  The weather was amazing when I was there.  The town is easy to get around and felt like I knew my way around by departure time Sunday morning.  The Coast line is spectacular and had an extra beautiful shimmer to it due to the warm sunshine shining down on it.  And of course the Redwood trees.  Nothing reminds me of home more than the Giant Redwood Trees.

These beautiful ancient trees can be found only in a very few places in the world, one of the largest concentrations of them is in the area where I grew up.  As a kid I never appreciated how majestic they are as I now do as an adult.  These trees were everywhere including the campus of UC Santa Cruz.

I drove through the campus and as I looked around tried to imagine myself walking through the campus there as opposed to Santa Barbara.  I wondered if that shy, insecure kid, would have been as terrified in Santa Cruz as he was in Santa Barbara.  I wondered where I would be in my life had I gone to Santa Cruz - had that acceptance letter never come.  Would I be doing the same work I am doing now?  Would I of had the same life experiences?  Would I be doing the 1000 Challenge?

The answer I finally settled on is, "probably not."  Beyond the answer though is an even more important point I want to make - I am at a place where I really love my life.  Sure I do not have everything figured out - I still have the same "issues" as everyone else: relationships, work, health, bills to pay etc... What I have figured out though is a more empowering way as to how I approach these issues, for example - I have about $20,000 in debt a lot by some standards, small by others.  I used to be the guy that stressed over the money all the time, it does not do any good, trust me I have tried it.  What does help is to do your best to pay what you can and focus on LIFE, not debt, not bills, those things are not life, they are just things, part of the process.  It will not go away stressing about it, I have tried that too. :)

You see, my life today is a direct product of choosing Santa Barbara over Santa Cruz and I am thankful for the life I have and the opportunities I have to live it as best I can.

The reason for all the above, for my nostalgic trip down memory lane, for my Santa Cruz vs. Santa Barbara analysis is this: me, you, every single one of us are exactly where we are supposed to be at this point in our lives.  Why?  I cannot answer that, only you can answer it for yourself.  What I can tell you though is that every decision you have made, every experience you have had has lead you to this moment right now.

Think about it:  Many of you who read my blogs and follow the 1000 Challenge do so because you want to be inspired, you want to make changes in your life.  Well, you would not be here reading this at this moment wanting to make changes, had everything in your life not happened.  You see all your experiences, all your ups and downs, all of them have put you here reading this right now.  Some of you want to make changes in your lives, some of you want to take your lives to the next level, some of you enjoy looking at the pictures, some of you just enjoy my bad jokes (that was a joke!).

I had an amazing time in Santa Cruz and left it smiling at it's beauty, excited for when the day comes that I might return there for another visit, and grateful that I chose Santa Barbara.  Even more than that, as I was driving home last night, I could not help but be grateful for all the life experiences I have had, all the ups and the down, all the good's and the bad's for they have all prepared me for this exact moment at this exact time in my life.

And the experiences I will have the rest of today and tomorrow and the next day, will all prepare me for all the moments to come.

The cool thing about all of that is the majority of the moments... I get to choose how I will live them.  I get to choose my attitude, I get to choose my perspective I look at things with, I get to choose the effort I will put forth in any endeavor, I get to choose if I am going to smile or frown, I get to choose to laugh or not to laugh, I get to choose to hang out with people who enhance my life or to hang out with people who don't.  I have a zillion choices that I can make moment to moment that can either enhance my life or not.

The same goes for you.

Enjoy the pictures,

Carpe Diem,



  1. Another great reflective post Jesse, thank you for sharing your insights and is my husband and I's 23rd wedding anniversary and I can certainly attest to choices made over years and where they lead. We have tested (not by choice most often) every vow there is and lived through them, some good, some bad. We hope to have another 23, hopefully a little wiser than we were the last, but who knows. Every day is a new day, a new set of choices. Carpe Diem! Lisa

  2. I enjoyed reading this as I too have decided to take the fear of "what if" to "why not!" You'll never get an answer to what if...if you don't say why not! I am willing to live with what others may see as mistakes but to me as long as I'm happy they can go f*themselves! life goes one & this is my life!

  3. that was on not one! lol

  4. Wow...thats all I can really say at this point and time,unfortunately I dont have the time to put it out as eloquently as usu,lol,(gotta rush home)I decided to check out your blog real quick before logging off-FB- and bot am I glad I did...I've always wondered if you were ALWAYS as positive as you are and now I know,coz I was like,this guy's amazing ALWAYS so positive and motivational,but you made the conscious decision to be like that and THAT is sth we can ALL do! I feel so blessed to have read today's blog and to know of you Jesse and for the value you add not only to your family and friends but also to us...and for motivating and inspiring us to do the same in turn...#feelingBLESSED and God bless YOU too :)

  5. Oh and THANK you for sharing your story/background too,really helped me A LOT...not to mention,humanizes you too'Captain America' ;)

  6. Amazing! I liked your comments.. Very strong! Yah, I am in this horrible moment--many things are not going well right now.. I do feel like a loser and not pretty like yourself in the

    I used to live in California for 4 years but my ass got dragged baccck to Buffalo.. I hate the weather here.. I still miss CA!! :( I do hope to live in Hawaii one day.. Santa Barbara is soo beautiful!!! I lived in Irvine and Huntington Beach..

    I am Deaf and yeah I have gone through tough obstacle but that won't stop me just because I cant hear.. I still love to hear the beats in music..

    I will TRY and kick my ass and do something like you are doing those 1000 challanges in one year.. I wonder how and where will I start?!?!? I have been in blahhh 'whatever' attitude moods lately.. Sigh

    Anyway--Enough of those crap negative thoughts, it does not do me any good..

    Thanks for sharing all of your cool photos! God Bless You! :)