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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Change... 11/16 - 11/23 Days 320 - 327

I don't even know where to begin... the holidays are here and the year is rapidly winding down, where has the time gone?!?!  I know I have started so many of the blogs with a sentence on time as of late, but I mean it more on this one.  It has really been setting in as of late that the year will be over before we know it.  With the end of the year will come the end of the 1000 Challenge, I have been thinking a lot about what's next, but before I get to that, a few quick updates:

Sunrise/Sunset Challenge, even as I am writing this sunrises are coming in from all over the world: Africa, Asia, and USA all just contributed pictures.  Keep asking your friends and your friends, friends, we have 40 days to fill up as much of the globe as possible.  For an updated list, click here: Sunrise/Sunset Challenge

I know I had mentioned awhile back about doing a meetup for my birthday, but as of right now I am going to put that plan on hold.  I have some ongoing medical issues that need to be resolved.  I am going to take the time as soon as the 1000 Challenge is over to do so.  I hope to reschedule this sometime in the very near future.

I am trying to think of something cool/significant/meaningful to do as my 1000th Challenge.  I have a couple ideas, but would love to hear suggestions from all of you.  Please pass them on.

What's next for me????

I cannot say it enough how much the 1000 Challenge has changed my life.  It has taught how I want to live my life for the rest of my life, as well as proven many theories and beliefs I have held really are true and really do work when applied!  :)

The last two or three weeks I have been on an emotional roller coaster  of sorts.  I can feel something changing inside of me, and I know it is a good change, but as you all know, change, at times, can be a little challenging.  Let me try to explain...

I have always had my "opinions," but I have never done much with them aside from sharing them with friends and complaining about things that bothered me.  Lately instead of just complaining I am doing more and more about it.  I have called the police once or twice in the last month on truants.  On Veteran's Day, I was so upset about the poor turnout of people to support the Veteran's at the parade in their honor that I first started crying, then I got upset.  I raced home and wrote this letter: Jesse's Veteran's Day Letter which I sent out to the local newspapers.  The link takes you to the paper that printed it in the opinion section.

I could not believe how fired up I was over the parade.  And it does not just stop at the parade, there are countless other situations as well where I have been noticing differences in myself....

Going Out... in the summer 2008 my friend and I were known as "those guys" in one of the bars here in Santa Barbara.  We were out nearly every night, we were always drinking, we loved having a good time.  Everyone knew who we were, it was an amazingly fun time in my life.

I have always enjoyed going out and I definitely enjoy a good party.  Lately though I have been becoming more of a recluse from the public scene, especially those that involve drinking and socializing in more "scene places".  Why, I have zero clue.  I do have a theory though.

I have been working on making more time to spend with friends and when I do have that time I no longer want to spend it in crowded social places.  It distracts from the intimacy and bonding that I really desire to share with my friend. What I once craved as a social backdrop because of what it provided me: fun, alcohol, girls, popularity... I now find myself shunning.
There have even been a few times were I was having minor anxiety at the idea of even going to these places.  Where that comes from, I have no idea...

Las Vegas was a place I grew up dreaming about going to.  I loved gambling and wanted to see the city and the lights.  When I was finally old enough to go and really partake in what the city is known for, it quickly became one of my favorite places to go as it provided me with more of the above, but in extremes - alcohol, parties, girls, girls, and more girls.  I have been to Las Vegas three times this year.  Twice was as a stop over to cut down the drive on the way home from races in Sedona Arizona, and St. George Utah.  Each time I have noticed myself enjoying it a little less.  I was curious to see how I would feel about it spending an entire weekend there like I did this last weekend.

I felt a sense of bitter sweetness in Las Vegas.  The lure of nightclubs no longer dazzled me like it once did.  Instead, as we hopped from club to club on our party bus, I became almost resentful as the clubs were robbing me, I felt, of what I was really craving most, which was just the time with my friends.

I enjoyed being on Fremont street the second night much more as we were able to walk and talk and really hang out.  I can't really describe it.  One of my friends said jokingly, "Maybe your just growing up?"  But it is not that, it is something more.  I am growing, but in a different way, something inside of me is changing.

When I was in New York one of my friends asked me about going out saying, "Why don't you want to go out as much anymore?  You used to want to go out all the time."

To which I replied, "I have gone out.  I know exactly where in life going out gets me, and that's not where I want to be.  I have had a ton of fun with it, but right now it is not my focus."

HAHAHA I have to laugh, as I was typing that last sentence I think I just answered all my questions and ramblings from above.  There is something inside me that is shifting.  I am re-prioritizing whats important.  I feel like my leadership skills are strengthening and that I am in this huge state of evolving for what's next in life.  And, I THINK, that the reason for feeling so different with Las Vegas and the other stuff is that there is a part of me that is fearful of it.  Fearful that if I fall back into my old behavior that I will hold myself back from progressing and moving forward on the path I am on!!!!!

Imagine that!  I spend so much time talking about the importance of facing fears and a new fear has crept up inside of me!  Those pesky fears sure can be sneaky!!

How funny  is that... even though I know I will not as I have gone out numerous times this year and I still enjoy grabbing beers with friends.  Even with that knowing, fear can still pop up and affect me in such a way, hmmm, this has been an insightful blog for me.  :)

Having conversations like this with ourselves are crucial... the most important people that we can be honest with is ourselves.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse









Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Once Upon a Time... 11/9 -11/15 Days 313 - 319

Down to less than six weeks left in the year :( I felt my first twinge of sadness about the year being so near to an end the other day.  I found myself wondering what would life be like after the 1000 Challenge. 

In addition to that, there has also been some concerns as of late questioning myself and the 1000 Challenge.  As I have said to you all repeatedly over the year: I believe in the 1000 Challenge with all my heart.  It has changed my life in more ways than I can count.  I will do anything to keep the 1000 Challenge as it is: a vehicle to positively impact and thus, change our lives.  And if doing so means divulging more of myself, then I will happily do so.  The 1000 Challenge, what it means to me, and what I hope it has come to mean to so many of you; means that much to  me!

To really appreciate the magnitude of impact this year has had on me, I need to give you some more back ground on the beginning, but first...

A few updates:

The 11-11-11 full moon photo shoot was amazing!  I had so much fun watching all of your photos come in from all over the world.  I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.  I know many of you were disappointed that you did not have the clearest of skies for your shots.  One of the main reasons I have done "Trash Day," "Sunrise/Sunset Day," and now "Full Moon Day," is because they are just small examples of how each and everyone of us can do something big - FOR FREE.  Not to shabby considering we all get to be part of an event that involves six continents and over 30 countries participating.  It does not cost us any money to take those pictures. The only thing we spend is our time, which I would hope most of you have viewed your time as an investment during these projects... an investment you have gotten a much higher rate of return on than what you put into it.  

To see the Full Moon photo album click here: 11-11-11 Full Moon Pictures

The ongoing sunrise/sunset challenge has been really picking up steam this past week.  A few of you have been really stepping up and getting your friends from around the world involved by having them take and send pictures to you.  I cannot thank you enough for this.  It has been amazing seeing some pictures come in from some remote places in the world.  Also an extra big thanks for everyone taking the time to check the list before you post a picture.  I cannot tell you how much time it saves me when you take the extra minute to check the list and properly label the picture.  Thank you thank you thank you! :)

To see the updated list, click here:  Sunrise/Sunset List

Lastly, I hope you all can join me tomorrow night (Wednesday November 16th), 7pm PST for a Ustream Chat.  I really enjoy doing these with you all.  I hope everyone has as much fun with them as I do.  To join the Ustream Chat at 7pm PST tomorrow, click here: Ustream Chat

Once Upon a Time...

I have not always been the 1000 Challenge Guy.  In fact there was a time where my life was the exact opposite.

I grew up without a lot of money.  My parents rented a very small house that was covered in mold, with walls so rotten that mice and rats would gnaw their way inside them and I would fall asleep at night listening them scurrying back and fourth inside the walls, worried they would get out and jump on my head.

My parents both loved me very much, I have never questioned this and I know they did the best they could by me.  My Mom always went the extra mile to make birthdays and holidays as special as she could - trying to amend for the birthdays and holidays she did not get to have as a kid.  The rest of the year the topic of money, and the lack of it, seemed to always be at the forefront of conversation.  

When I was about 5 or 6 years old my Mom told me for the first time that her and my Dad might get a divorce.  They never did, the reason, my Mom always said, was for the benefit of my brother and I.  She did not want us to have to grow up in a single parent household.  This filled me with guilt, knowing my Mom was choosing unhappiness for my sake.

What I saw my Mom and Dad argue about more than anything was money.  First it was my Dad not making enough, then when he finally did start making money, he spent unwisely and left little for anything else. The reasons for this are not relevant here.  What is relevant is that seeing my Mom sad, seeing my Dad hiding in his room, seeing neither one of them seeming to really like the other one, it made me sad.  Listening to my Mom talking about having to borrow money from her Mom so she could buy food it took it's toll on me.  I felt guilty.

When I was younger I used to love running up the street to take the rent to Bob and Virginia our landlords.  As I got older, I began to dread the walks and became more and more shamed that my brother and I were the ones that had to deliver the late check.  What once was a excited run had turned to a walk of shame.  

By the time I was around 9 or 10 years old I "tried" to kill myself for the first time.  I use the word "tried" with quotations marks because it was a pretty weak attempt.  I had gone down to the woods below our house with a large hunting knife.  I took the knife out and pressed it to my heart "trying" to pierce the skin.  I began sobbing because I was so scared I could not bring myself to push hard enough to do much damage, I barely drew blood.  

The reason for this drastic action was that by this age, I had become good enough at math to be fairly proficient at addition.  I had figured out, in my little child mind, that if I was not around, it would save my Mom and Dad so much money.  If they had that extra money, then they would be happy.  That is basic child logic right there.  A clear cause and effect.. there is not an in-between - we wait until we are adults to add that in.  All I wanted to do was to see my Mom happy, to see her live one day in her life where money did not dictate how i felt she felt.

My first two years of High School I was super shy.  So much so that the first week of my Freshmen year I broke our in hives from anxiety about going to High School.  I was terrified I was going to get picked on, terrified about getting "canned." 

My Freshmen class had approximately 368 students in it.  I think about 208 of us graduated.  To say I came from not the most academically ambitious area would be an understatement.  Upon the time of graduation I had made it a point to work at my social skills so I could spend some of my final years not being shy.

That did not do much good when I started college.  I had little to no social skills.  I had absolutely "ZERO" game when it came to talking to girls.  I was shy and awkward when it came to meeting people.  When it came to meeting girls... I was beyond pathetic.  The common response was for me to turn bright red in the face and break out in a full sweat.  I was not happy.

I had dabbled in exercise throughout my life.  I have always loved it, but never made the commitment to it.  I finally made the lifetime commitment to exercise April of my Freshmen year in college.  I had hit a low point in my young college life and knew I needed to make a change otherwise my opportunity to live in Santa Barbara was going to be gone.  At the time when I committed to exercise I was 19years old, 6ft. 3in. tall and weight about 165lbs.  Today I am 6ft 3in tall and weigh about 223lbs.  Exercise changed, maybe even saved my life.

Alcohol became a great social friend in my late teens and throughout college.  It took the edge off, helped me meet people, helped me talk to girls, helped me gain confidence.  I never felt I had a problem with alcohol nor have I ever been worried about it.  Even today I still love the social effects brought on by a few drinks.  I love being with people, watching them let go, be silly, and enjoy the giggles that are shared.

After college I fell in love for the first time.  She was an amazing person and the perfect first love for me.  I also started working in my career.  And I worked and I worked and I worked.  You see I was determined not to create the same hardships my parents had.  It seemed like money was always their problem and the cause of so much unhappiness so I vowed I would work harder than anyone else to make sure money never was an issue between my girlfriend and I.  
 
In fact all I wanted to do is work.   I was obsessed with it.  I took zero time for myself and left little time for us to really build on a relationship.  In the nearly three years we were together we left town together maybe 3-4 times (these were overnight weekend trips).  The rest of the time I was working and the one day I took off I wanted to do laundry and practice bowling because I thought that was what was most important.  This was also a time period in my life where I would stress constantly about what time I went to bed and would go to sleep telling myself that, "If I don't fall asleep by 10pm I won't get 8hours of sleep and I will wake up so tired."

Does not sound like a lot of fun right?  Naturally the relationship ended which at the time was the most devastating thing to ever happen to me.  It changed my life, but only because I made the choice to change it.

I overhauled my life at this time.  I started to look at all the things that weren't working and knew I needed to make some serious changes. Among the many I made was leaving the company I worked for and starting to work for myself.

I also started to look at all the areas that were lacking in life... the areas I was not getting fulfilled.  Things like not traveling, not socializing, were just some of the areas of my life that were seriously neglected.

The next few years were dedicated to learning.  When I was not working, I was learning.  I would read, and continue to read today, a ton of books... anything I could get my hands on.  I learned to love to learn... an important skill that had been long lost.  Much of what happened from then on has already been shared with you all, but you can read it here again if you would like: The Story of the 1000 Challenge

My story is not unique.  In fact I am sure there are quite a few of you that could relate to it, or at least parts of it.  There are also quite a few of you that I am sure had much more challenging events in life.  No matter what the case may be, my point in sharing my story with you is:

I am where I am today because of the choices I have made in life.  I make more money than some, but less than some too. More importantly, I am happy, by far the happiest I have ever been with me.  I love where I live, I love my work, I love the opportunities that I have created for myself, I genuinely love my life - because I have created a life to love.  

Sure, nothing and no one is perfect.  I make mistakes everyday, but those mistakes which I once looked at as failures, I now look at as my best learning opportunities.  

Life WILL ALWAYS HAPPEN.  WE ALL WILL GO THROUGH CHALLENGING TIMES!!! No one is exempt from this.  Everything that "happens" to us presents us with an opportunity - one we can either learn from, grow from and thus improve our life.  Or, one we can hold onto, resent, and use as an excuse to justify the place we are in in life and make it the reason why we are unhappy.  

Something that I have learned in life.  Happiness is not just something that one day happens - it is a thing, someTHING we have to work at.  And it is a lifetime of work to be happy.  It means a lifetime of dedication to make choices, re-evaluating, forgiving, changing your perspective, and so much more.

When I have been faced with challenges, adversity in the past, I have not always tried to learn from situation.  Trust me I have struggled getting to where I am at today, but let me tell you - the struggle is worth it.  I used to resent, blame, cry out to the heavens "Why is this HAPPENING TO ME?!?!"  Nothing happened "to me," it just happened, plain and simple.  I then created whatever story I needed to to UN-empower myself, to make myself as poor and helpless as possible.  The event happened, I attached the meaning to it.

I want to close with this:  I read this great book during my homeless challenge, "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor Frankl.  This is one of those books that every human being should read, I mean this EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!!!!  The book is an autobiographical account of Frankl's time spent in concentration camps during WWII as a prisoner and what he learned about survival and essentially the meaning of life.  Anyways one point that really stood out to me was the following, 

When referring to why people gave up and quit on life in the Death Camps: "Such people forgot that often it is just such an exceptionally difficult external situation which gives man the opportunity to grow spiritually (referring to our inner spirit) beyond himself.  Instead of taking the camp's difficulties as a test of their inner strength, they did not take their life seriously and despised it as something of no consequence.  They preferred to close their eyes and to live in the past.  Life for such people became meaningless."

By ignoring the opportunity that was in front of them, by choosing to wallow in their circumstance, by choosing to be a victim, Their lives became meaningless...  Only we can figure out what is truly meaningful to our individual lives.  

If you are reading this and find yourself struggling in life, I highly encourage you to sit down with a pen and paper and figure out what is meaningful to you and then seek out ways to add more meaningfulness to your life.

If you are reading this in a happy place, never stop, always keep adding meaning to your life... it's what keeps us going, it's the work that goes into happiness.  

As I have said before, I am no different than any of you.  My thoughts, my feelings, my beliefs, my convictions I have today are there because I have worked at them, because I have wanted happiness in my life and was willing to put in the work to get there.  

Happiness can not be bought, it cannot be won, it cannot be given, it can only be earned and it is available to be earned by each and everyone of us - I promise you all this.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse








Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Achieving Dreams 11/1 - 11/8 Days 305 - 312

As of this writing there are 53 days left in the year... 53 days, that's about 7.5 weeks - wow!  Talk about time flying.  It really is amazing for me to think about the concept of the year rapidly winding down.  I find myself thinking about the beginning of January writing my first blogs and sending out into cyber space to be read by - who knows?!  

I feel like myself, many of you, and hopefully many many more, have grown in so many ways from those first few days in January.  It has been a real pleasure reading emails, blog and facebook comments from so many of you and watching how your responses have changed over the year.  You guys are doing great work at living life - I am proud of you all and thank you for being such a constant source of inspiration.

Updates:

11/11/2011 is right around the corner!  I hope you guys are as excited about the full moon project as I am.  We have cloudy skies and a chance of rain in the forecast for that day.  To combat that I have been doing my "good weather dance."  Regardless, I will be out there taking a picture of whatever the Universe decides to show me - remember it is not about the actual picture, but the process of doing something different, of changing your day to day routine.  For more info on the Full Moon project check it out here and please please invite your friends.  11/11/2011 at 11:11pm full moon photo shoot

Sunrise/Sunset continues to impress me with some of the amazing shots you guys are sending in.  An extra big thank you to all of you who are getting your friends involved.  And an even bigger thank you to everyone who is taking the time to check the list before posting.  Thank you all for taking the extra minute to label the pictures so well.  I cannot tell you how much time it saves me.  Please keep checking the list and labeling your pics before you send them in: Sunrise/Sunset

As I sat down to write today's blog entry, I had no idea what I was going to write about, which is often the case.  I sat here reviewing what has happened in my life since the last time I chatted with your all.  I thought about the experiences I have had, the people I have met, the conversations I have had, and one thing stood out more prominently than anything else...

I went to New York this past weekend.  The purpose of the trip was to support one of my best friends who participated in her first marathon.

Naturally I was excited to have the opportunity to visit New York, especially this trip as I got to see both the Statue of Liberty (something I have wanted to see since Ghostbusters 2 came out in the late 80's) and the newly opened 911 Memorial, which is moving beyond words.

Of course I got a little giddy when I discovered that Sleepy Hollow, aka, the place where the "Headless Horsemen" story is set, is a real town.  Not only is it a real town, but it is located just outside of Manhattan.  At the prospect of going there I was like a kid in a candy store... this became an absolute must, and boy did it not disappoint. 

1000 Challenge stuff aside, what I was more excited about was to be a part of my friend's race experience because, as is the case with so many other things in life, there is always more meaning beneath the surface than what the actual goal is.

My friend is the silent type in the sense that she is not one to boast about her goals and things she has done or wants to accomplish.  She instead quietly pursues the things in life which bring her fulfillment.  In the years I have known her, I have watched her not just grow, but blossom into the person she is today, and I am sure she would say the same about me.

A marathon is a big deal as I am sure those of you who have run one can attest to.  Hell it is a big one to even consider, as I can sure those of you who have thought about it can attest to.

For a very select few of us taking on a challenging goal like running a marathon is just that - a challenge, nothing more, nothing less.  For the rest of us, myself included, a major goal like a marathon is symbolic of much much more, crossing the finish line is just the icing on the cake.

The reason more people do not do marathons is because to do one it takes a lot of hard work, and did I mention, the race and the work leading up to it is HARD!  Training for a marathon scares off many people because there is no short cut, no quick fix, no way to start at mile one and teleport yourself to mile 25 only to cruise in the last mile.  It does not work that way. 

So many of us want the quick fix.  We talk about our hopes, our dreams, our goals, but that is it... we leave them as the subject of conversation because we all want to go from point "A" to point "Z" as quickly as possible, meaning we would love to achieve more, but only if we can skip the work, points "B" through "Y."

This "B" though "Y" part of the goal achieving process is the most challenging, the most important, and also what impressed me so much about my friend completing her marathon.

You see, the "B" through "Y" of any goal is often much more than just the goal. In training for a marathon the B-Y is the getting up early to do the long runs, the arranging your weekends to get the double digit mile/kilometer runs in so as to stay on track.  To accomplish the B-Y portion of a goal we are constantly in this tug of war: What am I gaining and what am I giving up to get what I want?!?!  It's a tough balance to find, and sadly many people never get to the point where they can see the long term gains as they get stuck and focus only on the short term sacrifices.

I was privileged enough to be a part of some of my friend's B-Y part of her life.  Both in training for the marathon and in life in general.  And in both cases she was willing to put in the work, make the necessary adjustments and sacrifices in her life to move forward and accomplish what she was after and reap the long term rewards.

After the race she told her friend that she had been making an extra effort to post and talk about the marathon with friends because most of her friends had never seen her as being someone athletic.  Now she is running a marathon!

The cool thing with accomplishing goals is you create a ripple effect.  Others watch your efforts and see what you are doing and start to ask themselves that all important question: "If he/she can do it, what am I capable of?  Could I possibly do this??"  The answer - YES, of COURSE!!  As long as you are willing to put in the work to do it.


The thing is if you don't take that first step and decide on what your goal/dream is then how can it ever come true?  And beyond that, if you are not wiling to commit to the work that goes into it, and when I say commit, I mean 110%, commit with all your heart commit!  Giving 96% here just will not cut it.  These are YOUR DREAMS we are talking about here, if you want them to come true, you have to be willing to make them come true.  Most of us are not going to win the lottery we have to earn our dreams.

The greatest thing about accomplishing goals, about achieving dreams is that once you achieve one, you realize that all the others are possible, as long as you are willing to work.

It has been such a privilege for me to watch my friend on her life path the last several years.  She has encountered the same bumps in the road as you, me, and everyone else does.  What has been inspiring is that  when she hits those bumps, she does not turn and run from them.  She does not give up and turn her back on all the progress she has made.  No, not at all; instead she continues to move forward, continues to pursue her dreams, continues to work on not being denied the life of her choosing.

The same is possible for all of us, I would not say so unless I did not believe it with all my heart, with110% confidence.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse








Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Taking on Time 10/25 - 10/31 Days 298 - 304

A few quick updates before I get to the blog.  I hope everyone is planing on participating in the full moon project on 11-11-2011 at 11:11pm.  If you do not know what this is check out the link here: 11-11-2011 Full Moon Project :) and please invite your friends!  Lets get the entire world involved! :)

On the subject of the entire world getting involved.  Sunrise/Sunset challenge is going amazing.  Got lots of cool pictures from Asia this week including a few from the Middle East.  An extra big thank you to all of you who are getting your friends involved.  And an even bigger thank you to everyone who is taking the time to check the list before posting and who is labeling the pictures so well.  I cannot tell you how much time it saves me, which is strangely the topic of this blog :)  Check out sunrise/sunset here and be sure to look at all the albums on the 1000 Challenge page.  Sunrise/Sunset List

Last week there was a petition going around to try and get the 1 Year 1000 Challenge on the Ellen DeGeneres show - I cannot tell you all how much it means to me that so many of you think so highly of the 1000 Challenge that you would take the time to try and get it on Ellen.  Thank You!  I have an interview coming out in one of the local papers sometime this week, which I will post online as soon as it is available.  All your support and your dedication to changing your own live's inspires me and gives me energy every day - thank you so much everyone.

On to the blog...

Typing the title in I just realized that we have moved into the 300's for number of days that have passed so far this year... YIKES!!

I remember starting the 1000 Challenge typing in the numbers 1, 5, 15, and so on... 300 seemed so far away and yet here we are.  My does time fly...  In fact I had a brief conversation with someone at the gym this morning about time:  It moves so fast when you are engaged in the process of living life and it seems to crawl when you are in a "funk" and struggling to make it through the days.

I have been having quite a few conversations the last few weeks with different people about the 1000 Challenge.  Common questions are: "What's next," "What are you going to do when it is over," "Are you going to miss it," and the big one, "How has this changed you?"

Saturday I was driving down to Orange County which is about 165miles south from Santa Barbara.  Without traffic it is around a 2.5 hour drive to the part I was going.  With traffic it is a crap shoot.  It took me nearly 3 hours to get to the 405/101 interchange, one of the busiest freeway interchange's in the entire world.  Without traffic I can make it there in about 1 hour 15 minutes.  I looked at my handy Google Maps map and it showed that I had nothing but traffic ahead of me for the next 70 miles which means I had probably about another 4 hours of driving ahead of me.  I hate traffic!

I typically do not use the word "Hate" that often, but traffic is one of those times I use it.  I get frustrated every time I find myself sitting in traffic as I feel it is such a waste of my life.  I get squirmy, I get upset, I get agitated because I am going absolutely nowhere.  Not only that, but I know how long the trip "could" take and how long it is taking.  I hate when the "is" and the "could" do not match up.  So to pass the time I think of things like: If I were to sit in traffic for 1 hour every day for the next 60 years, that would mean over the next 60 years I would spend 21,900 hours in traffic.  That equals over 912 days which equals approximately 2.5 years of my life!!!  TWO AND A HALF YEARS OF MY LIFE SPENT STARING AT THE BACK OF SOMEONES BRAKE-LIGHTS AND LICENSE PLATE.... NO THANK YOU!!!!  I DO NOT HAVE THE TIME FOR THAT!!!

After I got myself worked up into a nice little tizzy about my rapidly fading life, I calmly excited the freeway, turned around, and began heading back toward Santa Barbara.  In the past, I would have begrudgingly continued to plod along until I made it to my destination.  All the while resenting the drive and the reason going.  Turning around provided such a different experience.  I had zero traffic going North, I was able to stop at a historical park and take some pictures of ducks; and I made it to a friends house to watch the sunset on the beach - ahhh a much happier way to end the day.

Yesterday, Sunday, I went to watch this silent movie, Nosferatu, a silent film made in 1921 and one of the oldest horror movies.  What was really cool about this experience was that the venue the film was shown at had an organ so that the film could be watched to the accompaniment of live music.  Sounds really cool right? And it was, but ...

I rarely watch movies, and I never watch TV.  It's hard for me to sit still and I am in this space right now where I am so stoked about living, that the last thing I want to do is take a break from my reality and watch someone else's reality, fact or fiction.  I really dislike TV as even a background noise when friends are around as I feel it provides a distraction to the conversation and laughs that could be had.  However, it was Halloween weekend, and this was a pretty cool opportunity to see a historically significant film the way it would have been seen nearly 100 years ago.  1000 Challenge is about new experiences right, doing things I normally wouldn't do at times... so to the movie I went.

I sat through a 20 minute "Laurel and Hardey" silent that was also accompanied by the Organ music.  By the time Nosferatu started, I was already starting to squirm in my chair.  As the movie went on I became more and more impatient.  My excitement rapidly began to fade.  The "coolness" of the organ quickly became an annoyance with what seemed like the same music over and over again.  I thought it would be dramatic and add suspense, but instead, at least it seemed to me, to just make the movie corny.  

In the past, like in traffic, normally I would suck it up and see something I started to the end, never wanting to be a "quitter."  As I sat there, forcing myself to watch this movie that I was clearly not into, I started thinking about this picture my friend had sent me at the beginning of the year (see below).  And how the picture was so powerful as it signified time and just how little of it we have in this life.  Then I started thinking about all the questions people have been asking me, especially the "How has this changed you," question.

I have learned to value my time in a way I have never valued it before.  I have also learned that I love the way I am living my life.  Pack as much in, in as little time as possible.  Find fun where it used to elude me, stop sweating the small stuff, and soak up every moment, go, go, go, GOGOGOGOGO and then rest when needed.  I really love it as I feel I am not squandering any precious seconds of life away.  

Placing a higher value on my time, does not mean I waste what precious time I have on avoidable things like traffic and movies that I do not like.  No longer will I just suck it up and stick with it because I do not want to "quit."  "C'mon Jesse, how stupid is that.  If you stay through the movie, if you sit in the traffic, yea, you may see it through, but you are quitting on the free time you could have."

With those thoughts, I calmly stood up and rapidly walked out of the theater.  And just as I did with the traffic the night before, I immediately felt a sense of relief, a sense of freedom, like I was back in the driver's seat of my life.  No longer did any external forces have control of it as they did in the traffic and movie situations.

While these are small examples, and some of you may be thinking, "Come on now Challenge Boy, it is JUST a movie, and Everyone has to sit in traffic from time to time."  Yes you are all right, but for me when I have the power to exercise choices in certain situations, when my well being, my happiness is enhanced by choosing option 2 rather than sticking with option 1, from now on I am choosing option 2.  

I do not want to spend years of my life sitting in traffic when I do not have to.  I do not want to spend my life sitting through movies that do not excite me.  Who cares if I payed for it, what is the value of my time lost?  How much is that hour worth that I can NEVER get back????

There are many things I have learned this year from the 1000 Challenge.  Nothing is more precious than our time.  We only have a limited amount of it and every second we spend sitting around complaining, moaning, and groaning about our life; is one second that we will never get back.  Every minute we spend sitting around, wasting because we choose sadness instead of happiness is one minute we will never get to live again.  

Now I know things happen in life where we will experience sadness, low energy, etc.. that is part of being a human and that is also part of living.  There is a difference between the sadness that comes from morning a loss like a death or an ended relationship, vs. the sadness of sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself.  

Experiencing loss and the emotions that come with it... that is living.  Avoiding it, that is not.  

The clock is ticking.  The year that once seemed like it was going to go on forever for me is rapidly winding down.  Time is not slowing down for us.  I do not want to live my life "playing catch up," or sitting around moaning and groaning about the time I have lost.  Nope, been there, done that, have zero desire to ever do it again.  

Time is moving guys.  You can either move with it, or spend your life chasing after it, it is your choice.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, TIC TOC

Enjoy the pictures,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse








Jesse