I want to experience an awakening every single day. I want to appreciate the smell of flowers and coffee. I want to force myself to engage daily in the healthy habits that I know make my life brighter and more peaceful: meditating, writing, remembering I might die tomorrow, feeling gratitude.Read More
This book is my dream, my passion, my life’s work, and will hopefully be a major source of your inspiration to live like you might die tomorrow every single day.
It’s part life story, part real talk about death and dying, and part a collection of lessons on how to live living like you might die tomorrow. Sign up now to be notified first for pre-order.Read More
The current state of my life — mostly alone, sometimes forgotten about, with family members vehemently opposed to my chosen lifestyle, a sick dog, adjusting to stationary life, light on cash, job seeking and with no idea what I’ll do next — is exactly what I was looking for in travel. It’s a real life, in your face, lesson-producing struggle. And I’m so grateful for it.Read More
We didn’t know at the time that our relationship was doomed. It wasn’t like we had gotten the dog as a last-ditch effort to save our marriage like some do with a child. We just both connected over this shared empathy and affinity for pit bulls and knew we had to get one.Read More
I went to Nepal largely inspired by the spirit of my late adventure role model, Dan Fredinburg. Dan was a fellow Googler who exuded warmth and joy and attempted to climb Everest, twice. On his second adventure, he passed away at Base Camp in the 2015 earthquake. I didn't know Dan very well - we had only spoken a couple of times - but I was always inspired by his adventure badassery. I also had a crush on him. I think everyone did.Read More
She and her husband both accompanied me to the train station and we were mostly quiet as we snaked around the mountain. The mist was thick and the drizzle matched the way we felt, I think: a little sad to say goodbye.Read More
Recently a friend and I were sitting at a cafe when someone walked by, apparently talking to himself. I looked over to her with wide eyes and high brows like, “Yikes.” She said, without a hint of sarcasm, “Let’s assume he’s got a bluetooth in his other ear.” That struck me; I realized it’s a really powerful thing to give people the benefit of the doubt.Read More
One day, I cleaned up the kitchen a bit before rushing into work for a regular day. For some reason, I decided to come home an hour early. As I stepped onto my porch, I peered through the glass door and smiled at my dog, Pajamas, sleeping on the couch. I swung open the door, so happy to see her - and was immediately enveloped in the putrid smell of natural gas. Pajamas raised her little head (okay, she’s a pittie, so it’s kind of a big head) from the couch and gazed at me as if in a stupor. I ran over, heart pounding, and grabbed her by her pink collar and dragged her outside into the fresh air. I began frantically waving my hands in front of her snout between hugs and apologies for almost murdering her. Oxygen! Oxygen! It probably looked a bit like I was prostrate and bowing repeatedly to her, Queen Pajamas of Austin. Part “I’m so sorry!” and part “I’m really not worthy/capable to care for an animal!” Once I felt fairly certain she wasn’t dead or about to die, I went inside to open windows, turn on fans and figure out what the hell happened. Ah - I had tweaked the knob on the stove so that for more than seven hours, natural gas was pouring out of the stove with no flame. I had locked my dog in a veritable gas chamber all day long.
That night, after the gas had dissipated into the evening air and I tried to win back my dog’s affections with steak and tennis balls, I thought about what might have happened had I not decided to come home early. I allowed myself to feel how I might feel if Pajamas had died. The guilt was there, of course, but it was mostly sadness and yearning for my best friend. My attempted murder of Pajamas reinforced, for me, how much I love her and appreciate her. Death has a way of doing this, showing us our true feelings. It also has a way of reminding us what’s important in our lives. So sometimes, like last week when I left work to go shopping, halfway down the road I took a screeching right and skipped the mall to take Pajamas to the dog park instead. Because if she was going to die tomorrow, I’d want her last day to be a steak and tennis balls kind of day.
I’m just so fucking happy to be alive.
I’m happy for it all. I’m happy to hear the sounds of the traffic outside my window. I’m happy to eat the dinner I made myself. I’m happy to have beautiful people in my life. I’m happy to send them cards and maybe brighten their day just a little bit. I’m happy to hug my dog and feel her incredible energy. I’m happy to meet new people in ordinary places. I’m happy to fall in love with half of the people I meet. I’m happy to work in a job in which people are passionate about what they do. I’m happy to feel the energy of people I know and meet. I’m happy to have a little bit of struggle. I’m happy to have endured some struggle so far, and everyday, and still feel grateful to feel things and happy to be in this life.
I made a decision recently to quit my job and leave everything that I know. I made this decision knowing people would think I’m crazy and tell me it’s a bad idea. But I’m grateful to be powerful enough in my own life to say “Fuck all y’all, I don’t care. I know this is what’s best for me.”
I am so happy today because I experienced a difficult time in my life. I didn’t survive cancer, and I wasn’t destitute or hungry. My life wasn’t in danger. But even the small, insignificant period of sadness and hopelessness in my life was enough to provide perspective. In order to feel this incredible feeling of happiness and gratitude, all I had to go through was losing several friends and loved ones and the depression of losing a marriage to a person I loved. That’s it. It felt really hard. I felt depressed, I gained weight, and retreated within myself to a place of pain.
But today, to feel how I feel today...it was nothing. The pain was worth it. I feel so strong, so capable, so ready to take on the world.
In some ways I feel bad. I feel that I’m a person of strength, of confidence, of common sense. If anyone could survive tragic death and divorce, I could. But even so, as a result of that pain and sadness, the power I feel today made it all worth it. Could I have seen that in the moment of hopelessness? No. I didn’t feel it, and I certainly didn’t know it was around the corner.
But life goes on. If one possesses the strength to persevere, there is an incredible gift on the other side.
I do understand that this happiness that I feel now is transient. I may not always feel this happy, this powerful, this connected. But I do feel that I appreciate it. I appreciate it in a way that I never could had I not experienced the pain.
It's unusually cool out this morning; I can feel the air seeping through the cracks of my old windows as I lie in bed. Moments later, as I step through my front door with my spotted dog on the end of her leash, the cool air envelopes me. I smile, and I am happy to be alive.