One evening while I was moving around the furniture in my room, I had “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” playing in the background. After having an hour of the pointless drama and continuous bleeping out of words, I had to watch some insightful – slightly pretentious – Ted Talks to regain the brain cells I lost. After a couple of them, I came across one that was called “What really matters at the end of life” by BJ Miller (the link to the video is down below). I was sort of listening to as I shuffled around furniture in my closet of a room; then, I soon became so enriched by the authenticity of the speaker’s voice that I had to sit and fully engage to what he was saying. The fairly long video had many convicting points about the relationship between life and death; however, I was captivated his last statement that “if we love such moments [alive] ferociously, then maybe we can learn to live well — not in spite of death, but because of it.” He continued in saying that while most people fear death, we should actually “let death be what take us, not a lack of imagination.”
So, how can I make sure that I do not die in mind before body? How can I live because of death? Thus, the 30 days of Life Challenge was born. It is nothing drastic or completely life altering, but rather just a few simple things in fill the empty spaces of time we have in traffic, waiting in an elevator, or laying in bed that will hopefully allow you to see how amazing the quality of life is.
Drive with your windows down
We all drive. We all sit in traffic. We all race from one event to the next. And while we marvel at the thought of teleportation, we would loose an aspect of driving/walking: the sounds, the smells, the people. For the next 30 days while you are sitting in your car, eliminate the barrier between yourself and the rest of the world. When is the last time you just rolled down the windows, pulled your hair back, and turned up the music so loud you can feel it? Before you say, “Allie, but I drive around [insert place you think is gross/dirty]” or “But I have to go to [certain place where you think it would be inappropriate to show you are enjoying yourself]”, this act is not one of rebellion or of attention, if you don’t make it one. There is something incredible about having the wind blow past your face as a good song resonates in your ears. So, unless its raining extremely hard, have the windows down and music up every time you get in your car.
- Tip: I would recommend bring a brush because your hair will definitely show you windows were down.
Notice mundane things
After being in the world for many years, we become accustomed to things around us and that familiarity then turns to indifference. How many times have you seen a tree or calculator? For this part, have a sheet of paper where you take notice to something banal and study it intently for a minute. Act like there is a blind person who has never encountered this object before and you have to tell them the main points about this object, but try to do more than its function and shape. What does it feel like in your hand? What memories are tied to this thing? You can write a couple sentences or go all out and write a short novel (I’m kidding don’t do that). Reintroduce yourself to the surrounding world. Become a child, again, and see the world through more innocent eyes.
Focus on others
For many of us, insecurity is on our mind and is something that is hard to get over. Dwelling on my successes and my shortcomings make my day … worse. So, everyday compliment one stranger and one person you know; however, do not, I repeat DO NOT, just hand out a compliment like how you share germs, randomly and unintentionally. Instead, find something in someone that you notice is mesmerizing, unique, or just flat out cool. The whole point of this part of the challenge is to shift your focus off of yourself and onto someone else.
So, there it is. There is the 30 days of Life Challenge. If you want to keep a record of how your emotions change over the 30 days – go right ahead! I’ve heard of people drawing a symbol/write how their day was on their phone calendar. Just do whatever you want. This is your 30 days to hopefully change your outlook on your life. Have fun and be happy!
See ya later