In Pursuit of Awesome

In search of a not-so-normal life.

Month: July, 2013

The boy in the bubble.

Manchester has everything but a beach – Ian Brown

I love this quote. Manchester (Well Salford, but I’m being broad – I’m Salfordian, not Mancunian) is my home. I’m proud to be from there, it’s part of who I am. The music I listen to, the clothes I wear, the people I get along with; these are all influenced by where I’m from. Manchester is the city I compare all the other cities in the world I visit to. And as far as I’m concerned the bar has been set very high. It’s always hard to beat having a pint of beer and a steak sandwich and the Christmas markets whilst wearing a thick coat and gloves.  It’s also where a lot of my family are, and I’d be a very different person without them.

I also have a massive vendetta against this quote though. Manchester is awesome. You could swap it out for any city and the quote would apply to you personally. But, Manchester is not everything. Your city, suburb, street, workplace or community – is not everything. There is a world beyond your wildest imagination out there, and it’s all yours to be explored.

People are creatures of habit. For the most part, most of us are happy with homeostasis. We enjoy the same routine. The same seat on the sofa, the same treadmill at the gym, the same commute, that same shirt that makes you look dapper and the same places to go on holiday. We enjoy living in our own bubble and when something throws the day-in-day out off course, we get super-duper annoyed. I’ve been in the bubble; and it’s not a nice place.

Picture your life as a house. If you had the choice between living in a cupboard, or a mansion which would you choose? Unless you’re a contortionist I’m going to assume the mansion. Most of us though are closed in to a cupboard that’s dressed with a few holiday snaps, a couple of similar looking t-shirts and an original version of Monopoly that’s missing all the £1 notes.  A mansion however is a house filled with swimming pools, pictures of creeks in Thailand, random hats you’ve collected from sports games, a constant flow of friends from around the globe and a massive fridge full of foods you didn’t think were even edible.

Now, a mansion might not be for everyone. Some of you might just want a three bedroom semi-detached house with a dog and a fence. On the spectrum between cupboard and mansion, there are as many different houses you can think of filled with with whatever combination of things you can think of. Have a think, you might surprise yourself.

The cupboard is airless and stale; but coming out is easy. All you’ve got to do is push yourself a little. Do something that scares you (Unless that means holding a spider, we’re not going crazy here). Take an evening class, go back to playing your childhood sport – heck, even go to a new bar on a Friday night. There’s the bedroom the cupboard is in sorted already.

I’m not going to preach travel – even if I do find it the most scary and enjoyable thing in the world – because it’s not my place to tell you to up and leave your job and start exploring the world. But your comfort zone is what stands between you and living an awesome life. It’s the difference between being the boss or being the assistant. Being the person with a model or Quasimodo stood next to them at the alter. The guy with a story for everything, or the quiet guy in the background wearing double denim.

My comfort zone was killing me. I was losing sleep, energy, appetite and my personality. I was becoming depressed and angry. That’s why I broke the walls of it. Since I left my job and started out, I’m a whole new person. I’ve not quite got my mansion yet – there are still lots of things I need to figure out how to do – but I’m getting closer every day.

Now it’s your turn. look at yourself. Has your routine been the same for more than the past 3 months. Are you honestly really happy with where you are right now and not just comfortable? If you’re truly happy, well done, you’ve achieved what most of strive to find on a daily basis. If you’re just comfortable, then now’s your time to do something about it. Make one small change. Do it. Right now.

JJ

 

I’m just a big ‘fraidy cat.

Fear.

Fear is an interesting thing. It plays a part in 99.9% of the things we do. It’s the reason we make life choices, or we don’t. They affect how we grow personally, professionally and intimately. Whether we choose cream cheese or tuna on our Baked Potato. Whether we decide to talk to that girl (or guy). If blue shoes, or black shoes go with these pants. The list could go on, and on, and on, and on.

Before I start, everyone has one unifying fear; rejection. Everybody – to a certain extent – wants to be liked, fit in, look good and have a group of peers that we conform with. It’s a built in fear from being a baby when you’re worried about abandonment from your mother, and stays with us for the rest of our lives. The majority of us wants to fit in. Call it low self-esteem, insecurity or whatever you want, but it all sits under one umbrella in my opinion. Ironically it’s the one thing that connects us all.

With that said, I really like looking at myself. What I believe, why I believe it and how it affects my life – and if I should still believe it. I discovered that I have 4 real fears that affect me. Things that hold me back and prevent me from moving forward with certain things.

                                                                                    #1 – Spiders
#2 – Deep Water

                                                                                   #3 – Death
                                                                                   #4 – Living a 9-5 life

Numbers one and two are pretty self explanatory. That shit is just creepy. If you have more than 4 legs, or I can’t see the bottom of you, you’re weird and have no place in my life. It’s pretty much that simple.

Death though, death is a perpetual fear I’ve had for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown, maybe it’s because it’s one thing I have absolutely no control over. Unless, well, I suddenly decide to drive off a cliff or play cricket with grenades. As soon as I think of death all beliefs about religion, people and whatever is troubling me at the moment goes out of the window. Nothing matters anymore, because, well, my fate is signed, sealed and delivered regardless of what happens. It makes me view life for what it is. A short space of time we can either enjoy, or regret. The nice cars and t-shirts you have, they can’t come with you; but if they make you happy, have them in abundance. If you like to read, read until your eyes hurt. If you want to wear a pink t-shirt, jesters hat, a pair of cowboy boots and a belt buckle made of mahogany; fucking do it. At the end of the day, we all reside to the same fate. Nobody can tell you what to do between point A and point B. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone’s own personal life choices in the process. Hopefully, Death becomes less of a fear and a more of a motivator.

Number 4 is probably my greatest fear. It cripples me and saddens me to think of a 9-5 life. I would hate to think of it as an inevitability or a destiny. A 9-5 life to me looks like the following:

Getting up early
Getting in the car
Sitting in traffic
Getting to my desk
Sitting behind my desk for 4 hours
Have a lunch break, filled with idle chit chat from colleagues I have no interest in
Going back to my desk
Not leaving for another 4-6 hours
Getting back in my car
Sitting in traffic
Getting home – possibly via the supermarket
Eating dinner
Watching reality TV
Going to bed
Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

If you can look at that list and not be scared to the point where you feel your anus clench and your throat close a little, then you are a stronger person than I. Nothing about that routine makes me wants to live a life like that. None of it appeals to me, in the slightest. Okay, I admit that might be a very bias view of what a 9-5 life would look like. But, whilst I sit in here in my dirty soccer (yeah, I said soccer and I’m English) uniform on someones couch in Houston, Texas – After I’ve spent 6 hours coaching, with a trip to the driving range/swimming pool/mall/NASA/Baseball Game (delete as appropriate) between sessions, It couldn’t be further away from where I am and where I would want to be. If you ever find my set in a cube in an office block, I give you permission to beat me with a rubber mallet, because I have not been true to any version of the visions I have for my life. I can’t do it, and I’m going to do my utmost to make sure I don’t live it.

I think the whole point of this post has been this; Don’t take life too seriously and do your best to go in the direction you want to go in. How? Well, I’m still figuring that out myself. But I think if you can recognize what’s holding you back, then you’ve taken the first steps to getting there.

JJ

And so it begins…

Hiya,

Well, here I am. New blog, new topics and a whole new agenda. Before I set off on my American travels I was pestered a little bit to write a blog depicting my travels, thought’s and general mischief. Well, I decided balls to that. And I never blogged.

…Then I started writing in a journal. That was a bit silly. My desire to write came back, and well, here I am. I guess I was a little impressed with my own brain-vomit and decided it worthwhile to put font-to-screen. I guess I’ll have to see how it goes from here.

My new Agenda is that I have no agenda. If I write something, I’ll post it. You’ll read it. We might have a virtual cuddle and a cry. Maybe so emoticon chest bumps. Or you’ll not be interested and go on to a Hello Kitty blog and continue to waste braincells.

Lets see what happens,

JJ