“I’ll never do that”
I was 18, full of hope and arrogance about what my life was going to be like.
I knew how I liked to eat, exercise, play, use free time, listen to music, and be with friends.
And for many of those ideas, I was dead wrong. But a smile crosses my face as I write, because I’m thinking about how great life is right now. I had to learn to live a line from the Avett Brothers’ song Perfect Space.
Love me for the man I’ve become, not the man that I was
Every so often I think “18 year old Matt would never believe he would do ______ one day!”. Then I laugh. I still can’t believe some of it myself! I can see the disbelief in my eyes, the frustration in my voice, and the anger rising up in my gut. I’ll tell my younger self to let it all out and have a good yell at me. I’m ok with it, along with many other things. For instance…
1. I Cancelled Cable TV, During Football Season
I start here because I can’t imagine having done this even 2 years ago. I LOVE FOOTBALL. Seriously, love it. Especially college football. I will sit, happy as can be, watching guys much younger than me play a game, and get really excited or upset. I call up my friends and we will dissect the game plan afterwards. We live in the South, it’s kind of a big deal. Why cancel? It’s expensive, for starters, and I only really watched football. I still watch, but online or at friend’s homes, and it’s more communal.
2. In February 2012, I Ran 40 Miles, In 1 Day
When I lived in Florida, I hated to run distances. It was hot, the pavement sucks, and I’d rather be doing something, anything, whilst running! I grew up a football, baseball, soccer kind of guy. Then I moved to NC, started running on the trails, and read Born to Run. Now I have run 4 races of distances from 26-40 miles, and I’m planning my 1st road marathon in November.
3. I Wear Vibram Five Fingers
This would have been horrifying. I admit, they look ridiculous, but hey, they work for me. I enjoy the feeling of being barefoot, and I can remember running around barefoot a lot when I was growing up. If you want to know more about my particular experience with VFF, here’s a better post.
4. I’m a Vegetarian
I still think meat tastes good, but I’ve learned what does and does not serve me well when I eat. The simple truth is meat doesn’t make me feel very good. I can eat some, and honestly still do, maybe 2-3 times a month. When I’m eating mostly vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, I feel better. That’s good enough for me.
5. I Coached a Girl’s Lacrosse Team for 3 Years
This could be a whole other post. When I was 18 I had never played lacrosse (I started in college), and so to think I would be coaching any team, much less girls, was incomprehensible. But it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I learned so much about working with people, planning lessons, analyzing stats, and motivation. I was blessed to coach an incredible group of young women, and we had a blast.
6. I Started Doing Yoga… Bikram Yoga
When I was 18, I don’t think I could pronounce yoga properly, much less do it. But like everything on this list, I really enjoy the practice. It’s calming, centering, and I feel better afterwards. I never stretched much during my athletic career, didn’t think it was important. Now when I begin to tighten up and feel stressed, I know it will help to spend an hour working out the kinks. Bikram (hot) yoga is another beast, with 26 particular movements in a gym where the temp is 104 degrees. Sweaty indeed. If you are curious about it, check out this video (my tattoo is shown at the 38 second mark).
7. I Wake Up at 6:00 am
And not because work begins at 6:30 am! I was never the guy who woke early to get ready for the day and read/write/workout. I woke up roughly 30 minutes before I had to be somewhere. Now I need to wake up at least 1 hour before I need to be somewhere, and lately it’s been 2 hours. As I’m writing more, the early morning is the best time to do that. I also like to pray, read, and maybe go for a run. When I wake up and rush out the door, it throws my whole day off.
8. I’m Giving A Lot of Stuff Away
“Your possessions do not define you” is what I would tell myself. I have never had tons of stuff, but I’m realizing how much I do have, and how much less I need to be happy. What I did think of 10 years ago was the cool stuff I wanted to eventually have, whether cars, clothes, toys, etc. I can still want those things, especially outdoor gear, but it’s happening less frequently. With all the stuff I had, I began giving a lot of it away. That was tough, because I wanted to sell it in order to feel like I had earned something back, or justified the initial purchase. I had to let that go as well, and admit I had made a mistake, the learn from it.
9. I’m Not a Dad (yet)
I wouldn’t have thought I would be 28 and not have a kid yet. I’m totally fine with the fact, but I wouldn’t have expected it. My parents, grandparents, and many aunts and uncles had their first child by 28, so I just had an expectation it would have happened by now. It’s definitely in our plans, but can’t say when it will happen (sorry to our moms who are reading this).
10. I’m Willing to Say No to Good Things
This was tough, and something I’m still working through. I want to make people happy, and enjoy spending time with friends and family. I enjoy running, watching a movie, and playing the guitar. Lately though I have realized you have to choose between even the good things in life. This is part of the motivation behind Life, Prioritized. I need to be disciplined and focused enough to be able to say no to good things, so I can spend my time doing the great things.
The point is, don’t become wrapped up in what you think will last forever, or say “I’ll never do ______”.
It’s simply not true.
What are things in your life that you could not have imagined doing 10 years ago, even 2-3 years ago? I love hearing about how people’s lives have changed in contrast to what they believed was important in the past. Please share your stories in the comments!
Everything I Know
I write about developing your best self, regularly delivered on Friday