When was the last time you did something you didn’t think you could do?
I used to refer to myself as the most un-athletic person I knew. I never did any sports in school, was never a part of any teams, had absolutely no hand-eye coordination or athletic ability. But running a marathon was one of those things that I’d had on my bucket list for a while. I’d never been a runner, and as much as I tried, I never could manage to stick to a regular jogging routine. But I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I just wanted to know if I could do it.
So a little over five years ago, having never even run a 5k, I bit the bullet and signed up for the Portland Marathon. I did everything you weren’t supposed to do. I gave myself a little over three months to work my way up from 0 to about 13 miles, and I was so afraid of failing that I didn’t even tell anyone I was attempting it. When the day of the marathon came, I felt scared and unprepared and out of place. I really didn’t know whether I would be physically able to finish.
But you know what? I did. And that experience has played a huge role in shaping the person I am now. I will never forget that day as long as I live.
Sometimes, in order to grow, you need to push yourself past your comfort zone and challenge yourself beyond what you think you can do.
I’m a big believer in pushing and challenging myself. It’s so easy to go through life just sort of doing business as usual, taking things as they come. And don’t get me wrong, I’m also a firm believer in going with the flow, not over-thinking things, and simply figuring things out as I go. But if you don’t take the time to figure out exactly what you want from life, what’s most important to you and what you really truly want to invest your time into, then it’s just too easy to become passive about life. It gets so easy to let life slowly slip by without truly chasing down what it is you want most. It gets really easy to postpone and procrastinate and put off the very things that will bring you closer to achieving your dreams and your goals.
Our lives today are full of so many distractions, so many things to do, and so many possibilities open to us. That’s not in itself a bad thing, but it does mean that it makes it easier than ever to find ourselves doing something that doesn’t necessarily move us any closer to whatever it is that we want most in life – our passion projects and our life goals.
There comes a time when you need to step back and evaluate what you’ve done, what you want out of life, and what you have yet to do. Look at the way you’re living your life right at this moment – how you spend your free time, what you’re doing for a living, what goals you’re actively working on. Are you happy? Are you fulfilled? Do you feel alive? Can you see yourself continuing to live your life this way for the next five or even ten years? If the answer is no, then what do you need to change in order to be able to say yes?
Do it now. Start making those changes today. Don’t put off your dreams until later. Don’t let yourself become passive about life.
I spent a lot of time in the past few months writing my manifesto – putting into words what I believe in and how I’d like to live my life. Then I resurrected my bucket list and took even more time to figure out the experiences that I really want to have in life, the things I’d like to do, the places I’d like to see, and the challenges I’d like to take on. I started to see the overlap between my manifesto and my bucket list. And somewhere along the way I got this really crazy idea. And Project Delici8 was born.
Project Delici8 is an eight-year quest to truly live my manifesto. I’ve pulled out what I believe are the eight core values in my manifesto, and I’m making a commitment to immerse myself in each of them for an entire year. And, as if that’s not enough, I’m going to attempt to check off all the things on my bucket list along the way.
This is a huge challenge – one that’s also comprised of many small challenges. It’s not going to be easy, and I don’t actually know if I can do it. But that’s kind of the point.
My manifesto is like a road map and my bucket list is the itinerary. Neither a map or an itinerary are any good to you if you’re never going to actually take the trip. So this project is the actual journey.
I don’t have it all planned out and I want to keep it that way. I’m going to try to let each year unfold as organically as possible. Like any good road trip, I’m going to let myself take detours and side roads. I’m going to allow myself to stop and enjoy the beautiful things I pass along the way.
And this blog? It’s my journal and my photo album. It’s how I keep myself accountable and how I hold myself to the commitments I’ve made. It’s how I keep track of where I’ve been and where I have yet to go. It’s how I share my journey with others, and maybe, just maybe, inspire someone else along the way.
Year 1 – The year of FOOD: Eat good food. Learn to cook and cook for others.
Year 2 – The year of FITNESS: Move more. Learn to love your body and what it does for you every day. Take care of it.
Year 3 – The year of CREATIVITY: Create something every day. Never stop learning.
Year 4 – The year of SIMPLICITY: Breathe deeply. Simplify your life. Let go of anything that does not bring you joy. Value experiences over stuff. Do more of what makes you happy. When in doubt, dance it out.
Year 5 – The year of FACING YOUR FEARS: Be fearless. Take risks. Make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Year 6 – The year of CONNECTION: Connect with others. Treat absolutely everyone with respect, no matter what your differences. Give as many hugs as possible. Appreciate your friends and be good to your family.
Year 7 – The year of GIVING BACK: Love relentlessly. Practice random acts of kindness. Cultivate gratitude. Be kind. Believe that you are capable and worthy of love.
Year 8 – The year of LIVING FURIOUSLY: Live furiously. Travel often. Say “yes” more than you say “no.” Live with intent. Never stop chasing your dreams.
Every single year, all the damn time: WANDER. ADVENTURE. EXPLORE. DELICIATE IN LIFE.
Wanna follow along? Check out the main Project Delici8 page to see just how much progress I’ve made!