Why not?

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Call to action, Creative Inspiration
Tags: , , , , ,

“The only thing that’s everything: Is nothing.”

Tony Horton, fitness guru for beachbody (you know, those people with the infomercials on at two in the morning), said that to a group of us last night – who had all been willing to go all the way out to the Melville Marriott at seven in the evening to (God knows why), endure one of his grueling workouts – as we finished up with an hour long session. The message he’d wished to convey is, more or less, on par with the overreaching message of this blog – and I thought I’d pass that little gem on along to you fine people.

“Don’t let life get in the way of life.”

Even now as I read that, I see it’s more than a bit befuddling…Let me clarify.

Much like some of the topics we went over in the inaugural Chicken Soup post, which had to do with the insidious pratfalls of day to day life in our technologically deluged existence, this quote eludes to the notion that all too often life – and the living of it – can get in the way of life – and how you want to live it. Special care should be taken on that last part… how you want to live it. Ask yourself:

“How do I want to live my life?”

Pretty simple right? Seems obvious enough. It’s funny how the things that resonate most true within the human heart, are often the most simple to grasp, though also often the most difficult to elucidate on.

In either case, as it turns out, my father (unbeknownst to me) had been speaking to his brother & sister in law (for those of you out there who know calculus: my Aunt and Uncle) when they mentioned to him that they were going on over to Melville for this event on Tuesday, and, thankfully, had suggested that they call the lovely Sarah Ann and myself to proffer an invite. We graciously accepted; as both of us are P90X graduates – and quite the fit couple thank you – and find Tony motivating (despite having watched the same videos dozens of times), inspiring (he’s nearly 50-freaking-2 with washboard abs that make bubble paper look undefined), and entertaining as heck on video (even with his lame jokes 🙂 ), let alone in real life we figured right?


So, taking the “Why not” approach to life, we jumped on a train at Woodside, and headed on out to see them in Baldwin. My Uncle Paul, comically enough, got so wrapped up in a conversation with us on the way to their house about the Marx Brothers (Tony, if you’re out there reading this, Groucho can’t be credited with the “There ain’t no such thing as a Sanity Clause’ joke… alas it was Chico) that… he forgot to pick up his daughter from work, so he dropped us off at the house, sped down the street to pick up the wayward child, and we found ourselves with some time alone to chat with my lovely Aunt Maria.

Aunt Maria has a beautiful candor to her that can’t be explained away with feeble words on a page, but she’s an incredible person, and every time we get together the conversation quickly turns to the nitty gritty topics of life, in this case life itself.

“Jared” she said, “I never stopped to think about it. I had the girls,” she has 3 girls; all trouble 😉 “I had my personal training, and I always just figured that if something was meant to be in my life, that it would just come. But here I am, I’m 25 (the ages in this story may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent), and there’s still so much I want to do with life…”

How many of us have lived through this story? Life, it would seem, has lived us… not the other way around.

“So Paulie and I sat down the other day, and wrote all our goals out on a piece of paper, just to visualize it you know? And Jared, I’m telling you, it makes a world of difference.”

And it does. How can any of us ever feel satisfied with life, if we never take the time, really take the time, to stop and think about what we want? How do you want to live your life? Aunt Maria was fortunate. At the ripe young age of 25 she came to the bracing reality that life – at least as it’s lived by a human (if there are any hydras out there reading this, you’re eternal, and have plenty of time to do whatever you want, so hush) – is shockingly short.

We only get 100 years

At best. If we’re one of the unfortunate ones: far, far less… What do we want to do with life? Inspire? Provoke? Push the limits? Test our boundaries? Or merely; wake up, go to work, go home, watch some TV, wash-rinse-and-repeat?

Decide: it’s the first step.

If you’ve read this post so far: you’re ready. Decide. One of the group? Or the one that the group might label an outcast? Deranged they’ll call you. Insane. So what? To each his own. When you live an actualized life, you learn to let it slide. Set aside perception from reality. The group might seem like everything, but remember – the only thing that’s everything: is nothing – and once you decide, there’s no going back, or you’ll ruin it all…

Don’t write the story of your life in pencil

Some of you might have heard the stories; perhaps it was an uncle, or a father, a grandfather perchance – someone of significance who’d fallen out of grace –they all say the same things. “Stay in line” they’ll tell you, “don’t take risks – the nail that sticks out above the floor is the first to be hammered down”.

What? Why? Who says? When did staying in line and doing just the same as everybody else, ever get anyone anyplace other than where everybody else is? In other words: if you do the same things as everyone else all the time, how can you be expected to be seen as anything else, other than a lemming?

I don’t mean to downplay the common worker – me being the epitome of a starving artist – but let’s be realistic, how secure can we be when someone has the power to say two magical words, and *Poof* everything we hold near-and-dear disappears in an instant? Do you think our bosses, the very people running our operations, stayed in line? Do you suppose (even if the bastards inherited the businesses that they run), that they would be the type who just kept their heads down, and did as they were told?


Not even a little bit. I would choose – 1,000 times out of a 1,000 – to be a starving artist trying to break the mold and shake up the place, over being someone who never fought for what they believed in.

I say: don’t write the story of your life in pencil, because, obviously, pencils have erasers, and if you double back on a life changing decision it will – undoubtedly – come back to bite you in the backside. Gather your options, write out your desires, choose your path on the fork in the road, and never look back.

Money is paper

There I said it. I know it’s scary, we all need money, but that’s all it is, paper… I would still like some – you know… that silly rent thing, but still – it’s paper! It can’t help to fill that void in you heart and mind, like grabbing life by the reigns and trying something new will.

This is why people who win the lotto are so often unsatisfied… they have a lump of paper – yay. Who did they help? What lives did they enrich? What change did they make? None. They’re trying to pay off their consciousness with the improper currency. To throw money at a problem that’s intellectual in nature is akin to firing bullets at a ghost, and if the Ghostbusters have taught me anything (who you gonna call), and they have, it’s that bullets don’t hurt spirits – you need a proton pack – and don’t cross the streams whatever you do: or else!

Creative people, today I would ask you to set your goals to paper. It will solidify your subconscious, and make you plan ahead. If you skip only your least liked half hour TV show once each evening, you could finish a book every month with your newfound free time (maybe mine – go pick up Welcome to the Future 🙂 ). Now that may not seem like a lot, but at least it’s a start.

At the end of the day, Tony Horton kicked our flabby backsides into shape, and taught me a lesson in the process. All because we took the why not approach to life. He said something else that evening, and it too belongs in this post,

“Always open new doors, so long as there is no real physical risk to you.”

And there you have it good people: Why not? Now go open those doors!


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