I love life. I am extraordinarily happy day to day. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessings I have received.I am a life enthusiast.
What is a life enthusiast? Never heard of it before? Probably not, since I completely made it up. When people ask me in passing, “how are you?” the answer to that question is always amazing, terrific, spectacular. I am fairly certain that it annoys or confounds most people, but I am also certain it piques the interest of some and inspires a few others.
I am a life enthusiast simply because I want to experience the full depth and breadth of what life has to offer so I make the most of the precious time I am given. I want to connect with people, to laugh, to enjoy a light-hearted moment of silliness and to help people find that enthusiasm for their own lives.
Be happier. Sounds easy right? Fuck no. If you just decided to become happier, you will likely have glimmers of success but be knocked back down by one of life’s little face punches. You need to begin at the beginning and it all starts with willingness. Becoming a life enthusiast is not for the faint of heart. It is for someone that refuses to carry the weight of negativity for a second longer because they know what the cost is.
Easy for me to say: I am already a life enthusiast. Did you think I was just going to leave you hanging with no plan?
- Cultivate positivity. Be a farmer whose life depends on a harvest. Someone on the internet once quoted, “what you focus on grows.” I have scientifically proven this to be true. When I go out into the world I focus on connecting with people and sharing small moments of positivity: a smile, a laugh, a moment of patience or help. I feel like a Care Bear shining rainbows of love out into the world and people don’t even know what hit them! I may be on an RCMP watchlist.
- Practice gratitude. Sure you have heard this before. You have seen the Facebook challenges, but have you actually done it? ‘Thank you’ is one of the most powerful statements in the world. State three things you are grateful for each time you head toward the darkness. It works friends, trust me.
- Stop watching the news. That’s a quick win. Trust me, you will find out from someone else if Justin Trudeau is shirtless in Tofino again, which is obviously worth your attention, but you won’t become utterly horrified by the sad state of the American election or what ISIS is doing. You do not need that kind of baggage and energetically speaking, it is the opposite of positivity.
- Go 24 hours without complaining. Go ahead. I dare you. Don’t just put a piece of duct tape over your mouth either. Witness the inclination to bitch and see if you can stop yourself. It is pretty incredible what 24 hours of no complaining does, but if you are open to it, you may learn a thing or two about the habits that we all have when we communicate. And you don’t get to beat yourself up about how many times you have to stop yourself in 24 hours, you just get to be curious and have fun with it. If all else fails, the duct tape is still an option.
- Get real with yourself. Are you holding onto negativity because it is easier than letting it go? I have had to learn that fear is a motherfucker and it wears a hundred different disguises: worry, ego, anxiety, sadness, resistance, frustration….the list is endless. The worst part about fear is that it is usually the compass pointing you in the direction you need to go. When you face it gently you can begin to release it and you will begin to experience greater ease. It is like turning on the hose of life enthusiasm when you can begin to witness and release your fear.
- Take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup (another amazing internet quote). Becoming a life enthusiast will take effort and attention, but it is so worth it! Tuning into what you need to feel good and energized is vital to this experience so take some time to care for yourself. No time? Wake up 15, 20, 30 minutes earlier. I did and it is the ass-crack of the morning and my self-care looks like hot coffee and clicky-clacking on the keyboard.
- Ask for help. This is not some overnight change. There is so much to being a life enthusiast. I know, because I have done the work to become one. It is not easy, but when you start to see the world and yourself from a different lens you begin to build resilience. Bad shit still happens, but you bounce back faster and better, taking the lesson and moving forward.
I was at the pool the other day and I walked up to scan my card and as I did, I asked the lovely girl at the counter: “hi, how are you today?” and she responded in a very honest way with little energy in her voice: “I’m ok.” I wanted to ask her, what it would take to turn that ‘ok’ into ‘great’, ‘fantastic’, ‘AMAZING.’ When you get to the end of your life and someone asks you how your 86 years on the planet were, do you want your response to be: “it was ok?” You want to say that you laughed, you danced, you failed, you tried again, you succeeded, you celebrated, that you wrung every ounce of life out of the time that you were given. You were a life enthusiast.
I want to hear from you in the comments! Have you tried any of these techniques? Do you want to join the army of life enthusiasts?