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Stop waiting, start living. Now!

Posted on April 20 2015

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I picked up a present for myself the other day. A book by Pulitzer Prize Winner Anna Quindlen titled “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.” It was simple, affecting and it had one quiet but very powerful message – “You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life.” You might want to start living that life.

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My Grandfather was a wealthy, self-made business man. He worked incredibly hard and amassed a fortune. He died without enjoying any of it. I hear stories about the great man that he was all the time. What stays with me is that he was a great man who never lived.

“No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

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How do you show up in life? Are you just going through the motions while slowly destroying your soul? “People don’t talk about the soul anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit.” Anna Quindlen. 

You get to work in the morning, you sit at your desk for 9 or more hours. Sometimes, you break for an hour. Most times, your eyes are glued to your screen as you mindlessly chew on leftovers from the night before. You get home and sit in front of the television. You mumble a few words to your significant other in between watching the game or checking more work emails. You go to sleep, get up and do the same thing over again. 

While you were going through the motions, you missed the twinkle in your child’s eye as she tried to tell you about her day. You missed the opportunity to get to know the person standing in line with you at your local coffee shop. You were too busy scrolling through your phone.

Here’s another scenario a lot of people are familiar with. You get up, you check your email. You eat breakfast, you check your email. You get to work, you check your email. You leave work, you check your email. You get to the gym, you check your email. You fall asleep as you check your email. 

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” Lily Tomlin

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The fact that nearly half of Americans didn’t take a vacation in 2014 is sad. Actually, it’s tragic. What exactly are we waiting for? “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon

By the time my (Nigerian born) mother was 30, she had lived in Sweden, Germany, Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S., just to name a few. She’s now over 60 and has been adding an average of 3 countries to her passport per year over the past few years. There are so many people to meet, so many experiences to have and so many amazing places to see. What are we waiting for?

“Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work.” Anna Quindlen

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I spent the last two weeks traveling through Spain. I made no plans about what exactly I would be doing when I got there. For those who know me well, this might come as a shock since I am a planner when it comes to everything including travel. This time however, my only plan was to show up. I would show up no matter what. I would show up for the simple moments, the complicated moments and the adventures. I would definitely show up for the adventures. I laughed and ate my way through Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. I met so many incredible people along the way. They had such interesting stories and were so excited to hear about mine. What I did for a living hardly ever came up. Who I was, always did. 

I showed up and in turn, life showed up for me. 

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