15 in '15: How I lived 15 years in 2015
At the heart of the Art of Really Living is the goal of expanding "experiential time." Our mission is teach people how to slow, stop and reverse the perceived acceleration of time and live summers longer than those we experienced when we were kids. But… does it really work?
It does. I can easily say that 2015 was the longest year of my life, that the summer felt far longer than those I remember from childhood, and when I add it all up, January of 2015 feels like it was approximately 15 years ago given the breadth and depth of experiences I had and the number of "event horizon" moments of really living. 2015 was filled with a host of new friends, new relationships, new experiences, epiphanies and moments of euphoric joy.
2015 was also filled with fear, anxiety, doubt, the end of some significant relationships and moments of desperate sadness, failure and fear. Never in my life have I had such and incredible breadth and depth of experiences and never have I had my resiliency as a human being tested to my limits. Not even training for the Olympics pushed me as hard as the events of this year. One new tool I used to help manage the emotional pendulum was the daily practice of mindfulness starting July 8th after I left my job.
Over the coming days I'll be sharing How to Live 16 in '16: Top 5 tips for expanding time through Really Living but for now I'll share a list of my top "event horizon" moments of really living in 2015 and a couple of the stories behind them. What meaningful memories of "Really Living" did you create or experience in 2015?
A Poor July:
I did my first paid speech January 28th of 2014 thanks to my client and friend Nicole Lorey at Transamerica. After my first speech, 3 of the attendees hired me, and then 3 more etc. By the end of the year, 20 keynotes later, and with a second well-received TEDx talk under my belt, I realized I could potentially go out on my own. So I gave 6 months notice to ramp up the new business and ramp down on the consulting, and on July 8th, 2015 I became an entrepreneur. For the first time since entering the working world I no longer had a paycheck. But, I had 3 paying keynotes planned for July... until all three canceled.
The feeling was one of vertigo - like the floor had dropped out below me and doubts began to flood my brain. "I can't really do this..." "I'm not good enough." "No one is really going to hire me." "It is never going to work." But we kept at it, adding a "pay half up front" clause to our contracts and we have slowly built a following and a strong pipeline.
Universal Studios in the Rain:
I've written before that my daughter and I don't do a lot of talking - we do a lot of doing. I know she hears me talk about the Art of Really Living to others, but it is not something we generally talk about together. That said, she is a creative advisor occasionally on the production of the manifesto video.
In August I was fortunate to have a client fly Katelina and I to Orlando for a speech and provide us passes to the theme parks. We flew out of Midway on Southwest arriving to the airport 90 minutes early (early for me!) and were dismayed to be stuck in a 2+ hour line because the computers were down. Our flight departed without us so instead of arriving late morning we arrived late afternoon. Universal Studios was open until 9pm so as we pulled into the parking lot at 5pm we figured we would still have a decent amount of time to explore and experience the rides.
Just as we were walking up, the heavens opened up and a major thunderstorm exploded over the park. By the time we were buying our tickets there was 2 inches of standing water in the lanes and thousands of people in parkas lining the sides of the street under the awnings filing neatly and quickly out of the park.
I asked Kat if she wanted a parka. She said, "Parkas are for wusses!" and then ran pell mell into the maelstrom, both of us immediately soaked to the bone.
We had the streets to ourselves and sprinted splashing and laughing through the empty lanes to find the Harry Potter ride at the back of the park. As we passed the tallest coaster, lightning struck it and the noise was incredible. I started to slow but Kat didn't break stride, and as the next lightning strike lit her in a chiaroscuro outline, she shouted over her shoulder, "Papa! THIS... is really living!" (Mic drop, my job is done here...)