Why Life Seems Difficult

Photo of me by Aiko Yoshida.

The lament of most adults I know is that life is hard, annoying, and exhausting. I get it. I have been in that space, so I know. Even now I sometimes wish for the 90s when I was a teenager and had little to worry about other than how to get a certain guy, afford a CD I wanted, or how to get people to stop harassing me in school.

But adulting – that’s annoying. Or is it?

Definitely some of it is, but then why are there many happy adults? Why are some people happy and others not? Why are the vast majority just blah and numbing out to reality TV and large pizzas?

It’s because they are not doing what they are passionate about. Either they have forgotten, or they are afraid.

When you are aligned with the work you are meant to do, with the dreams you’ve cultivated deep inside, things magically start shifting.

But you must be taking steps, no matter how minuscule, to go in the direction you’ve always imagined. You must start somewhere. Don’t make me use a cliche!

And for god’s sake take care of your health. Without proper nutrition you are going to have little energy to spare. Do you really want all your energy to be given to A JOB? (a 4-letter work, remember?) What about YOUR work? The work that makes YOU happy and that makes the world better – more beautiful, more interesting, more fun, more fantastic – for you and all the people you could help aim higher?

Life is not meant to be a drudgery. It’s meant to be special – you are no accident. Your desires and dreams are not random. They pester you and haunt you for a reason, and they will continue to until you take action on them. Movement creates momentum, so take that first step, however tiny it may be, and then take another step the next day (or the next hour)! Even if it takes you years of daily steps, you will eventually reach your destination. It will be impossible not to, because you are moving in that direction.

The larger your steps, the quicker you’ll get there, but obstacles will show up. This is normal, in physical journeys, mental ones, artistic ones, financial ones – but inch by inch, penny by penny, stroke by stroke, word by word, you will attain something resembling your desires, but doing absolutely NOTHING gets you NOWHERE except the same place you are today. And are you happy there? Or are you lamenting how being an adult sucks?

When you’re small, you dream of being a grown up, to be able to do whatever you wish – and you CAN. Remember, you have been educated to think otherwise. You’ve been misled, lied to, and led astray by all the things you think you are SUPPOSED to do. You aren’t taught alternatives. You have to discover them yourself. You have to risk, you have to listen to your misery and see what it is teaching you – it is SHOWING you that you are not in tune with your inner voice, the one that has been speaking to you for your whole life, the one you continually ignore, and so other voices overshadow it – the ones that say you’re lame, that you’re no good, that you’re afraid, that you can’t, that you’re lazy and weak.

But what if you fed that other voice? What if you pandered to it? What if you let it scream so it drowns out all the others and sends them scurrying into the black?

That voice will then lead you, but you must LISTEN. That voice is the true you, and it is ageless. Being an adult isn’t hard, life isn’t difficult – what’s difficult is not being who you truly are.

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No Plan B

I used to have a plan B.

Now, I have different aspects of a Plan A, and I have a Plan Z – only. This gives me no room to give up – even if I was destitute, I still would be on my proper path – I’d just be doing it differently – however, my goals and freedoms would be the same.

How’s your Plan B going for you? I can almost guarantee you are living Plan B. Or even C, or D! Otherwise why would you be here? Why would you be reading this? You wouldn’t – because you’d be working on YOU.

You’d be executing, not excusing. You’d be building, creating, doing, not simply existing, not flitting away your life. You’d  be figuring out, and taking action on doing what you’d truly love to be doing – what you fantasize about – what you envy others for – not your 2nd- or 8th-rate job. You’d be with someone you adore, not someone you put up with, and you’d be healthy and zingy, not tired and lackluster.

You’d be “YAY ME, YAY ME!” not “Poor me, poor me.”

You’d be the hero, not the victim. You’d feel your power, not your weakness. You have it, you just haven’t honed it – and to hone your power, you must use it. You must practice. You need to move in that direction, where your internal compass is pointing (the compass you consistently ignore) – even just a smidge – movement creates momentum.

“An object in motion tends to stay in motion.”

The first day you decide execute a Plan A is the most important day you will ever have, in any successful thing you do. People think it’s amazing, for instance, that I’ve been a raw foodist for over 8 years – but this isn’t my triumph – my triumph was doing it the first day. Day one.

Day one is what you need to focus on, and then build on top of that, hour by hour, day by day.

Really scrutinize how you are spending each moment. Is what you’re doing adding meaning and value to your life? Is it taking away your stress? Is it making you healthier, happier, more free of heart? Often people who work constantly are not truly free, but they’re doing their work for the wrong reasons (money).  Money is a byproduct of doing what we truly want to be doing. It’s a byproduct of being our true, authentic selves.

Our most important values should be freedom, and love.

Being authentic is rarely sitting on the couch, tired as hell from work, dreading the next day, and stuffing yourself with pizza and beer. Maybe for someone it is, but I highly doubt that is what that person saw for themselves as a child, when they dreamed about how their life as a grown-up would be.

“What we get from work [jobs] is enough money to pay rent, food, clothes, and beer – enough to keep us coming back to work. When we’re not at work, we spend time traveling to or from work, preparing for work, resting up because we’re exhausted from work, or getting drunk to forget about work.”WORK COMMUNITY POLITICS WAR [Prole.info]

If you really don’t know what you want to do, or who you truly are, this is the MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU WILL EVER DO. You NEED to figure this out, or die trying, because we need people doing what they adore, we need examples of perseverance. We need genuine, legitimate muses and mentors, to show us, YES, you can do what you’ve always wanted. YES, you can have a fun, thrilling life, without the burden of debt and worry.

There is always a way. There are always options. Write them all out. See ALL of your options for self-sufficiency. Write out your Plan Z, and see how okay it might actually be – how exciting it might actually be – how freeing.

But first, write out your PLAN A.

Don’t let other people take away your freedoms and power – claim it back. Feel your fear and do it anyway.

Your life is worth it, and it’s worth it to everyone else, too, because you will find your tribe, you will be a magnet; things come to you when you are ready.

It’s all so cliche, but true.

Don’t wait until  you’re forced, or until something almost kills you, because that time might not be until many years from now – when you will be even more tired, more sick, more crushed by the weight of the world.

Let it crush you NOW, so that you can squeeze out everything that isn’t true to you, and become full again with what is.

The world is a reflection of your beliefs, and your beliefs are often what other people have told you your whole life. Most of them are lies, or half-truths, unless you’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with that attitude, but if you were, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.

What you focus on manifests. Once you feel this power for yourself, things will show up that you couldn’t even have imagined. You just have to be ready, and open. The old has to be removed for the new to come in. There needs to be ROOM.

Make room now. No more Plan B – make your first choices your first priority, every single day.

What’s the Alternative?

I’m back after a long hiatus – I didn’t leave purposely, I just got swept along in the riptide of typical life.

Like most people, I’ve spent the majority of my life giving some power to others, allowing them to instruct my days, in order to get a generally pathetic cash reward every two weeks.

I recently quit my job. I’d planned to for quite some time, yet fear kept me going back. But…it felt like my time was being hijacked – I felt a very strong terror saying, “What if this was your last day on earth? Would you want it to be THIS?” I ask myself this a lot. The answer is always: No.  Not that the job was BAD, it just wasn’t what I truly wanted to be doing. It didn’t align with how I want daily life to be. Instead of feeling scared, I felt excited. That’s when you know you’ve made the right decision. My terror shifted – the fear of NOT doing what I love was MUCH stronger than the fear of having less security. Allow yourself to feel that anticipation: the promise of a more tantalizing existence.

Your moods are a map – if you dread going to work, if you are ignoring the things you’d love to be doing, wasting your time with FILLERS, then you are COMPLETELY and utterly ignoring your path in life. You are doing yourself and others a disservice. We need you, and we need your passion to ignite us.

Some people may be completely happy doing a regular job, and that is totally fine! I am not talking about them. I am talking about ME, and YOU – the ones who pine for more. We are aching. Bursting.

I BURN with a fervor, and I have repressed this many times – in relationships, in my everyday life, in work. Not purposely. It sucks. It’s not a way to live.

So, when you change your life, what about the fear? What about the scary prospect of failure?

Here’s a better question: What’s the alternative?

A life of mediocrity? Ennui? A life of apathy? Being upon death and saying, “Man, I wish I did that.”? No thank you. I get this one life as me- one life FOR SURE. Even if there are more lives, I get this one, ONCE, and I am not squandering it.

I’ve spent too much time already, flitting about from job to job (“A JOB” is a 4-letter word), spent too much time on things I don’t truly care about, too much time reading social media, and other stuff that does NOT improve my life.

Why read blathering from people about all sorts of topics I really don’t care about? Way better to actually learn something of value. To read words of substance. To go out and DO things. My time is valuable. PRECIOUS. So is yours! What is the alternative? MONOTONY.

Does this ring true for you? “I want a monotonous life.” Yeah, I doubted it.

Every adult I know, especially once they get to their 30s, says “WOW, time goes so fast!” – Yeah, it does, especially when you waste it, when you do things to “kill time.”

EXCLAMATION: you can’t KILL time. Time is killing you.

I have no other alternative. I don’t have a plan B anymore. I have a Plan Z, but no plan B.  Plan Z is destitute – and really still not terrible. It’s still more free than having a job working for someone else, making them more money (unless of course you want to help them and their cause – then awesome! Still…DO YOU, first).

You need an explosion within. If you don’t have that zest, and you’re damp and wretched every day with gloom, then you need to change some things – rapidly. Make it your first priority because your life will be completely bland and beige otherwise. Don’t you want a rainbow life? Isn’t that why people love psychedelics? Everything is more dazzling, unrestrained, more potent.

You can have that feeling naturally, daily, if you follow the map your life has for you. It’s built into you. It’s called “Your Emotions.” Your map has still led you down this runaway path, too – it’s leading you that way so you can see where it goes – then you can TURN AROUND. You realize, like with a malfunctioning GPS, that you are completely lost, and that you are going off-target. You don’t have to keep going – you know it’s the wrong way! TURN AROUND. What’s the alternative? You’ll probably end up somewhere you really didn’t plan, a ghost town, where dreams go to die.

If you feel afraid, reluctant, or anxious, ask yourself “What’s the alternative?” Write it all out. Let THAT petrify you. If you feel freaked out, then you are off-course. Center yourself, breathe, and continue where you know you need to go. Point your needle north.

It still takes work and discipline, but it is SO much better persisting on a path that you know is your own, and you know is the one you were meant to go down all along. You’re listening to your own GPS instead of one someone else gave you. One you thought you had to follow. One you thought was correct, or one you accidentally came across. Don’t use that. Internal compasses are much better – you just have to stop ignoring it.

Learn to read your compass.

 

Don’t Go to College


Image by Donkey Hotey

 

Seriously.

Well, wait. If you can AFFORD to, without loans, then go ahead. If you want to be something that ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NEEDS you to go to college or university, then go, but also be 100% sure, without a fraction of a doubt, that it is something you want to do for the rest of your life. If you do want to go, but aren’t sure what for – WAIT! Almost no one knows what they want to be when they finish high school, and if they do, they’re very lucky, and even then, a lot of those things do not need school. There are lots of ways to learn.

Necessary schooling + passion = fine, go.

Unnecessary schooling + passion + money = fine, go.

Unsure + unnecessary + loans = STOPPPPPPPPPP.

Unnecessary + loans = nooooooooooo.

Necessary + money – passion = no no no no no.

Unnecessary – money  + unsure = RUN FUCKING FAST

The majority of people going to school fall into the LAST equation. How do I know? I know lots of people! Including me! I was lucky enough that I chose short courses and that my parents helped pay my loans, which were diddly compared to what some people end up with. Basically everyone I know has massive debt, and basic jobs that don’t require their specific degree. For me, I have been to college twice and don’t do either of the things I went for.

The most valuable things I’ve learned have been from self study. Sure it might not get you a job easily, but it will allow you to LEARN FOR FREE. And it will make you use your imagination. It won’t force you to spend all your time on assignments and classes you don’t even want or need to take. You can learn at your OWN pace, and work at the same time! So many people get degrees and end up with ludicrous jobs anyway, because there is a million other grads just like them, scrounging for wages.

Spend your time doing what you love THE VERY MOST. The things you know you are meant to do.

I almost went back to school this year. I even registered, paid money, and all of it. I did this because I couldn’t find a job and figured having a degree would help me. Plus I hated regular work and wanted to just learn all day. However, with time and more thought, I knew it was a stupid idea. Especially since creative writing does not need to be learned in a school, nor does it guarantee a job. So instead of being $40,000+ in debt in 4  years, I lost like $150. Big whoop.

Part of what put me off is that even though I’d be a mature student, I would have to take a base year and a bunch of shit that had nothing to do with writing. Why the fuck do I have to take MATH to do a writing course? Or science?

There are a lot of jobs that require school, I know it, but unless you are completely dedicated, and know from the day you apply that it is what you want FOR SURE, and you will be able to get work or create work FOR SURE, that you LOVE…don’t. You will just end up a slave. To debt, to endless mediocre jobs, to a life you think you should be living.

Believe me, I would love to go back to school. I adore learning. I’d love to take creative writing. But at the expense of my life and freedom? No way. Debt is a death sentence. I want freedom. Freedom is my number one priority in life. Anything I choose to commit to, I CHOOSE 100%! Nothing is forcing me.

I can learn to write on my own, and if I really want help, I can hire a coach for way cheaper than going to school. I can read books.

When I did go to college, I ended up  not wanting to do what I took. I took a multimedia course (and should have stuck with graphic design, like I was drawn to) and after I finished the course I realized I didn’t want a job sitting at a computer all day.

I also took a vet assistant course, and while it was valuable to me in some ways, I could have learned it all by volunteering at a clinic.

I have considered library sciences, but there is no guarantee of work after completion, either, and that is like 6-8 years of school. I don’t even want to know how much that would be in terms of debt, especially going to a place like UBC. Insane.

Commit yourself to freedom, unless your lifelong dream has been to be a lawyer or a doctor or a scientist. If you’re going to school to “get an education” – just go to the library instead.

Only put your money towards your health and your most BURNING PASSIONS. That’s what it’s for.

If you have debt (of any amount!), get rid of it above ALL ELSE as soon as possible. Eliminate EVERYTHING non-essential. Everything. Debt will weigh you down and asphyxiate the life right out of you, and you only get ONE.

Recommended Reading:

Walden on Wheels (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – this post was inspired by reading this book)

The Teenage Liberation Handbook (I read this 15 years too late)

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World

If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don’t Go to School?

Screw the Delayed Life Plan

So many people prescribe to the same life plan:

1. You’re born.
2. You have a few years of freedom and play.
3. Then you begin SCHOOL, which is generally fun for a few years.
4. School tends to become tedious as you are forced into having your free time plagued by homework.
5. Your teenage years are either wild and frantic, or dulled down by authority. You will generally either conform or rebel. You have grandiose plans for your future. People will try, and usually succeed, at squashing them by making you be “realistic.”
6. Post-school, either you go to another school, go into massive debt to get a really good job, or a very nice piece of paper that won’t get you a job good enough to pay off your massive debt, and you will be paying it for the rest of your life.
7. Your 20s are generally spent studying and partying. Hard. This is considered “really living.” Getting drunk, getting high, and getting laid. You get a job after school where you don’t use your degree, or you get a really well-paying job that takes over your whole life. Or, you have no education and you have no debt, but then struggle in low-paying lame jobs. So you consider going back to school.
8. Relationships between people either go nowhere or go too fast. Especially in your later 20s, there is a strong “need” to get married and start a family, because of the perpetuated idea that once you’re over 30, it’s too late. So you “settle down.”
9. In your 30s, your marriage and family generally just plug along, and you go to a job you put up with because you have so much debt, so many bills, and so many mouths to feed.
10. You fantasize about the life you really want to live, and make plans to do these things once you have free time, after you’re retired. If you can retire.
11. Your “excitement” comes from going out, drinking, socializing, and excessive junk food intake. Food, TV, internet, playing the lottery, and 2 week vacations become your excitement in life. You consider this normal because it’s what everyone else seems to do.
12. You’re so tired from work, family duties, and shitty lifestyle habits, that you have no energy to pursue passions anymore, and you end up watching shows or reading about other people doing what they love, and think you are too old to make changes.
13. Finally, after 40 or so years of working at a typical job for a meager amount of money (unless you were dedicated enough to go to school to get a job to make tons of money to afford a “normal” life, and are probably still in debt for your schooling, mortgage, health bills, etc) you get to retire. Maybe.
14. Once you are free of work, responsibility to children, and maybe have your mortgage paid off, then you can relax, travel, or other things. Then you get some sort of disease from your excessive “exciting” habits.
15. You get sick, or break down, and are unable to enjoy an adventurous life that you’ve always imagined and wanted.
16. You continuously imagine how you could have done things differently. Then you die.

Is this what you want to happen? Because it happens to a LOT of people. I would say the VAST MAJORITY. There is nothing WRONG with doing things this way – it’s just that most people think they HAVE to do things this way. We’re programmed from a young age to believe this is the model of life, and it does not have to be. Most people do not want it.

Obviously this is not going to happen to everyone, but it’s so common that it’s scary.

I’ve heard this called the “delayed life plan” and think it’s a good term. I read a great manifesto about it here.

So, if you adhere to this “plan” (and it’s not a plan, it’s a brainwash) you will be waiting 60-70 years to do what you want. That is…insane. Completely insane.

You create your own life. You get to design it. If other people are trying to do it for you, or stop you, get the fuck away from them as fast as possible. Imagine how things could be different NOW.

This blog is not for people who want a normal, chill life. It’s for people who know there is something more, the people who crave adventure, the people who just can’t figure out why they’re so depressed or why they obsess over insignificant things. It’s for my people – the ones who are freaked out but do shit anyway!

It is for those who refuse to waste their precious existence on a prescribed timeline. Fuck. That.

I’ve been all of these people.

I’ve been the self-conscious person who thinks a perfect body and a college degree will make people like me and respect me, and give me a job.

I’ve been the person that is so anxious I can’t even get myself to go out the door to do something basic.

I’ve been the person who cries and despairs for no discernible reason, and can’t figure out WHY.

But I did know why, deep down, and I was ignoring it. Every time I got the courage to act on a dream, that feeling dissipated instantly, because I was on a thrilling adventure.

I was going against what most people said I shouldn’t or couldn’t do.

I still do this. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you focus on health and your passions, you will be able to soak the FUCK out of life.

Steps to a LIVE NOW Plan!

1. Health is a priority because you will never be able to enjoy life fully if you are not healthy. Health is the most vital thing in the world. It is paramount. It is ESSENTIAL. If you are not healthy, I suggest you look into true health and get vibrantly alive from within, so that you have the energy and clarity to see yourself as you really are, to see what you’re capable of and see endless possibilities.

2. Get creative. Make a Plan Z. This will allow you to strip yourself of everything you know and come up with alternatives. I found that if I lost everything it would leave an opening to do anything. It also made me see how much I do have and how creative I could be with it, and that I am not afraid to lose things and take risks.

3. Inspire yourself. Read stories about other people, other families, other human beings who went from normalcy to excitement. I am endlessly looking for stories like these, in books, or online, because it proves to me that when you love life enough, have focus, and are hell-bent on living FULLY, it can be done.

4. Take action. Write out steps to your exceptional life. Actually DO THIS. Write it the EFF down! You may find you have to work your ass off for a while to save for something, or sell your house, or do whatever it takes to get out of debt. You may find you have to pull your kids out of school and teach them yourself as you sail around the world. You may realize that all the people you think are your friends are actually holding you back because they want you to stay who you are and not remind them that they aren’t living the lives they really want, either. “Please don’t change! Be boring with me! Let’s sail into old age together and have regrets!!”

Don’t limit yourself, and don’t let guilt or hovering “shoulds” stop you. Tell yourself you can, and you will. Change your language.

5. Give yourself constant reminders. Remember, the end of your life is coming whether you deny it or not. You’re not immortal. Remind yourself of this. I have something tattooed on my arm to remind me. Whenever I write this blog, it reminds me. I read about people doing extraordinary things to remind me. I have a goal book to remind me. I think about dying.

6. Get outdoors and into the world. Adventurous lives are RARELY lived inside.

Whatever it takes, immerse yourself in the idea that you can do more with your life. Especially if you are young. Educate YOURSELF. You don’t need to go back to school unless you are sure you want to be something very specific and that you absolutely 100% need to go to school for. Otherwise spend that money on travel, and on your PASSIONS. The happiest and most successful people I know are the ones who spend almost all their time and money on the things they love to do.

If you are older, it doesn’t matter. You can just make the shift and change your life. Be the person who obliterates the myth of being “too old” – do it and be an inspiration for others.

You can leave the person who holds you back. You can meet new, uplifting friends. You can take lessons, get a coach, or just BEGIN whatever you want. If you think you can’t before you even begin, then you are right.

Get the hell out there and enjoy the world. Yeah, there’s a lot of shit out there, but don’t focus on it. Don’t ignore it, but make sure you are enjoying every second of the joys in life as you can, because you never know when it will end…but it will, guaranteed.

Lifting Facades and Being Selfish

I think selfishness is great.

Not in terms of saying “eff you” to everyone you care for, but in the majority of things in life, doing what YOU want above all else is paramount to living a life of purpose and adventure.

Screw the majority. Yes, keep close friends and loved ones high on your list, but even then, when it comes to YOUR most important ideals, no one should be able to stop you.

There is the old adage of not being able to help others before you help yourself (or love others before you love yourself) – and it is very true. Yet most people are under the delusion that others can make them whole, or help them heal.

I’ll give you an example.

When you’re sick, you go to the doctor. What sort of health is your doctor in? Are they robust, bursting with energy, vitality, fitness? Do they ask you about your diet and lifestyle? Do they ask about nutrition at all? Do they KNOW anything about it at all? Can they help you without writing prescriptions or shilling drugs?

Really be wary of who you take advice from. If they are not getting results you would personally want, then run, quickly. Find someone who knows what they are talking about, or be very still and listen to your intuition.

This also goes for listening to advice from others about situations they themselves have trouble with.

When you take care of yourself first, that is when you can start to dispense wisdom to others. Otherwise keep your mouth shut! Send them in the direction of people who do know what they are talking about.

Generally over the last few years, I have told people to read certain books instead of giving them advice – I was (and still am) learning. I have only recently felt like I’ve reached a point where I feel I have a good enough base knowledge, enough self-respect, self-love, and real knowledge to share.

When you love and do things for yourself, you feel so good that your energy precedes you. Wherever you go, you glow, and people notice this before they notice you. They will then want to be near you, want to know your secrets, and trust you, because you have what they want.

You won’t get into this state without being selfish. You must do everything it takes to be the whole person you are, under all the toxic bullshit we’re exposed to daily through food, air, water, and negative people and images.

You might have to shun certain people who you care for.
You might have to change careers, or move.
You might have to leave your relationship.
You might have to tattoo a reminder on your wrist.
You might have to delete all social media.
You might have to demolish your microwave.
You might have to throw your TV out a window.

It doesn’t matter what you give up – it matters what you GAIN.

Be selfish and true to yourself – you will have so much more to give once you are being who you really are.

Facades are for scared people.

~~

 

Photographer of above image: unknown.

Experience VS. Things

Me underwater in Cathedral Cove (Narnia), New Zealand, 2005.

An experience is always a better choice than buying an item.

Eschewing food and other absolute necessities, having an experience is always the better choice when choosing how to spend your money. Most people don’t even “choose” – they just mindlessly fork over the dough.

Something my dad said a long time ago has always stuck with me – when you consider how much work you have to do to make that amount, when buying something, think about it in terms of HOURS SPENT rather than the moola itself.

Would you work a half hour (or an hour?!) in exchange for a latte?
Would you work a whole week in exchange for a pair of fancy shoes?
Would you work a whole day for one meal at a swank restaurant?

That sort of thing – because that is what you are doing.

So many people work often and do little, because their money is spent on unnecessary things. Then they whine that they need a vacation but can’t afford it, or that they wish they had more time off, or more time to spend with their kids, on and on and on.

I’ve stopped buying things I don’t need, including books – which for me is amazing. I get credits at work (a book store) so that is the only time I buy them anymore. I read what I own, and I go to the library. I used to desire a huge book-lined home, wall-to-wall beauty – but without the money I spent on those books, I would have no free time to read them all. Dig?

I also make sure that the food I buy actually fills me up. On a raw diet, this is important, because many raw foods are so low calorie that you need a TON to be satiating – hence eating high-calorie fruit as a staple (bananas, dates, mangos, etc). I limit the amount of other things that are for flavour more than satiation – lemons, nori – things like this add up to a lot and really do nothing to fill the tummy. You should do the same, whether you eat raw or not!

I also pick up any change I see on the ground, even if it’s a penny. You cannot have any sum without pennies – these are the building blocks, If you ignore the free money around you, you tell the universe you don’t need it. I’ve seen beggars scoff at one cent coins – ironic.

Use your extra money to DO things. What are you going to remember at the end of your life? The stuff you bought, or the stuff you did?

Here’s some examples of what you can do with certain sums of money:

$10 – A couple of days of coffee VS. basket of fruit for a picnic in the park with friends.

$20 – a fresh-pressed t-shirt VS. a whirling slamdance nightclub evening.

$50 – lacquered nails VS. a thrumming live concert.

$100 – a dvd set VS. a zipline ride through the mountains.

$500 – a fancy handbag VS. a weekend away with your lover.

$1000 – the latest phone VS. a new guitar for your lifelong dream of being a musician.

$2000 – a designer gown VS. a sunbaked week in Hawaii.

Watching Pipeline, Oahu, 2010. I spent a week here for just over $1000.

$5000 – a diamond necklace VS. a raw food retreat in Costa Rica to heal you from within.

$10,000 –  plastic surgery VS. months of traveling in South East Asia.

$100,000 – a zippy sportscar VS. trips to every continent.

$250,000 – a partially-paid-for condo VS. a caravan to explore the country.

$500,000 – medical bills (due to your terrible eating habits, not unfortunate accidents) VS. enough to live on, work-free, for years.

$1,000,000 – a beautiful home…VS. basically whatever you want. If you have this much money you wouldn’t even be reading this article.

Most of us do not have much disposable income (what a horrible phrase – disposable income? If we work for that money, then we are saying our TIME is worthless – so we are saying that our LIFE is worth trading for insignificant crap).

Obviously a little indulgence is okay now and then, but when it throws you into debt, and you think shopping is “therapy” – that is when you need to really step back and scrutinize the reality of what you’re doing.

Personally I would rather do more, work less, and appreciate reality, not artifice; adventures, not stuff; dreams, not consumerism.

If you have debt, get out of it as soon as possible! There are many ways to do this, make it your #1 priority (okay, second – health is #1).

 Me snorkeling off West Coast Australia, with whale sharks, 2005.

$350.

Worth every cent.

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(This post seems very geared towards females – oops – guys, I dunno what you waste your money on!)