April 8, 2008

My Goal to Live, Not Exist

I have been doing a lot of thinking to myself lately, and needed to get it all out. Luckily my friend felt the same way so we spent last night and the early AM this morning sitting on our lanai (porch) drinking a 24 ounce Miller High Life pondering life.

The talk came down to what is really important to us. I have learned a lot since I left college and a lot of things I used to think were important no longer are. I found an article last night that was truly one of the best reads I have had in a long time.

The post was titled “39 Ways to Live, and Not Merely Exist.” It was written by Leo Babauta over at zenhabits.net. I highly suggest you check it out, but trust me, you will get hooked and spend a lot more time on the site than you planned (it’s good though).

So last night I went through the 39 things and picked some of the things I have been focusing on. So here are some of the things I came up with:


Love is by far the most important aspect of life. It is the one thing that made it tough to leave everything behind and start moving around so much. My family and most of my close friends all stayed back home and it was pretty tough on me for awhile. Luckily with the internet, it is still pretty easy to stay in touch these days. But I do feel I need some time soon to just drop in back home and catch up on things.

Get outside.

Spending time outside is very important, and it just so happens only a few days ago I mentioned the fact that I would like to find a job that I can spend outdoors.

Take chances.

Taking chances is very important because most people fail at this. They let themselves down by limiting the things they try in life. Life really is too short to not try the things you have always dreamed about. The worst failure is knowing you never tried. Moving away from Wisconsin was a chance I will never regret. It was tough at first, but it opened me up to a whole new world.

Find your passion.

My passion has always been to travel, take pictures and write about it. Since I was in college I have always wanted to write about my experiences and take as many pictures as I can. This is something I am really pushing to make happen soon and hope you stick around to see it in action.

Get out of your cubicle.

Most of you already know my standing on this one. I have already decided that I will be giving up the cubicle type jobs and trying out a new path. It is just a matter of deciding when it will be happening.


Travel is the one thing I am very passionate about doing. I have always been eager to get out and see the world from my own perspective. Pictures in magazines just do not give me a clear enough picture of what the world looks like. I want to see how other people live and hope it will open my eyes and help me see the world differently.

Rediscover what’s important.

I have been in the process of discovering this for the past few months. I have concluded a lot of things and realized the things that are important too me are not the same as they used to be. I used to think I needed a million dollars and nice things to be happy. I have now grown since then and realized that my overall well being is more important. All the money in the world will not make me happy if I am not enjoying my life every second of every day.

Eliminate everything else.

Simplifying your life and getting rid of the things that are not important is a crucial step. It frees you of the clutter in your life and allows you to live. Too many people gather too many material possessions to the point where the possessions control who they are. Don’t let the things you own, own you (Fight Club). Don’t let your job influence the type of person you are. If your job doesn’t fit, get out and find a new one.


Volunteering is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. I want to do something that actually makes a difference in the world. I am sick of the idea of pushing papers to make millionaires more money. It just separated the gap between rich and poor people even more. I want to give back to the world and help those in need.

Talk to old people.

I greatly enjoy talking to older people. They seem to have the wisdom I lack and always have positive things to say. I will never forget when I visited Hawaii for the first time and talked with an older couple on the shuttle to the airport. I was talking about how much I liked it in Hawaii and that I would love to move there. The couple basically told me I would be stupid to not give it a chance. This one conversation was a major factor in me actually deciding to pack up and give it a shot.

Lose control.

Losing control is a hard thing to do. It can be scary to think about, yet at the same time it can truly test you and define you as a person. I used to talk to a few homeless men out in Hawaii about their lives and how they ended up the way they were, and it was truly an eye opening experience.

I think I am very close to the point of just selling the few possessions I have and just living free. I want to see what it is like to have to come up with food to eat, and make money in whatever ways possible. Find ways to get from one place to another without using the simple method of just filling my car up with gas and driving. I really think it would give me a whole new perspective on life. Worst case scenario, I end up back in a cubicle with a lot more stories to tell my children someday.


The past year of my life has been the most unpredictable and mind-opening time of my life. I went through some major events including graduating college and leaving my family and friends. I also moved twice and have had a few jobs, all of which I have not enjoyed. I went to college to get a nice office job where I would not have to do much, and have since learned this could be further from the truth. I am an adventurous and creative person that can not handle doing the same things day in and day out.

So the next year of my life is going to be a pretty interesting one. I am going to give up everything I have worked for so far, in hopes of finding my true purpose in life. So please, feel free to come along on the journey with me.

PS. Thanks to everyone that has been reading this blog, your comments are the motivation that keeps me writing 🙂

Photo Credit: jonrawlinson

9 thoughts on “My Goal to Live, Not Exist

  1. offendedblogger

    What a great list!

    I believe it is true that sometimes you have to just take a leap of faith and try things because you never know where it will lead to.

    My hubby and I are a great example of how it can pay off, because we did that exact thing a few years ago and we are so happy with where it lead us.

    I’m rooting for you! 🙂

  2. Lindsay

    I really like this post 🙂 It can be way too easy to get lost in the mundane-ness of everyday life. Lists like this are a great way to re-evaluate what you want and what path you are on to get there.

  3. Curt

    Great read! I very much agree with you on a few of these points like taking chances. I’ve started my own business in website design 2 years ago, and am slowly growing it until the time comes to quit my secure job and venture out into the life I always dreamed of. Even at 52. That covers listening to the older people (That would be me!)

    Travel. I’ve moved around quite a bit, but I’ve apparently instilled that in my 27 year old daughter who has been all over the world and lived in Italy for a while. She now lives in England.

    Again, great post!!

  4. Sandra

    I just managed to stumble across this site in Google while searching for some low stress jobs. I really loved this post! It is really nice to see people that do not follow the path we are “supposed” to follow, but instead venture out and experience life the way it was meant to be.

    I really hope you get out and do what you want. Don’t get stuck in the rat race so many of us fall victims to. It is not the way life was meant to be.

    Keep it up! 🙂

  5. Adam Pieniazek

    Eliminate everything else.

    That’s a great piece of advice. Recently I’ve been going through my RSS feeds and emails and unsubscribing from all these sources that I’d only sparingly, if that, use. It’s really easy for us to develop this pack rat mentality that everything is important and that we need to keep all these possessions. It’s kind of scary to throw stuff in the trash bin (both the physical and digital ones) but there’s only so much we can store.

    I’m still working on clearing out tons of clutter in my home office and room but really want to get it to a very minimalist environment so that I know where everything is and there’s less stuff lying around to distract me.

    Oh, as for losing control…go for it. Worst case scenario you’ve got a great book idea!

    Ever seen/read Into the Wild?

  6. Justin Post author

    I have never seen Into the Wild, but you are the second or third person that has mentioned it to me. I think I am going to grab it one of these nights and check it out.

    Is it good?

  7. Angel

    Oh Justin… wish I had your guts to give up everything you’ve worked for and explore life in a different perspective. I wish I could do the same thing, give up my possessions, my job, and just live… I don’t know if I can ever do that though… 😛


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