New Year, New Rules... New Rule #1: Thou Shall Not Wait On Others To Live Your Life

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Everyone talks resolutions for the New Year. I decided I wanted to talk about new rules in life. Sometimes we set unrealistic resolutions that set us up to fail. But when you set a rule, you feel more inclined to live by that rule. With that said, every Thursday this month, I will post my new rule for the new year. Hopefully, you will take on this new rule (if it applies to your life) or be inspired to create your own new rules. 

Rule #1: Thou Shall Not Wait On Others To Live Your Life

"You have to be first. Then you can invite others." ~ Omar Norris

That was a text I received on New Year's Eve when I reconnected with a friend I hadn't spoken to in a few months. This dude drops gems of wisdom like this all the time and doesn't even know it. He's one of the most brilliant people I know and he's such a humble man so he would never let that go to his head.

We were talking about 2014 and I was saying how I felt I missed out on a lot in 2013 because simply, I waited on other people. I had a list of things I wanted to do in 2013 but wanted to share the experience with others. I didn't want to do it alone. And what ended up happening was that people grew busy and other things took a priority over what I wanted to do. And I ended up not doing many things I set out to do in 2013.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have done plenty of things alone. I have even traveled alone. I'm not afraid to go to the movies or dine out alone. I have walked through museums, parks and even gone to the beach alone. But after many years of enjoying solitude, I wanted to be that person who I see all the time...that person who hangs out with friends, has a seen partying with people or going on vacation with friends. I wanted to share my great experiences with others.

Thus began this journey of trying to include friends on things I wanted to do. Of course, they said yes. But my friends have other things going on like a spouse, kids and distance.

I was disappointed and let down repeatedly. I began to feel like I was "chasing" people and I grew resentful of them. I found myself going out of my way to make situations convenient for them and somewhere along the way, I stopped putting me first. Then 5Pointz happened.

5Pointz was this graffiti mecca out in Long Island City, NYC. I had seen it once in person from the 7 train but never went down there. It reminded me of my youth in the 80's. I have such a deep appreciation for graffiti art. It represents me and the time I grew up in.

Back in September, I heard that 5Pointz was being demolished. So I told a friend that I wanted to go and take some pics before it was torn down. She wanted to go as well. We made plans but due to some things she had going on in her life, it kept getting pushed back. One day in early December, I learned that the walls of 5Pointz had been whitewashed. The art was gone.

It was at that very moment that I realized that I had to stop blaming others for me missing out on things. I had to be accountable for the fact that I CHOSE to wait on others to do the things I wanted to do.  After that, I vowed I would wait no longer. Because honestly, nothing lasts forever. And we don't know when our lives are going to end. So we have to live each moment as if it's our last.

So this is my policy going forward. If a friend wants to do something, great! But if they don't or can't for some reason, I will pick myself up and just go. At the end of the day, just because something is a priority to me, that does not mean it is a priority to them. And as Omar said, you have to be first. Enjoy your life. Pick up and go when you want. Then, you can invite others. And you won't care if they come or not. Because your mind is already made up that you are going to that place or doing that activity with or without them.

As my dad used to always say, "Life is short and time is valuable. Use it well."

Daddy, I'm listening.

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