"Live more than your neighbors. Unleash yourself upon the world and go places, go now. Giggle, no, laugh and bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are. Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, your life. Face your fears and live your dreams. Take it all in, yes, every chance you get, come close. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments of your life and still remember me, your friend, the BlazeMan, ALS Warrior Poet." - Jon Blais
These words are printed on a crumpled up piece of paper sitting inside my gym bag. From time to time, when I am feeling discouraged or unmotivated, I will pull it out, unfold it, and read it silently to myself.
This passage inspires me, not so much for the words that are printed on the page, but more so for the person who wrote them, Jon Blais. He wrote them as he was dying a slow death from ALS. Who better to know the importance of living life than someone who is about to lose it?
A year before he passed away, Blais "rolled" across the finish line of the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii.
It's easy to say "live each day like it is your last", but without the proper perspective to supplement those words, it's just an empty mantra.
It's easy to see the other side of it as well. For many of us, we haven't had any health scares, have not been at risk of starvation, have had the luxury of a roof over our head. Yet we can still identify the imperfections, where the universe has somehow wronged us. We neglect those things that are blessings to focus on the negative. In that instance, our perspective is broken.
What if we woke up tomorrow with only the things we thanked God for today?
I'm not sure who originally said that. I heard it from an acquaintance who used to hear it from his grandmother. It speaks volumes to how we should "tune" our perspective.
I think of perspective the same way I think of an FM radio in a car. At times it's tuned to a station you don't like, and you hear nothing but songs that annoy you, and commercials for mattresses you never want to buy. Other times the dial is tuned in between stations, in which case all you get is white noise.
In either of these cases, your commute is filled with annoyance and frustration.
But sometimes the radio is tuned perfectly to a station playing your favorite songs. You listen to the music and it puts a spring in your step. The lyrics inspire you, and despite the fact that you still have to hear commercials from shady mattress salesmen, you still want to share this station with the rest of the world.
The drive is the same. The scenery is the same. The only difference is how your radio station is tuned.
Some of the most inspiring people have a finely tuned positive and optimistic perspective despite the tremendous challenges they face. Jon Blais taught us that each new day on this earth is an opportunity to live, and to live is to take positive action.
So for today, just do it. Go bark at the moon.