Best.

As often as we can my dog and I go out hiking in the mountains and hills near our house. As soon as I mention the phrase “Let’s hike” my dog immediately runs to the door and begins an impatient session of whining to go and running to me as I prepare to venture out. Once we get in the car she eagerly awaits our adventure with her paws on the center console and eyes peeled on the road. Once we arrive at our destination she begins a little dance to get out and begin smelling everything, running to and fro, and keeping her stoke high. June lives her best day ever each time we go out.

That’s one of the best things about having a dog is that every moment seems to be the happiest moment she has ever had. Whenever go out she lives those minutes with bliss as she experiences the world around her. I think we could all take a life lesson from dogs by living our best days every day and every opportunity to do something is an opportunity to smile and be fully invested in what we are doing.

Too many people drag themselves from one place to another and go through the expected motions we lack enthusiasm as we go along and often do not enjoy our lives. We need to enjoy our lives more, by finding a better life balance that allows us to do the things we want to more often. Whatever we enjoy doing we need to find time to do it. Allowing ourselves to become distracted with too many other things that a corporate society demands of us. We need to spend less time following the rules for life that others have created for us and more time creating the life we know we want to live and actually believe in living.

Be like a dog heading out to hike and live your best day ever every day.

Rest.

There are days when we need to rest a bit and recharge our mind and body. These days of rest and relaxation are different for everyone, for some these days might involve an activity outdoors getting a little sunburnt and having new adventures in new places. For others, it may involve a comfy spot on the couch a book, movie, or binge-watching session of a new tv series. Life is very different for everyone as rest has a different meaning from person to person.

If you think about it life keeps us on our toes so much that when we finally stand still for a moment with our feet on the ground we are able to recognize that we need a moment or two of rest. For three straight years, I felt that way. I was always running without a break from work to school, school to work, and found a few minutes each week to spend doing the things I am most passionate about, time for adventures in the mountains and a few hours with my wife.

Throughout those years I felt that something was missing. I was never rested, always rushed, and short-fused. I believed I was happy because I’d forgotten what work-life balance was, and how it felt to be rested. After I was dismissed from my employer I decided that I needed that work-life balance back that I had forgotten about. I took a week and rested up and began looking at new employment options.

While I was looking I kept two things in mind Work-life balance was important and that I wanted to work someplace that would allow me to rest nightly and be at my best every day. I interviewed at a variety of different places and found that for many of these places the balance I wanted was not probable and the idea of being rested was also not something that we would be able to come to an agreement on as they would require work from home almost nightly. I decided to review my options and applied at a few other places and found a place that fit my goal better than most.

I currently work less than 50 hours a week and am paid well for anytime over 40 I spend at work. I am encouraged to have a good life balance and to seek opportunities within and outside my company for personal and professional growth. I love that I am able to work hard then go home. It allows my desired work-life balance and allows me to rest up and show up with a mind ready to put my best foot forward daily.

Tired.

Today I have felt much more tired than I have felt in months, I didn’t sleep well last night. I tossed and turned all night eagerly anticipating my 4:50 am alarm wanting to be sure I was up on time to make work by 6:00 am. Usually, before I fall to sleep I tell myself three times to wake up before my first alarm then drift to sleep. Last night was the same routine as usual until 1:30 am.

Around 1:30 am I woke up and thought I was an hour late for work, jumped out of bed and began my morning routine getting ready for the day. I was up for about five minutes before looking at my phone more clearly and realized it was still three hours left to sleep then jumped back into bed for a few more hours of needed sleep. I then woke up every forty-five minutes until my alarm reminded me to wake up for the day at 4:50 am. Off to work, I went, groggy but ready for the day.

Once I was at work working everything seemed fine I was ready to work to accomplish tasks efficiently and effectively.  Things went smoothly until around noon then I hit a wall and my mind was ready to sleep. I was able to push through my shift without much change to my work aside from a few extra yawns and stretches to stay awake.

Due to being as tired as I was I felt disconnected from my usual self and uninterested in my regular interests. It was a strange day where I almost felt like I was watching myself from the sidelines. I see that I need to be better relaxed before bed and sleep better to ensure that days like this don’t happen as often in the future. New goal, sleep better and sleep an extra hour so that I get up to 6 hours of sleep a night.

Skate.

Tonight we rented Mid90s while we watched I was taken back to to the mid2000s(see what I did there.) to my days spent skating around various parts of Utah. Those days spent under the sun rolling around looking for the perfect spot to spend a few hours trying out old and new tricks, falling, succeeding, and spending time with my friends. We lived our best days learning new tricks and feeling the road beneath our boards, I’m grateful I spent most of my teenage years as a skateboarder.  

When I first started skating I talked my parents into picking me up a board from Walmart that had plastic wheels and trucks. I rolled around the sidewalk at our house and down the manger between the pen one and two at the farm. I rode that board about two weeks before I broke it and needed a new one, my parents told me I needed to ride better so I didn’t break any more skateboards. Little did we know that I would continue to learn new tricks and break more boards. One of my favorite setups was a shorty’s board with roses designed by Chad Muska that my Grandma purchased me. I loved that skateboard and loved my Grandma for gifting me such a cool gift when she thought skateboarding was for hooligans.

One of my favorite things about skating was the movement. The ability that my body had to flow with the board once I was able to “master” a trick or movement. I spent much of my time skating at a friends house where we built a box with rails and spent hours trying out new tricks and mastering the process. The feeling of the wind on your face as you rode, the connection you had each time you put your foot to the ground and pushed and the motion as you curved your board side to side while you rolled down the road. Skating was a movement that felt similar to near perfect balance to me.

Skating was a great teacher to me, it reinforced the idea of never giving up on your goals. As a skater, the only thing that came naturally to me was falling and I did that often. However, I kept trying to be better and slowly became better through trial and error. I ripped a few holes in my jeans, cracked my head open a few times, and bled from various scraped that happened as a result of my falls but I kept getting back on to skate some more. Skating solidified my understanding of never giving up.

These days I skate much less than I used to, but I still pull my skateboard out from time to time and see what tricks I can still land. I look back at those days with gratitude for those hours spent with friends skating around looking for the next big trick we would test out. For the cuts and bruises that were a result of going big or going home, and the triumph we felt when someone landed a big one. Skating was and still is one of the best ways to learn balance, test the limits, and create the best memories with friends.

Time.

Daily we decide where to invest our time. Perhaps you spend many hours at work, a few hours at the gym, a bit with friends, working on hobbies, or some time alone. Each of us has a day that is broken up between twenty-four hours, between the hours of sunshine and darkness. We choose where to put ourselves during these hours and who we will invest our time with and the activities we pursue.

Many of us are required to work to cover our day to day expenses or the cost of living. The hours we spend at work are what we choose to make of them, you might have a job that some look down at but it might be the right fit for you. Each of us can be happy at what we do each day, even if it isn’t our life passion we can still show up with a good attitude and a willingness to accomplish our tasks. This makes our hours spent working less of a drag on our personal lives, and us less of a negative well for others to feed off in their own struggles with life. Recognize that a good attitude will bring about better opportunities and better days.

Time spent with other people can make or break our days. We have routines that are built around the lives of others, we might look forward to seeing someone at work, after work, when we get home, or tomorrow at 11 am sharp for brunch. These plans with others can increase our overall life satisfaction and help us to find a better way of living. Lives are better when we have others to support and those who can support us. Friendships allow for happiness, sadness, misunderstandings, and collaborations. Life with others can test us, break us, and build us into better folk who can be better friends when the occasion arises.

Wherever you should decide to spend your time do so wisely. Invest in real opportunities building better experiences for yourself and others. Find yourself being the best friend you can be to others but most of all be a friend to yourself.

Take a walk.

How much time would you say you spend doing something “just because” you can. One thing I enjoy doing “just because” is walking, without a real destination or plan, just letting my legs take me places for the hell of it. It’s not because I have nowhere I’d want to see, it’s because walking with no particular destination allows me to spend more time in thought as I go.

Having a clear head for me is a full result of walking daily for at least thirty minutes. The days when I’m feeling down, annoyed, or upset about life are usually made clear by taking a walk to think things through. Based off my experience walking is a good avenue to seeing many things new and old, but also cleaning the weight of the world we know.

I work in a mildly high-stress environment, where anger due to misunderstanding is never far away. When I take a break I usually try and walk around the building to relax and think of simple things such as the mountains, my dog, jokes that I’ve heard, of the happiest times I have with friends and family.

Taking a walk “just because” is what I enjoy doing to reset and prepare myself for the next wave of discussions I will have with others. It prepares me to be a better listener, a more patient teacher, and a better friend to those I will be communicating with. I’d recommend this to anyone who works, period. Just taking a little personal time to breathe and reset can not only impact your day at work but can change your everyday happiness level.

We all know about and talk about happiness, we all are aware of what others have done to become happier people. How often are we happy? What are we doing for us that makes us happy? Personally, taking a walk for the hell of it makes me happy.

What makes you happy? Why don’t you think about it while you take a walk?