If you were given the chance, would you live a vacation that never ended?
I’m on a quest to do exactly that — live every single day as if it’s a vacation. I’ve actually been on it for years, but even more so since the beginning of this year.
Here’s a brief overview of my quest thus far:
- In January, I quit my awesome job. That was a tough decision to make, but I don’t regret it for a second.
- In February, I started work on my company’s website and wrote my first book, To Be or Like to Be.
- In March, I launched my company and Johannus joined the team. I also went to SxSW in Austin.
- In July, I traveled to Portland for World Domination Summit and decided to turn this quest into something much more formal.
- This month, I gave a TEDx Talk in Managua and will launch my company’s first iPhone app called QuestionUp.
Who knows what is to come?
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” — Henry David Thoreau
When I was really young, my father started training me on what I was going to be when I grew up. As I share in my TEDx Talk, he taught me a question-and-answer game that I was told to repeat over and over again — until I believed it. He’d ask, “Marcella, what do you want to be when you grow up?” and I’d reply, “Whatever I want to be.”
In essence, my family was molding me to become the independent, changeable, diverse person I have become today. They gave me permission to grow into that, instead of placing a label on me before I could label myself.
That statement is both very easy to say and very difficult to stand by. It’s a wonderful sentiment, but the actions and support needed to truly back it up require much more than pleasant intentions. Trust that I tested my parents’ patience by pushing their limits more often than they were comfortable with. Here are some examples of times I did this, just to name a few:
- when I was accepted to Boston College before anyone knew I applied
- when I dated boys they weren’t okay with
- when I spent way too many hours per day on the computer
- when I was accepted to IE Business School in Spain before anyone knew I applied
- when I quit my job and risked it all to start a new business of my own
They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.
As I tested the limits of adolescent independence, something incredible happened — I transferred the permission my parents gave me over to myself.
My family may have given me the permission to make decisions, but that stopped mattering as much. I started giving myself the permission necessary to do what I thought best, regardless of what others thought. It was no longer my parents who encouraged me to jump — it was myself.
Like I told a friend recently, “Once you’ve tasted freedom, there’s no going back.”
When we believe in something deeply, it’s intrinsically exhilarating to go after it, even when we know it will be criticized or judged. Perhaps it’s exhilarating because it will be criticized or judged. That’s okay.
What matters most is believing in it and going for it — because the human life strives at every moment to latch onto meaning and purpose.
Each of us knows and feels what matters to us, but we live heart-deep in fear. We fear rejection, failure, embarrassment, hunger, and more. We fear what we will go through once we’ve given ourselves the permission to jump, don’t we?
We wish we could just jump already, without any of the consequences.
It was Nietzche who said, “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”
Over time, our Why’s evolve and become more deeply rooted in our beings. Their importance flourishes as we research their existence and experience their benefits.
The How is where most people get a bit confused — hoping that the How may not really exist. But it very much does exist, in a way that those who go through it will never forget. Chasing our mission and making it come to life is an arduous process, often riddled with failure and setbacks.
The How is not once easy but many times worthwhile.
The best ally to letting our Why’s, our missions, our purposes grow is the encouragement of others. Our friends, peers, teachers, and mentors shuffle us long when the going gets tough. Getting through the horrible process (the How) of chasing our missions (the Why) is made easier by leaning on those that are vehemently chasing their own missions. Their tales of deep satisfaction and fulfillment propel us forward in troubled times.
Envisioning the jump is the first step.
Granting ourselves permission to jump is the first step we take when walking up to the ledge. Every single step feels absolutely exhilarating — not because the jump will necessarily be great, but because the process makes us happier than we’ve ever felt before.
The journey I’m on is a tough one. Living a perpetual vacation takes a lot of self-reflection and constant analyzing of my own life and emotions (and those of my family). I try keep tabs on all of this by asking myself questions, like:
- What was my favorite part of last week? (How about least favorite?)
- When was the last time I felt absolutely energized? (Or absolutely exhausted?)
- Who makes me feel inspired? (How about doubtful or jealous?)
- When was the last time I laughed out loud? (Or worried?)
To me, living a perpetual vacation means doing more of the stuff I love and doing less of the stuff I hate. Self-reflection helps me draw a line between the two.
Step 1 is complete. I’ve given myself the permission to take that perpetual vacation and build that awesome life. Have you?
It’s time to hit Step 2 and all the other steps that will follow. I have a feeling there will be many, and I’m glad. I hope this perpetual vacation lasts a while.
If you want to follow along on my quest to living a perpetual vacation, sign up here: