"I've realized I can't unverb my life, I have to be doing something. The question is what?"

Charity

Changing the World by Incredible Means: The List

I found myself sitting at the threshold of life with a decision before me; what ought I do with my life?

To pencil it simply, these are what I have found so far:

Personal/Relationally

  • help one person change their life for the better
  • grow a dynamic friends with someone culturally, linguistically, and intellectually different from me
  • help to release children from the bonds of poverty and trafficking in tangible ways

Physically

  • Run for a collegiate team [completed 2007 – 2011]
  • Run a marathon [completed April 11th, 2011]
  • Run the Badwater Ultramarathon
  • Run a Trail Ultramarathon
  • Bike Across America [completed July 24th, 2011]
  • Run across America
  • Hike to Machu Picchu
  • Climb Mt. Everest
  • Cross the Bering Strait on foot
  • Complete an Ironman
  • Complete a double Ironman
  • Swim the English Channel

Geographically/Linguistically

  • Visit every continent
    • North America
    • South America
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • Antarctica
    • Africa
  • Swim in every ocean
    • Pacific
    • Atlantic
    • Indian
    • Arctic
    • Southern/Antarctic
  • Learn a second language fluently
    • Spanish
    • Russian
  • road trip across the USA [July 25th-July 31st, 2011]
  • Visit every state in America
    • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming [23/50]
  • Travel by land across another continent

Economically/Fiscally/Philanthropically/Professionally

  • Start a business
  • Become Debt Free
  • Use ”physical” to donate over 1,000,000 dollars to better the world throughout my lifetime. [~$7000/1,000,000]
  • Spend a year working/volunteering overseas to aid the poverty effort
  • Become a public speaker
  • Write a book

Minimalistically

  • Pay nothing on housing for a year.
  • Live without owning a car for a year. [Started May 28th, 2011]
  • Live without using motorized transport for a month.
  • Own less than 300 items.
  • Produce less than 5 lbs. of trash for a year.

Leaving the Bike Behind…

biking functioned as a means and an end...

3,300+ Miles full of joy, pain, elation, frustration, reflection, and just plain hard work.  That is what goes on when one bikes across America for a cause.  I am not going to talk much about the trip itself here as many of you have read the blogs from that event (in case you haven’t www.bikeamericamission.org).  But needless to say I am ready to put the bike down for awhile, at least as a primary means and end to my passions, because after all I did ride my bike to where I am writing this blog.  I learned a ubiquitous principle from that long bike ride.  “Any great thing is composed from a series of small, sometimes tedious, sometimes enjoyable tasks.”  In that sense, biking across America is simply a series of bike rides with a focused direction.  In the same sense, is perhaps then a meaningful life found in a series of small tasks with a focused direction toward an intended destination–be it physical, spiritual, emotional, or cognitive?

I found that the joy in the completion of the task–biking America–came only when thought of with the efforts it took to arrive and as I sit here now I joy more over the memory of whichever of those parts come to mind rather than of the whole.  Life is in the Verbs, it is in what we are doing, who we are doing it for, and the manner in which we go about getting it done.  Maybe you won’t ever take enough bike rides in a particular direction to cross America in that manner, but what will you do?

Personally, I am laying down my bike for the time being.  I think I’ll try my hand at the marathon again.  It got the better of me last time but now I know this foe a little better.  I know what is coming.  I know how to prepare.  And, you know what, it is through a series of small repetitive efforts called training.

(Once again I am going to seek to raise funds for impoverished children through Compassion International, this time supporting their child survival program which is designed to fight the frightening figure that nine million children don’t make it to their 5th birthday…not if I can help it… a focused direction)