Fear or filler

Given the fact that I am about to spend several days in the Magic Kingdom, I figure I should check reality and seriousness before my fight.

Cup? This isn’t a perverted joke, right?

No. This is serious.

A few days ago I griped on Twitter about how people spend all their time deciding whether a cup is half full or empty instead of just using the cup. In short, I was basically trying to express my frustration at how people spend a lot of time contemplating life at the expense of actually living. After thinking it over, I suppose that comment was unfair. While I am sure a lot of people mightdo that but I am absolutely sure I have.

I was afraid to use my cup

About one year ago I went on my first plane ride in several years. I was terrified of flying. I passed up a ton of awesome adventures because I was simply afraid. Instead of getting out and doing much of anything, I stuck to the safe road. Even worse, the things I did do were often unhealthy.

I was afraid to live my life.

This is where things get difficult. When I looked at my cup, I think I did one of two things:

  1. I saw my cup was OK and just refused to do anything with it
  2. I saw my cup was near empty so I filled it with (bad) filler

Really, I was playing a game of fear or filler. I spent a ton of time thinking about my life – good and bad instead of realizing I was wasting my time and others’ attention.

Don’t touch the cup!

For a ton of reasons, I have fallen in the trap of adoring complacency and stability in the past. This meant that when my cup was filled to my liking I refused to do anything with it. In lieu of going out I was happy staying in. Instead of talking to people I kept to myself. While there is unquestionably value in solitude and introspection, I think my avoidance was an expression of my past instead of my present or future.

Don’t fill the cup with junk!

When I realized that I needed to fill my cup with life experience, I simply found poor substitutes. In my distant past I was addicted to video games because I was depressed, lazy, and stuck in what I felt was an impossible spot. In my not so distant past, I ended up drinking way too much because, well, quite frankly, I was terrified at the prospect of letting someone actually love me. Alcohol and video games are great filler until they evaporate and your cup is left totally empty.

As a note – that’s why I will have an occasional drink at this point. Like video games, I will have fleeting social engagements but find other things more fun.

You must realize that one day you will die

There’s no easy way to state this without sounding cliche but I eventually had to realize that one day I am damn well going to die. With that in mind, my course to that point seemed like such a waste. My approach was entirely pennywise and pound foolish. Maybe I wasn’t ever sure how to “fill my cup” with good things. Maybe I had just learned what worked. I don’t know; I do know it was going to make me unhappy, forever.

So, I decided to do everything I had wanted to do (within reason.)

Instead of cowering behind a screen or inside of a bottle I took risks. I started to travel. I got back into piloting. I discovered I adore riding motorcycles. I realized that most people, even in Seattle, are decent and want to talk and interact.

Full circle

I’m going to Disneyland this weekend. This trip and all of the other things I have started doing to enjoy life instead of fearing it compliment my true self much more than fear or filler. Filling my cup with awesome things and subsequently using it has, much to my surprise, complimented my personality and life goals.

For instance, do I want kids now that I am more involved with them and have more friends with them? Heck no. If nothing else, the flexibility and adventure has made me more resolved. Likewise, I always wondered if I travel more will I have less time for important work? Interestingly, I have also found that traveling and meeting people has actually helped my career a ton more than just sitting and, well, working.

Suffice to say – just use the cup because in doing so, you’ll enjoy life and are more likely to fill it with awesome things.