I DON'T WANT TO GROW UP
Excerpt from Chapter 1 Being Born
"When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy." They told me I didn't understand the assignment. I told them they didn't understand life." -John Lennon
Some believe in life after death. I believe in life after birth. And if there is a heaven, it resides here--on Earth--not in some faraway galaxy in our imaginations, or if you are good enough, or if Jesus loves you enough, or if you save enough money, or if you are successful. Heaven exists for us all--because we were born here. When we came into being for the first time, in our mother's womb, we floated in ecstasy. We were warm, well-fed, and taken care of--we had everything we needed. Then one day we were born, and our eyes opened up to a whole new and even greater world--albeit scary at first. But once we adjusted, our eyes opened wide with wonder and amazement.
Our natural state was one of awe.
Everything around us moved with life and sparkling energy. Colors were vivid. And the shapes. The sounds! Overwhelmed we were with feelings of joy, delight, fear, and curiosity. Everything was so big and exciting and scary and wonderful. Of course, we couldn't say a word of this to other humans, so we tried to communicate through feeling and with our eyes, but they just couldn't understand, and we couldn't understand why. What we wanted so desperately to say we had no words for--and still have no words for--because what we were experiencing was pure feeling. So today when we look into a baby's eyes and see that same awe, we gasp at its purity.
We are born knowing everything there is to know--we just can't say it. When we grow up and learn to speak, we forget what we wanted so desperately to say.
Deep inside every one of us exists that same child who knows everything there is to know, yet when we tap in, we still cannot put it into words. Our vocabulary is too unevolved, existing on an extraordinarily basic level. Sure, we have long, exhaustive combinations of letters and figures for animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and so forth, but nothing to describe that overwhelming state of awe we are born into. That state we glimpse when we experience a few moments of mindless thought, perhaps while peering into some vast landscape like the Grand Canyon, or gazing out over the ocean, or while surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking, scuba diving, skydiving, hiking, running, fishing, sailing. We only have one word in the entire English language that even comes close. That word is love.
This book is about making love your life's purpose. It's about living--beyond all else--and spending your entire life in that childlike state of awe. It's about never growing up.
Sound selfish? Childish? Irresponsible?
This book is about dying and going to heaven--and remembering you are there. I've done my fair share of travel, and I'm here to tell you, there is Heaven on Earth. We have wild blue oceans, grandiose mountains, sparkling deserts, dripping rainforests, and otherworldly landscapes with more awe than you could fit into a lifetime. A lifetime! This book is about prioritizing experience and living out the rest of your days in a continuous state of wonder, curiosity, and never-ending adventure. Sound impossible? Idealistic? Expensive? Solely for rich trustafarian kids born into a life of wealth and privilege?
We are all privileged.
Privileged beyond comprehension. To the degree that most of us take our own wealth for granted. Let's face it, if you live in today's America, you are more likely to overeat than starve, more likely to commit suicide than be killed, and your chances of being eaten by another animal are, well--for all intents and purposes--zero.
We can roam about freely with little restriction or limitation aside from our own. Transportation is cheap. We have buses, trains, Uber and Lyft. You can walk, bike, hitchhike, or fly. We were born into the world of Airbnb, couch surfing, hostels, and 640 million acres of public land where you can camp--usually for free.
By the way, those public lands just happen to be the most beautiful places on Earth. All of this you inherited, just by being an American.
But please, let's not take this for granted. Countless individuals have dedicated their lives--lost their lives in many cases--so that we could enjoy this free land. Battles have been fought, both in the battlegrounds and in the courtrooms, so that you and I could enjoy these basic freedoms. The fight for public land has been a long arduous battle. You can thank Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and so many others before our time.
The real question is--what are you going to do about it?
How to show our gratitude? By wasting away our precious freedoms working a job we hate, all for the sake of raising children to do the same? Does this sound normal? Well, it should. It's what millions of people do every day.
Let's step back for a moment. Someone has to run the show. Someone has to be the accountant, the lawyer, the factory worker, the dentist, the brain surgeon. Someone has to be responsible.
Rest assured--plenty will. Most of these fine individuals would never even consider purchasing a book called I Don't Want to Grow Up. They are the "lucky" ones--you know who they are--the ones with drive, ambition, and direction. The ones who were born to be analysts, scientists, therapists. The ones who got good grades in school and were focused and determined to pursue careers with excitement and dedication. We need them--and pay them handsomely for their services. And this is all very well and fine and good, but for the rest of us--you know who you are--fidgety in school, distracted, staring out the window at pretty girls (or pretty boys), daydreaming about things you'd rather be doing if you weren't stuck in class, or detention, or whatever predicament you happen to find yourself trapped in at the moment.
I'm simply here to enlighten you that not growing up is an option, and it's never too late to start. The world needs you, more than you might think. Don't think of your desire to never grow up as a distraction, but as a calling. This isn't about kicking back in your mom's basement playing video games. It's about living the life you were born to live.
This world needs "crazy" people-- now more than ever before. The ones on the fringes of society who don't quite fit in. Who don't necessarily subscribe to the Hollywood version of the American Dream. They are the dreamers--artists, musicians, adrenaline junkies, nomads, life seekers. Without them, the world would be one cold, stale, miserable place.
The world needs freaks. Those who doubt conventional wisdom, question authority, and continually search for newer, better ways to live.
Freaks change the world.
End of sample.