Many years ago, my sister had a date with an interesting character. He was a nice enough guy, “very Jersey-Guido” with gold chains and a big-toothed smile. As Janice told him about her cool and interesting life as an entrepreneurial graphic designer living in Boulder, etc., Guido Guy blurted out, “Who’s better than you?” with his New Jersey, Italian twang.
The relationship never flourished but the phrase stuck in our family. Whenever one of us is living out a dream, pursuing a passion or eating an amazing dessert, we gleefully exclaim, “Who’s better than you?” Sometimes, if we’re together doing something special, we’ll say, “Who’s better than us?” (using the NJ- Italian-Guido drawl of course) and if we’re alone, we might say, “Who’s better than ME?” - out loud.
You get the idea.
It’s been a family joke all these years, but I can’t help noticing when I’m having a lot of these “Whose better than you/us/me” moments in my life.
And when I’m not.
I use this whimsical phrase as my touch-stone to help me stay on track in living my best life.
My recent trip to Greece created an on-going string of “Who’s better than me/us?” moments as Ralph and I hiked in the impressive mountains, swam in the pristine waters and ate fresh and delicious food.
We are continuing our sabbatical from day-to-day life as we had been living. But real life always creeps in.
Ralph, schooled as an engineer and possessed with a passion for building everything from our house to a better breakfast sandwich, is constantly “engineering” our lives to help keep us on track for adventure, excitement and away from financial ruins as he constructs an array of interesting projects for us to engage in and expertly handles all of our logistics. And me, a communications major and health advocate, maintains all relations with new friends and old, manages our stays in various places and is responsible for anything that involves food – shopping, cooking, restaurant choices, etc. Good to know those college educations are still of use.
For those of you who don’t know, as recent empty nesters, Ralph and I made an unconventional choice to ditch the normal pattern of working extra hard in our 50s to pay for material things and save for retirement. Instead, upon Ryan’s launch to college, we put our house on the rental market, pursued a variety of short-lived, income generating projects and are traveling and staying curious until the next steps are revealed.
We chose a repeat jaunt to Greece because although this country is inarguably stunning, it also screams rawness, reality and honesty as most anything goes (bathing suits?? not necessary) and you could turn any corner and find a dilapidated town or ancient ruins. The people are lovely and food naturally organic and always local. It’s fantastic.
Although we don’t have the answers, we’re beginning to see things more clearly, even if the information is more about what we don’t want than what we do.
Now, over a year into our journey, I realize that we’re in too deep to look back. There’s no longer the option to settle into a lifestyle (in work or play) that doesn’t keep me feeling alive and excited. My perspective has changed way too much. Life looks very different at the other end of this year and I can’t un-know what giving ourselves this time has taught us. We have no choice but to forge ahead on the quest for who knows what.
Traveling, meeting new people, exploring new ways to live and earn money (ex: living and teaching yoga in a tree house in Costa Rica for a while, renovating and flipping a condo in Florida for quick cash, taking my coaching business on the road, etc . . . ) has created many “Who’s better than me?” moments in my life.
If the term resonates, what’s your version?
Next September I’m leading a Yoga, Hiking, and Culinary Adventure IN GREECE. If the thought of participating in this fusion of activities would give you a “WHO’S BETTER THAN ME” response that you can feel reverberating in your bones, consider joining me! Details will be coming soon.