Life is just too short. These words have been keeping me up at night, making me do things I’ve never done. Yes, we hear that phrase a lot, but does it sink in? I mean really sink in. Stop right now. You won’t die if your email, phone, twitter, editing or 10 windows you have up go untouched for a moment. Come on! Just stop. Say it out loud – yes, do it – slowly, swirling each word and the visual picture in your mind around: life is just too short. We only get one chance at this. You get one chance to breathe each day, to create, love, do good for others and experience all you are meant to do. [image above :: film. love.]
There was a time last year after I wrote this post that I had just had it. I was sick and tired of feeling held back, chained to my work and weighed down by a lot of negativity I couldn’t get myself to let go of. I let myself believe I wasn’t enough. I let it get the very best of me.
So, I woke up one morning, got on my computer, and –as if someone had taken over my body completely– booked a ticket to Jamaica. Yes, the next morning, I left for 4 days in Jamaica… by myself. Ari was studying for a big exam and just wanted me to feel better, so he was excited for me. Other than him, I only told Emily, Katharine and my mom where I was headed. Now, I realize not everyone can jet off to Jamaica at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t either, but I had just gotten to that point where “life is too short” was pressing in, suffocating me. I had to do something.
Jamaica was more than I expected. I had one rule there: feel whatever you are feeling. I’m constantly around other people, having to keep my positive spirit up to motivate others and set a good example. I’m a consultant, planner, coach, boss and mentor so I always have to be on my game. I needed a break from the expectations. I needed to be in a place where no one cared what I did or felt. I got just that and so much more.
You can read the first part of my journey here. I arrived in Montego Bay, cleared customs, and as soon as I stepped outside, the catcalls began. I boarded my pre-paid airport transfer to the resort- aka a bus with a bunch of half-drunk college kids smoking pot in the back. What have I gotten myself into!? I kept thinking. This was a horrible idea! Maybe I should just go back to the airport. HELP!!! I hunkered down next to a window and tried to focus on the fast-moving scenery. We were going a good 90 miles per hour in a diesel bus from 1970. It was a two hour ride from Montego Bay to Negril. Longest two hours of my life.
Four Bob Marley albums later, we arrived, and I started to feel a little hope. The Sunset at the Palms staff greeted me with fresh juice and a cold towel while they checked me in. I just about had a temper tantrum when the gentleman told me there was no wifi. After a deep breath and kicking myself in the pants a couple times for being so tech-dependent, I realized that I got exactly what I needed: a forced break. A kind young man took me down a long garden path to my home for the next 3 nights- a tree house. Now, granted, it was a plush tree house, but open to the elements, nonetheless.
That night I tried to just be. There was no room service, no internet, no phone service, no people around but the security guard roaming the property. It was just me and a web-less MacBook which incidentally became my journal. So, I wrote. I listened to the sounds of the jungle and let all my thoughts take flight. When I’m home, I find every reason not to face my feelings. I’ll distract myself with work, Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, more work and more phone calls. I had no choice here: sleep or write. I have a box somewhere filled with dozens of full journals from years past. How I ever had the patience to write is beyond me. Now, my thoughts moved faster than my pen, so I type.
I remember feeling a little unemotional. It was a strange feeling. I thought I’d type out all my thoughts, fears, frustrations and there would be some cathartic ending… crying, laughing, something! Nothing came. I just sat with a sort of dull feeling of unrest. I knew I was there to learn something. I was impatient. Like everything in my life, I just wanted to make it happen. I learned on this trip, that the most sensitive and valuable things for our soul just happen. If we let them.
So I decided to do the opposite of my instinct. It was not easy. When I found myself trying to control my thoughts and find “the answer” I would just breathe. Somewhere between a solo kayak journey in the ocean and a fierce tropical downpour, little grains of truth started to seep in. I started to find clarity. I sat out on the deck in the rain and I started to write again.
Life is just too short. Too short to not forgive yourself when you fall. Everyone makes mistakes. Successful people own them, learn from them, and get back up.
Life is too short not to taste, smell, touch and see everything. Life is too short to say, “what if?”
Life is too short not to wake up every day surrounded by the people you love who lift you up and encourage you to grow. Life is too short to have people in your life who tell you that you aren’t enough. Life is far too short not to tell those people to kindly take a hike. Life is too short to be small.
Life is too short to short not to turn the music up, throw caution to the wind and do something out of your comfort zone. [images below :: my first film photographs]
Life is too short to accept your limitations. You are the only person who can give yourself permission to be great.
Life is too short not to be loved fully… for who we are… right now.
Life is too short not to give everything. So many people have so little. You’ll leave this world with nothing anyway.
Life is too short to not laugh, play -even when things are falling apart- and give thanks for what’s right under your nose.
Life is too short not to express. Say it. Write that letter. Make that call. Love deeply.
Do the thing that you fear most. Step into it, not away. There is life in that.
My list went on and the fire started to burn. I gave myself permission to just let go. I left a lot of pain and self-limiting fear on the beaches of Negril and never looked back.
A few weeks after I returned, we made a magazine. Three weeks after that, I wrote a post that started a movement and took me around the country to meet the people who are now my best friends.
It’s time to take up a no tolerance policy on your life. You know what happens when you let go of the things that you know hinder you from soaring? You find freedom… in business, in relationships, and in the deepest parts of your heart that have been locked away since you were small. When you let go and do what you fear most, you are better for those around you. You are more creative, driven, rested, clear, successful. Your genius can finally surface.
Why, after almost a year, is this last-minute adventure in Jamaica suddenly at the front of my mind? Lately, I’ve been weighing risk: when to dive and when to straight up cannon ball! The risk I took to do something that was 100% for my soul has paid off a hundred times over since.
You don’t have to go to Jamaica to find clarity. But, you do have to stop yourself from just going through the motions as usual. Change your environment, change the music, change the sheets… just do something to shake things up, force yourself to really listen and do the things you were meant to do. Don’t know what they are? You’ll never know unless you try. Try, fail, forgive, and try again. Each time you will have greater clarity.
Somewhere, sometime, someone told you that you weren’t good enough… and you believed it. You just accepted it. You owned it. You can begin new right now. You can begin anywhere. When you are truly living, there is no such thing as someday. Life is just too short not to start.
Congrats to Brooke aka Mrs. Cupcake who is the winner of last post’s prize, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. Email me and I’ll get your book to you.
Pen your own phrase and leave your thoughts here. “Life is too short to ____.” I’ll pick five random comments for a very special little surprise.
I rarely comment but this post sparked something in me. I love that you found your serenity for a few days and were able to reconnect with yourself. So often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and we don’t take the time to give ourselves what we truly need. Inside of each of us lies fears, desires, goals, dreams, etc. and when we’re so busy with our iphones and blackberries and emails to take a moment and just be, I believe that we lose a piece of who we were truly created to be.
Somehow reading this post made me think of one of my favorite gospel songs called Secret Place (Kevin Davidson and The Voices), and the song tells a story about going to our secret place and reconnecting with the Lord. You, in a way found a secret place in Jamaica and you were able to reconnect, refocus and just be.
Kudos to you Lara.
Life is too short to eat bad cupcakes!
Life is too short not to use real butter!
thank you, needed to read this tonight
“Life is far too short not to tell those people to kindly take a hike.”
Love this line. Need to do this more often myself!
Life is to short to give in to your insecurities.
I needed the reminder of your trip. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m swimming against a current and need to just stop swimming. Sometimes it takes a moment to remind yourself to breathe, and then everything falls into place.
Life is too short to not take the plunge! And… life is too short to let other people’s opinions get to you.
It has almost been six months since I left the comment on your blog Lara that changed my life. Rather you, Jeff, and all the other wonderful people I’ve met through MTH have changed my life.
What I’ve been telling myself every night since then… Life is too short to not do what you love.
Lots of tears, Katie. Overwhelmed with gratitude for all you’ve taught me in those 6 months too. xo
Life is too short to pick your toe nails.
This post really hit home with me, as I have been on a recent quest to find that spark that I feel like has been dim the past few months.
More so now, as I sit here in my family room with my family sharing memories and stories of my Grandmother that passed away this week, the saying “life is too short” is so true. If I have learned anything through my recent months of being still have really been to simply do what makes me happy and not worry about what others feel. Funny because its also something that was a learned lesson that was taught to me by my late Grandmother. How ironic the timing of this post and what I have been feeling for almost two months.
Letting go of many things & its time to make things happen! Great post!
Oh, Latrice, your strength always amazes me. You find joy in suffering and give so much of yourself to encourage others. Just read your note: “Have you ever considered the fact that God might have a bigger plan for you than you have for yourself?” Thank you for that. Thinking of you.
Lara, thank you so much for this. It definitely came at the perfect time for me. I actually just found myself thinking that I need a refresher from MTH. Exactly. What. I needed. It totally brought me back to laying on the floor in DC, thinking about the future and what my life will be like. This whole post brought my own thoughts and feelings back to me. Thank you.
For me right now, life is too short to focus on what other people are or are not doing. I have to STOP and just make things happen.
Lauren, I so vividly remember the words you spoke in DC. I have loved watching you own your confidence and brilliance since that moment. Speaking powerful words puts things in motion. So proud of you!
Life is too short to be comparing myself, my business, my success and failures to others. They are not me nor am I them. My life is what I make it.
Thank you so much for the words in this post. They came at exactly the right time for me.
Life’s too short to not take what you’ve said and do something with. I have a lot on my mind now and I’m going journal it!!
Life is too short to worry about not being able to have children when there are so many beautiful orphans longing for a family RIGHT NOW!
Life is too short to ever be complacent with your life. I’ve had 3 of your posts open this week for me to read when I make the time, but for some reason I just clicked this link from Sarah Boutwell’s tweet and read the entire post. And you know what? It was JUST the encouragement I needed! It felt a little like a refresher from MTH Nashville. 😉 What a great thing you did for yourself by taking that break though! It’s crazy how hard it is to rip ourselves away from the tech world, isn’t it? Yet it’s SO good for our spirit sometimes. Alright, I’m rambling because I’m tired. Haha!
P.S. Great first film shots! Enjoying photography these days??
Laura, if anyone knows how to make the most of tough situations, it’s you. Your optimism always lifts me up. Yes, I am really enjoying playing with photography lately. I need a few lessons from great people though. Hint hint ; )
I don’t want to say that this post came at a perfect time for me, because I can’t really put my finger on what perfect is anymore. Since meeting with you, every moment has been everything and nothing in it’s own way, holding me back and pushing me forward all at the same time. I can say that your post today has reminded me that truly, my biggest obstacle is myself and nobody can change that except for me. In my mind, life is too short to make excuses. It’s time for me to dive in and own it, everyday and in every way. Thank you Lara, you’re an amazing woman. Truly.
Life is too short to not know Jesus.
Life is too short to not believe in myself. Life is too short to let people let me believe I can’t do it. Life is too short to not reinvent yourself. Life is too short to think that just because you have kids and responsibility you can’t take risks that will make you – and your family by extension – happier.
Lara – as usual, your posts are inspiring. I decided to start pursuing a different path about 6 months ago after feeling cornered in a very toxic work situation for 10 (!!!) years. I’ve been charging after my dreams with a force to be reckoned with…. And hopefully soon my dream job will be my full time job and I can finally release the ties of toxicity in my life. Whenever I read your blog I am reminded how it IS possible… And I WILL do it. Thank you!!!!
Life is too short to stay angry. Life is to short not to love your husband with all that you have within you. Life is too short not to proclaim your reason for living.
WOW! What a powerful message. Thanks so much for making me sit here and just let it soak in.
Life if too short to not be happy. Do what you love. Tell your loved ones you love them. Smile. Be full and happy.
Haha! I will GLADLY help you with that, but I know you always surrounded by a ton of amazing photographers! 😉
Life is too Short. Period. Thank you for this.
what was i THINKING reading this before my next client arrives for a meeting?! i’m fighting back tears. thanks for the post, Lara. sometimes hearing it/reading it from someone else is almost a permissive freedom in and of itself.
Life is just too short to wait to pursue your dreams.
Lara, thank you for this, it is hugely inspiring and just what I needed today! I have been feeling kind of low recently myself and I just needed a swift kick in the pants. Thanks again! 😀
Life is too short for complaining, whining and negativity
Life is too short to not sing and dance to your favorite songs.
Life is too short to be scared that who you are isn’t good enough. Maybe if I say that out loud enough times I’ll start to believe it?
Lara, thank you for sharing this inspiring post. I have been longing to do something similar for a while, but I keep pushing it out of my mind and occupying myself with business and the impossible/endless list of things to accomplish. For me, life is too short to not STOP and enjoy your time with loved ones. The emails, tweets, facebook updates, etc…will all be there when you get back. 🙂 I just had a b-day weekend and I disconnected with tech & connected with my husband & children, it was just what I needed.♥
Awesome message as always. Your messages always bring hope and remind me that with God all things are possible if we would simply, as a child, believe.
Life is too short to live by someone else’s agenda. God has placed a huge business idea on my heart and I am scared to death to walk into it, not because of failure, but because of success. With Him it will succeed. Whew! I can no longer allow family to keep me from walking out what God has placed within me.
Thanks again and T.J. – Amen!
Life is too short to keep your love all to yourself…give it to others and it will come back to you tenfold!
Life is too short to not laugh – big laughs, loud laughs, quiet laughs. Let it out.
Almost 2 months ago I lost one of my best friends out of the blue – he was 26 and died of a heart attack. After that experience, I wake up every day realizing life is too short and we need to take advantage of every moment. When not planning weddings, I run a non profit for adults with disabilities – it’s a summer camp program that changes lives (www.ReCreationCampoc.com)…this summer’s theme for the counselors is living in the moment and taking advantage of today, inspired by my experience after Chris’ death. Thank you for reminding me in a different way why this is such an important theme and one I have to constantly remind myself about. I leave for camp in 4 days and although this morning has got the best of me and my to do list, I feel more inspired to take on the day and live in the moment, because you are right, life is way too short. Thank you.
Life is too short to be unhappy. Life is too short to let fear and doubt trap you. I’m slowly learning that lesson, but am still too scared to put the wheels 100% in motion. Thank you Lara for your message and your work. Your work and faith are inspirational. Someday I pray I’ll be able to attend an MTH workshop and be lit on fire like so many others.
Lara, thank you so much for posting this. I have so many days where I am totally running like a chicken with my head cut off. Going, going, going with little understanding about where I am headed that day. Then feeling lost and a sense of guilt because I am not making something happen. Taking off and forcing myself into a quiet place of respite and rejuvenation is needed and you have given me the fuel to take an impromptu vacay such as this.
Life is too short not to forgive. There is too much goodness in the world to hold on to the bad, the hurts and the anger.
Life is too short to pretend to be someone your not.
life is too short indeed! Glad you took some time off
Life is too short not live it with romance and adventure.
Love this post. I am a new reader of your blog and feel a kindred spirit to you, Lara.
I’ve bookmarked it to return to often on days I start feeling my life is ‘mediocre’– I can always book a ticket to Jamaica for a wake-up call!
Hi Morgan! So glad to “meet” you and I look forward to keeping up with you as well. I love your words!
WOW! I love your post. Thanks for this reminder. First time reader here… found you through MorganDayCecil’s twitter.
Life is too short to _put off till tomorrow a wonderful adventure you can have today. Stop and enjoy each moment and what you have right now in your life.
Katherine so true! We need to harness the zest for the daily adventure of life!
First, I have to say that I’m a virgin commenter on your blog. I love to read it and I ALWAYS get some form of inspiration on how to improve something in my life. However, after reading this post, I never could have imagined how it impacted me.
We’ve recently enrolled our three year old in preschool. With the change in schedule, he has been completely out of his element. He falls asleep on the way home and wakes up clingy/grouchy/whiney… right in the middle of me trying to complete the million tasks that moms have to complete, dinner, dishes, etc. Anyway, before I lose you with this uber long post, after reading your post today I realized that no matter his mood, he’s still the cutest little love muffin ever. So, I’ve decided to document a “life is too short to” quote in my journal each day. Today is “life is too short to not enjoy every moment regardless… good or bad. Each moment creates who we are and directly influences the lives of our children” regardless if it’s the moment where your clingy child is whiney and demanding your attention. Dinner can wait, dishes can wait, children look for an unending love and attention from their moms and that’s what I vow to give my little man…. Thank you Lara.
…glad to soak this up on a friday. truly inspiring and just what i needed to tackle the long weekend ahead. thank you!
Live is to short to be complacent.
I feel that complacency is a dangerous place to be, but yet I always seem to catch myself being there.
When we are complacent in life it affects everything about us….we just get comfortable in our relationships we don’t strive to continually wow our spouses…
We don’t show our children that growth and forward movement is a good thing and then we wonder why we have people that just want to sit around and don’t have ambition and drive.
It’s so easy to be complacent but at the end of life I don’t want to look back and see that I’m sitting in the same exact place that I was 75 yrs ago!
So again.. Life is too short to be complacent!
“Life is to short to worry.”
Oh bless you Lara for sending this out there.
Thank you thank you thank you
love. purely, fully, and irrationally. I nearly died a few years back and actually just blogged about this…. https://bit.ly/cYo8qN
Life is just too short to be intimidated. Don’t let intimidation stand in the way of your dreams. I feel like I’ve made so many things happen after attending MTH, and I continue to strive towards my goals and to discover my life’s purpose. Loved this post Lara.
Life is too short to worry what others feel about you – what you feel is all that counts.
Seriously, Lara this post is so inspirational so moving and so prophetic. I am in awe of your courage, openness and wisdom! such powerful stuff! wow.
Thank you so much Vania. So grateful to know you and be inspired by you. xo
I recently have been seriously discouraged. Questioning my actions for our business. Why did the last 3 people I met with not book me? That never happens. What did I do wrong? Why dont we have as many inquiries as we did the year before? I find I have a passion for more than just wedding photography. My inner-Rach tells me Im selfish for wanting to give up so much to just “try something new”! Thank you for this post. Ive read it about 3 times now and I cant be more encouraged to just let go and allow myself to really dive into ME and my husband. We really want to relocate. Crazy? Yes. Fun? Yes. Scary. MOST DEFINITELY! But, JUST DIVE IN! 🙂 Thanks…
Life’s too short to let fear and anxiety suffocate me (as it has for the past 2 years) from living my dreams, enjoy the loves of my life and make memories that count.
Thanks Lara for reminding me that life’s too short to NOT live it to the fullest and that even the people we admire the most and think have it all together (you) sometimes have insecurities like I do- we’re only human.
Life is too short to watch your ideas & goals materialized by others, step up and make life yours! 😉
Thanks for sharing this powerful post Lara! 😉
Life is too short to let fear in! I believe that fear is the root of all reasons why people do not live the lives of their dreams. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of what others will think, etc. Let’s not let fear take root in our lives!
I don’t know how many times I’ve read this post since you posted it. I’ve been thinking about how life is too short to wait in the wings – you’ve got to burst out and do your thing.
I remember in December checking out the links Mr. Confero was posting via Twitter and Facebook and being BLOWN AWAY by how encouraged I was! For months now I’ve thought about how EVENTUALLY I’ll get around to doing something about the ideas rolling around in my head. It’s been a slow process, but I’ve noticed that the more I do the faster I do something else, the bigger my jumps get, and the more inspired I am to grow, grow, grow. I get discouraged very quickly when I compare where I am NOW with where I want to be and what I know I am capable of. As of this moment I SWEAR OFF being ugly to myself about that disparity. Life’s too short to beat yourself up!!
Thanks so much, to everyone who is part of Team MTH2010.
Life is too short to not love hard and long, be happy in the simple things, and to dream big. real big.
thank you for your continued inspiration. some of this post needs to be in quotes on my tea bags in the morning:)
From the bottom of my heart – THANK YOU!!! This has hit home for me b/c I am in that same place right now! “Life is too short to hold back on being who I truly am- who God put me on this earth to be – GREAT!” I love you and wish you all the best that God can give!! Many many blessings to you!
Holy cow…I could make a list of things to fill in that blank.
Life is too short to keep looking over your shoulder.
Life is too short to worry about tomorrow. Just be thankful it comes.
Life is too short to be stuck.
Life is too short to stay miserable.
Life is too short not to eat lots of cupcakes. 🙂
Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller 🙂
Oh! And I forgot…BRAVO! Thanks for sharing this! Everyone needs to remember to take care of themselves…body & soul!
Life is too short to wait for dreams to come to you. Go get them! Less than a year ago my husband and I quit our jobs and moved around the world to pursue our dream. It has be the biggest challenge, blessing, joy, change, and adventure that we could have ever imagined.
Life is too short to keep putting myself on the back burner.
Yes, life is too short… to not believe in myself like I used to, like when I was a teen and nothing could stop me and my dreams… Got to work at getting this part of me back! Thank you for the inspiration, lara. Much appreciated!
Among other things, life is too short to eat bad chocolate.
Found this via Stephanie Meissner’s blog- a lot of great things here. Thanks for sharing.
Life is too short to wear sensible shoes… or was that already taken? Lara, I just need to tell you that I am sitting here in my office… with all glass walls and just tearing up from reading this… I have been feeling exactly as you were feeling before you went across the waters to the sands of Jamaica. I am inspired and just needed to let you know how much this post means to me… right now.. immediately in my life. And I want to thank you! Thank you for saying it… thank you for doing it… thank you for sharing it.
Oh girl. I wish I could hug you right now and just sit down and talk. Praying for you friend. So much!