I never thought I would turn thirty. It’s not like I grew up with any rebellious death wishes or anything like that; in fact, after being diagnosed at age twenty with stage-3 non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, I defiantly said I’m going to make it to 30 or die trying. Still, “That’s an old people age!” I remember thinking as a kid (and continued to even at age twenty-nine), and I never wanted to get old. On March 4th, 2013 I turned thirty. I spent 2012 being twenty-nine, fresh off a break-up, and wound up losing my job and my apartment. In a matter of thirty (lucky number?) days, I met the girl of my dreams, got my first book deal in the works, and am gearing up to move into my dream apartment. Seem unbelievable? I thought so, too. In this brief article, I will tell you exactly how a single marathon spent on my iTunes changed my life forever.
Have you ever wondered why life just seems to work out for some people, whether they appear to deserve it or not? I know I certainly did. I always knew I wanted to become one of those people who just seemed to have it together, with seemingly impossible luck always right around the corner; unfortunately, I had not a clue on how to do it. Positive thinking, I thought. Attend one of those “change your life” seminars? Perhaps. Maybe become an intern and switch careers altogether? Do something new? These all seemed like great ideas, but nothing was clicking at all.
I soon became frustrated because, after all, at 29 you’re at an age when you’re supposedly supposed to have answers, or, at least be on your way there; the truth is I would not have been able to spot a solution if it had hit me right smack-dab in the middle of my forehead.
I’m a Pisces. We’re smart as heck, adventurous, and always good for a laugh, but messy as hell. Realizing that organization and structure had always posed a problem for me, I decided to take fate into my hands and schedule weekly email and office clean-ups; I knew I was going against my very nature, but somehow getting organized helped make me feel more like one of those grown-up people I was supposed to become. I was going through and deleting old pictures, cleaning out my inbox (which always seems like a bottomless pit with hundreds of unanswered emails), and finally deleting some old folders from projects that I’d begun, but never finished; another infamous Pisces trait: flakiness. I came across a folder I knew I definitely wanted to delete; it happened to be a former shared folder that an ex-writing partner and I had created to keep research materials and drafts for a screenplay we were co-writing. What I found in this folder would change everything.
Dr. Wayne Dyer. I knew I’d heard the name before and knew he was involved in self-help, but my knowledge of the man limited to pretty much that, I now had a folder full of his works on my computer and as luck would have it, the very same night I’d planned on going to home to listen to them was also the same night my writing partner & I had a disagreement over creative control with our screenplay. I soon deleted this “friend” from my life, but decided to keep the folder; something told me that it could come in handy someday. That day was today.
Listening to Dyer was not my first venture into self-improvement; in fact. I was a regular at the self-help section at Barnes & Noble. There was something different about his tracks, compared to the dozens of other life coaching gurus I’d listened to in the past; this time I wasn’t just hearing, but I was actually listening. Everything seemed to be going great in my life. I was finally in peak physical condition, writing full-time, got to direct a television pilot (which was always a dream of mine), and even though I was single and alone, I was far from lonely. Yet, happiness escaped me.
As I listened to Dyer, it felt as if he was talking to me directly. In his various books on tape, as well as in audio recordings of live appearances, Dr. Dyer addressed the subject of happiness, and even begged his audience to question what it actually is, if perhaps it’s always been there for each and every one of us, and if we - ourselves - were preventing it from being a part of our everyday lives.
Is it possible that life is absolutely perfect and unfolds exactly how it is meant to? Dyer believes so. He also believes that guilt is a useless emotion that serves no real purpose, which is pretty tough to swallow for someone who happens to be descended from both Italian and Puerto Rican cultures, where guilt is used as a means of keeping your kids from acting up. It’s hard to put into words what happened next, but the best way to explain it would be to say that there is a moment in every person’s life that separates their life into two parts: Who they were and who they will become. I thought I’d had this moment many times before, especially when meeting a woman I was convinced was the one; but no, this moment was all mine and my existentialism happened over iTunes, not while on a date.
I soon came to realize that a major reason for my unhappiness was that I was the one indeed standing in my own way. I blamed myself for things that are and always were out of my control. I firmly believed that my family’s happiness was always within my control, and fully dependent on me being exactly what they needed, when they needed it, without much regard for my needs. I wasn’t trained or used to caring about my own needs in a healthy manner; key words being “healthy manner”, as I was well versed, myself, in learning how to get what I want from people using my own guilt tactics for things that were never going to add up to a better life.
So what’s it all about? For anyone who knows me or follows my writing, you know/knew that question would be here somewhere. Life is truly perfect and unfolds the way it’s meant to. It is truly as simple as that. Guilt is a waste because everything that happens in your life, including the god-awful thing perpetrated by you, has served a lesson. The question is then: what have I learned? If something in life doesn’t work for you, like a faulty part under the hood of your car, it may be time to change up some parts, or replace the entire engine, itself.
What about love? Finding “The One”? I covered this topic in my last article with practical tips on what to look for when you’re out there, but what in the most simplest terms… what to do? You’ve heard it before, maybe even from your parents, but I’ll say it again as someone who is now witnessing in his own life first-hand: You must love yourself before you can ever love another person. I have touched briefly about my own need for a change in my life, but what I forgot to mention was the fact that before this decision I had become someone I neither respected, nor would want to be associated with in any shape, way or form. It’s a powerful moment when you realize you don’t really recognize who you see in the mirror anymore, and who you do see you don’t even much care for.
And how did I go from being a broke, unemployed and unhappy serial dater to a person I actually respect? I simply made a finite decision one day: I would never work at a desk or during the hours of 9am-5pm again. I, literally, put out to the world that I wanted to be a full-time freelance writer and work in my pajamas from the comfort of my own home going forward, and literally landed all three jobs in a row that I applied to. Another point on my bucket-list was that I wanted the opportunity to write a book, finally, but also knew that I wanted more practice. Lo and behold I landed my first ghostwriting opportunity working with a wonderful new storyteller that has entrusted me to tell her story.
Finally, how did I get my final ultimate living situation? Well, after a major falling out with my last roommate, and seeming like I was going to possibly lose my entire security deposit, I could have been quite angry; but truth is, I wasn’t. If there’s any one thing I learned from Wayne Dyer it would be this:If you react to anger with anger of your own, you are operating at the lowest level in enlightenment. If you react with indifference, you’re kind of in between. If you, however, respond to someone’s negativity or anger with love, care and understanding, you are now spreading and promoting peace and are in a place to manifest what you want in life. I may have lost my last apartment, but due to my latest book deal and upcoming directing project, I am in a position financially to be able to afford the apartment of my dreams, and all I had to do was put out to the world that I wanted my own space, that I deserved it, and then let it all go.
What is occurring in my life is known as simply manifesting. And is as easy as putting out into the world what you want, and meditating daily on it. I’m sure you have all heard of ‘The Secret’; this is no new phenomenon. The power of intention, law of attraction, whatever you want to call it, has been around since the dawn of time. You see, the world cannot differentiate whether you’re good or bad, or if what you want is something you really deserve; and the reason is because it simply does not matter. The world is not black and white. Good or bad. Or more deserving and less deserving. We all deserve happiness, to see our dreams come true and live the kind of life we can be proud of. This is what I discovered and it only took me thirty years to get here.