“When I was a kid, when I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a dinosaur, I wanted to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex more than anything in the world, I made my arms short and I roamed the back yard, I chased the neighborhood cats, I growled and I roared, everybody knew me and was afraid of me, and one day my dad said “Bobby you are 17, it’s time to throw childish things aside” and I said “OK Pop”, but he didn’t really say that he said that “Stop being a fucking dinosaur and get a job…. The point is, don’t lose your dinosaur.” –Dr. Robert Doback, Step Brothers (2010)
As long as I can remember, I’ve been goofy and quirky. I was the kid purposefully dressing myself in mismatched clothes and feeling pretty good about it in elementary school. Throw in the facts that I was super smart, painfully shy, and loved school; I bred myself to be a first-class, Type-A weirdo. And you know what? I love that about me.
It’s the Type-A part that was getting me down recently, but that changed a few months ago.
I broke my mold by deciding to take a trip to Buffalo, NY. Normally ANY trip for me is heavily premeditated. Months of thinking, saving, and packing list after packing list, just to have a little bit of fun. But not this time. I was invited to visit Buffalo, I booked a flight, trusted my gut, and I went. (I did write two packing lists in the process, but I digress). Still, I went, without planning and worrying and perseverating about all of the ins and the outs of the time I would spend there.
I had a FANTASTIC time. I was the most “in the moment” I had been, in a long, long while. One of the highlights of the time I spent there was that I was asked how I’d rate my life. Being a Type-A individual, I decided I should quantify it, on a scale of 1-10, and rated it at a 6.5-7.5, depending on the day.
I’ve ruminated about that rating a LOT since that night. I thoughtfully assigned my life a rating of “mostly a 6.5.” I’d been allowing myself to settle for a “6.5 life” for a great deal of time without ever really knowing it. I decided when I came home from Buffalo, my 6.5 life is not ok.
Sure, there are things about my life that I can’t improve on my own. For example, I can’t fall in love with and then marry myself, and have kids with me. Though I’m pretty awesome, it’d be pretty unfulfilling and impossible.
However, I can start to DO better, and DO more for me, to reach towards my 10.
I’ve been speaking up more, allowing myself to be more emotionally vulnerable, running more, doing yoga, painting and writing, and thinking a lot about how to manifest the lifestyle I want. It may mean taking improv classes or trying my hand at stand-up comedy. It may mean a change in location. It may mean a change in career. This stuff is all TBD, but I’m thinking on it and working towards it. Call it soul-searching, if you will.
I’ve been calling this transitional phase in my life “chasing my dinosaur.” (I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t grab a life philosophy from a comedy movie.) I just can’t lose my dinosaur. I can’t settle for a 6.5 life. I’m worth a 10. I want that massive 10. I want to get to a point where, when I go to sleep at the end of the day, I feel like I made my arms short and I roamed around the neighborhood scaring kids because that’s what I want to do.
There’s a lot of joy and freedom to be found in chasing your dinosaur. The process is kind of sucky, but life is imperfect. But sooner than later, I’m confident that my imperfect life is going to be rated much closer to a 10.
My conclusion (thanks to Buffalo) is this: It’s not ok to settle. It’s not ok to hope that the “next thing” is going to be better than your now. You deserve great things. You deserve to feel great things, no matter who you are, or how much money you make, so CHASE them.
The point is, don’t lose your dinosaur.