“Dude, you’re like the happiest person I know.” A friend of mine recently said this to me as we strolled Main Street in rolled jeans and flip-flops. We stared at the tangerine jam sunset wash over Ajax, the nearly 13,000-foot peak that looms above Telluride. I laughed off the comment. If cartoon thought bubbles appeared over my head he’d probably not have that opinion of me. But, if you know me, then you know I like to smile. And laugh. A lot. I believe laughter is the soundtrack to a happy life and I like to tune it in and turn it up.
Now, I am no philosopher or self help coach. But I do some little things that help me keep the crack and stay on the positive side of the street. Here are fifty of the things I do (in no particular order) and maybe you should too.
1. Go outside.
2. Sit down outside somewhere with your phone off and stare at something pretty. Mellow out.
3. Call Mom.
4. Call Dad.
5. Spend time with small children. Go on a hike with them. They’re little Buddhas.
6. Ski. Ski more. Ski all the time. Every damn month of the year. It’s a mental health choice.
7. Camp more than you do right now. Nigh-nigh time in a sleeping bag is an 8-hour hug.
8. Cook food outside…even when you don’t have to. It tastes better.
9. Travel at a river’s pace.
10. On road trips, drive barefoot with the windows down and the tunes way, way up.
11. Dive into good music. Spend time expanding your library.
12. Dance like everyone’s watching because they probably are. Just don’t give a damn. Get your groove on, my dudes.
13. Stand with your friends in circles on Main Street. It breeds great conversation.
14. Poop jokes, more poop jokes.
15. Hilary Oliver has instructed me to pet more dogs, specifically golden retrievers. It works.
16. By hook or by crook, expand your tribe. Life is a team sport.
17. Read any/everything Brendan Leonard writes. It’ll make you laugh all of your ass off. Then it’ll make you think.
18. Same goes for Hilary Oliver. She is a shining light in outdoor media.
19. I don’t think luck is a real thing. But hard work is and that breeds opportunity.
20. Burn passion in the potbelly stove of hustle. Get on that grind. Nobody ever got nothin’ sitting on the couch.
21. “Do shit. Make shit.” – Brendan Leonard
22. However you define it, make art. Especially weird stuff. We all need that right now.
23. Find your thing and do that thing.
24. Watch all the films that 5Point Film Fest and Mountainfilm show. Attend the festivals. They’re heartwarming spectacles of awesomeness.
25. Picnics on top of mountains.
26. Coffee, coffee, coffee, and coffee.
27. Make others laugh as much as you can.
28. More hugs.
29. Pronounce and announce your happiness. I like to crow like Peter and sound my barbaric yawp atop ridgelines, during creamy powder turns and pole plants, during trail runs, or anywhere on any adventure. It works.
30. Do serious things and do not take yourself serious.
31. Take as much as possible and give back at least twice as much.
32. Keep learning. Educate yourself. Activate.
33. Wear funny socks. They’re conversation starters. Costumes on river trips are a must, too.
34. Wear well-made flannels. The weight of good craftsmanship paired with angel soft plaid is a smile producer.
35. Tell stories of adventures while sitting on back bumpers and tailgates.
36. During the first snow of the year, go outside, look up, and close your eyes. Stand there, still, for a few moments.
37. Get a townie bike. Use it. A lot.
38. Take time to decompress in solitude. Sit. Stay. Criss cross applesauce amongst aspen trees.
39. Give back and sit in gratitude daily.
40. Diversify your ride, homie. Find all the ways you get stoked and stay stoked. Ski, bike, climb, boat, hike, skate, board, blade, whatevs. Do it, do it all, and do it often.
41. Chat with elders.
42. Do meaningful play in unstructured environments.
43. Share adventures with those you love. FRIENDSHIP SPORTS!
44. Don’t shy away from pain of any kind. Do not live according to a thousand forms of fear.
45. Seek hippie-ness, i.e. vapor caves, hot springs, salt flats, sand dunes, and beyond.
46. Seek more local adventure. There’s cool stuff in your hometown. Find it.
47. Make plans. Follow through.
48. Shove Mexican food, pizza, donuts, chocolate, ice cream, and any sort of tasty grub into a backpack. Take that backpack to a rad spot outside. Eat that backpack.
49. Wear good shades and comfy flip-flops and go for a stroll. Sun on the beak and sauntering with a flop pace will make you grin.
50. Say yes to more adventure.