WHAT IS #365DaysToLive? After really looking at my current existence, I decided to both live life and parent my son as if I knew I only had 365 days to live. The following is a blog post within that series.


Yesterday was pretty awesome as #365DaysToLive days go. I spent the day laughing and visiting with my family. Noah and I had some personal goof-around time together. We also went and visited my grandpa whose health is in decline. There was no part of yesterday that I wouldn’t be happy to have lived should everything end in 365 days.


I have felt fairly trapped in our current apartment complex, like an irritated hamster on a wheel that squeaks way too loud for me to enjoy running nowhere.

We ended up living here out of semi-desperation, unable to find another place to rent in time, and we’re somehow going on two years here. When the initial lease was coming to an end, I searched for six straight weeks for a place we could rent instead, but because of all sorts of weird factors, we couldn’t find one that worked, so we renewed with the same complex and switched apartments to something quieter and smaller. It is what it is. Sometimes the squeaky hamster wheel gets more squeaky.

Anyway, I have been intrinsically over-aware just how much this living space stifles my ability to be truly creative. I spend more time enjoying my eye twitch some days than I do spilling my weirdness out to the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very fortunate to live in such a place. I’ve definitely made it my own. That being said, the location is difficult. The few amenities it has are outside next to a loud freeway. I don’t have enough room inside to really extend my elbows and get lost in the creative workflow. My sense of humor dips away to hide in the shadows of bustle more often than I’d like. All of it makes me more serious and less easy-going than I ever have been.

I have come to really believe that if you’re going to work from home, you need to have some extra space and you need to be comfortable with everything that surrounds you. To feel cooped up and uncomfortable just leads to intense cabin fever from which one is always trying to escape.

One problem is that since I walked away from my ongoing “easy” escape (poker) to live life more fully and positively with this challenge, and because the vast majority of my healthy friends are also parents who can’t just leave their kids whenever I feel caged, the cabin fever is already growing and will only continue to  grow. It’s a mathematical certainty.

And so, after lots of debate and anxiety, and after lots more house searching where I came up blank, I placed my faith in this #365DaysToLive challenge. I bit the bullet and signed the lease on a new apartment that is currently being constructed. We’ll be moving into it in a couple months.

It’s a lot more expensive than where we are now. That’s the anxiety-inducing part.

But everything else about it is beyond awesome. It’s in a way better location. It’s got a kickass kitchen that I’ll actually want to cook in. It’s got a few hundred extra square feet compared to our current place, so I’ll be able to stretch out and not feel so trapped. It’ll shave off a couple minutes of the drive to/from Noah’s other home. The amenities are insanely awesome, and feel like they were built just to give me everything I need to be as creative as I have ever been, and to relax, and most importantly… To escape and unwind from the cabin fever or the stresses of life without going anywhere or doing anything unhealthy.

I put the commitment off and put it off some more, but finally bit the bullet. Everything about the new place feels so right to me. It feels like we were meant to be there. It just feels like really good things are going to happen there for me and my child. And I think I’m going to regret it if I don’t listen to those feelings.


I have this credit card that I have purchased just about everything on for a very long time now. I’m talking years and years. And years. It gives me unexpiring airline miles for each purchase, plus it gave me a giant batch of them when I signed up for the card. Each month I pay off the balance, and each month I have always known the miles were stacking up, but I’ve never looked at the balance. I don’t know why. I guess I liked knowing the time would come when I’d wanna use them all!

When I started the #365DaysToLive challenge, I knew I wanted to add travel to my list wherever possible. I looked at the balance, and was shocked to see that there was a treasure trove of miles to use.

The gears started turning. The names of all the people around the world that I’ve wanted to visit for years started flying onto a list. The places I’ve wanted to take myself and my child went onto another list. It seemed the world, in the loading of a single screen, suddenly became my oyster.


The first thing I looked at were trips to London, where my brother has lived with his family for many years. You remember Eric from several posts, particularly the one where we snuck him into Utah…

I could have used my miles, but for some very weird reason there was a roundtrip ticket for a few hundred bucks on a flight that leaves Wednesday. Usually the tickets run between $1300 and $1800.

No reason to waste my airline miles when there is a deal that good!

I didn’t give much thought to it at all. I messaged my brother back and forth for a couple minutes to make sure it would work, and booked the ticket before the mysterious deal disappeared. Two hours later, the price had skyrocketed to $1800 for the cheapest flight out. I don’t know if the universe just felt like handing me a gift, or what. But I’ll take it. And I’m thankful for it.

When I saw the fare, I just knew that it was time for a completely spontaneous trip to see my brother and explore another part of the world with him. And so, the first adventure of my #365DaysToLive challenge is on the calendar.



That wasn’t today (Day 6). That was a few days ago. I just forgot to mention it to you all.

Today was “finalize the lease day,” and start “really busting my ass to get ready for this trip day.” There’s a lot of work to do today and tomorrow, especially if I’m going to try and add in a couple #365DaysToLive moments to it all.

Had I not been diving into this challenge, and living as if I had only 365 days left to live, I assure you I would never have looked at those flights. Even if I had looked at those flights, I probably would have teeter tottered, debating whether or not I could fit such a trip into my life at the moment, and I would have lost the window to get the tickets so cheap.

I am loving this challenge. I am so excited about so many things that I haven’t even told you all I’ve been setting up for myself. I am so excited about my list. I am so excited for what my son will take away from all of it. And I’m really, really excited to see so many people and go so many places that I’ve been putting off for way too long now.

I promised myself I’d be publicly honest with the world in how I was doing improving those graphs I showed you in the first #365DaysToLive post. I’ll do that every week or two. Today is the end of week one, and I am thrilled that things have already changed this much. Here are both charts for comparison:


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I’m even more excited about this now than I was when I started.

The longer I do this and the more I get into it, the more I just love when you all message or comment saying you’re also getting in on the #365DaysToLive action.

I’ve gotten messages from many of you saying you don’t know where to start.

And it’s true. Thinking about (literally overnight) changing from BLAH to I’M GONNA DO IT ALL! isn’t the easiest thing to do. That’s why I’m sharing each day with you, as much as I can, so that you can see how I do it and see that it’s not some giant, expensive adventure every single day.

I haven’t had time to focus on everything I want to, yet. I haven’t had a chance to jump back into my fitness goals or dive into my sleeping issues.  And so those areas of my life haven’t really improved. I’m okay with that because I know I’ll get there eventually!

I’ve definitely learned that when you’ve set your entire life to function and flow in BLAHVILLE, there is a lot that must be done to set it up to function in WOOHOOVILLE. The process is exhausting, but no matter how depleted the process makes me, well… I guess those charts speak for themselves.

You can keep making excuses, and you can keep planning to start tomorrow. Or you can just dive in having no idea how you’ll do it. I suggest you do the latter, and just see what happens. I’m guessing lots of good things.

Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog