Want to live better? Savor the mess, do stupid shit, and embrace it all.

On Monday, I finally got my first taste of Butterbeer, the dark orange drink which Harry Potter and his friends imbibe in the era-defining series.

I tried the brew at Universal Studios Osaka with some of my best friends from Japan, and let me say, this butterscotchy ale dished out at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the highlight.

Vibes were high. I was like a kid in a candy store dancing through the artificial streets. My howl was just as loud as the girls next to me on the Jurassic Park dinosaur ride. On Space Fantasy, I was smiling the entire time with my hands in the air, flailing around like a rag doll.

I leaned into the experience, drawing every ounce of amusement from that fictional utopia.


Because we won’t get many opportunities to prance around an imaginary world with our best mates drinking Butterbeer.

Sure, the lines are a drag. The place is a money pit. But at a certain point you gotta just say, who the hell cares?

Will I be the parent who one day doesn’t want to go to the amusement park with their kids because it’s a hassle?

Or will I be the one with the super soaker in my hand, battling it out with the little tykes in the water park? I choose to be the latter.

Over the years, I’ve beat myself up about being in Europe during college with my girlfriend at the time. I was a downer for much of it.

I was with a beautiful girl, drinking Glühwein in the cold. I should have been in heaven. But I wasn’t, and that’s life. I had what I thought were reasons to be frustrated. We were just two kids running around Europe doing our best — still, the way I acted gets to me.

At a Copenhagen Christmas market, I didn’t want to give into buying these stuffed gnomes. My current self says: buy the damn gnome! Embrace the silliness, the materialism, the hunt for the perfect gnome — it’s not about the gnome, young Vince.

It was about being together and enjoying whatever the hell we were doing, and at the time, I didn’t see that.

I forgive myself. I know I’ve grown.

I’m such a different person now, and maybe I couldn’t be where I am without that experience, because it’s made me realize what’s truly important to me: Cherishing where I am, no matter the season, no matter the difficulty, no matter the pain.

I know I’ll make mistakes in the future. We all will.

We’re human.

But I strive to keep my heart open to the flow of love, no matter how many times it closes. Be easier on yourself.

Life isn’t this linear path from start to finish. It’s a meandering journey through everlasting unknown. That should excite us. It means change is always possible.

With time, we may see where we could have done better, where we’d like to improve, and just how far we’ve come.

“Across almost every culture, the correlation between age and happiness is a smile,” says Scott Galloway on The Diary of a CEO Podcast.

“So 0–25 is beer, Star Wars, college football — it’s usually pretty happy. 25–45 is what I call the shit gets real years. You have economic stress. Someone you love a great deal gets sick and dies. Life gets very hard very fast. Then something wonderful happens usually in your late 40s early 50s, and that is, you start recognizing the finite nature of life; maybe you have some economic security; you establish relationships; you have these wonderful things that are less awful that look smell and feel like you called kids. You realize life is short.”

Do we need to wake up when we’re unhappy at thirty-five to realize it’s time to make a change? We’re so hard on ourselves. There are things we can’t change, like the past. What we can change is who we are now.

My man Confucius summarizes the above quote with the powerful statement:

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”

I just want to be a good human being. I want to let go. I want to have fun. I want to share the love as much as I possibly can.

I don’t want to hold back from releasing what I feel inside, and perhaps — I know — I’m imperfect, as full of faults as anybody else. But damn, I’m trying my best.

I’m sure that you are too. So keep trying. Keep going. Keep believing that it’s worth it to open up your heart, because let me tell you, it is.

What a year it’s been.

A recurring theme throughout it all has been to enjoy this life. I know someone, something, is looking out for me; for us. The little things which hold us back, which we stress about and won’t let go, probably mean nothing.

Savor the mess. Do stupid shit with your friends. Spend the money on souvenirs and rollercoasters. Look like a fool. Take pictures of everything.

Embrace the emotion, the love, the desire, the fear, the hurt, the adventure, the loss, the fall, the resurrection; embrace the people whom you’re with; embrace the growth, however it looks.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say, and maybe that’s the perfect ending to the year, because it’s not the end, but the start of another hopeful day. Cherish it.

One of my soul brothers just arrived to visit me in Japan. I’ll let Michel de Montaigne take the reins on describing our kinship:

“In the friendship I am talking about, our souls are mingled and confounded in so universal a blending that they efface the seam which joins them together so that it cannot be found. If you press me to say why I loved him (Montaigne’s talking about Étienne de La Boétie, his best mate who left the world too early) I feel that it cannot be expressed except by replying: Because it was him: because it was me. Mediating this union there was, behind all my reasoning, behind all that I can say specifically about it some inexplicable force of destiny.”

I’m going to take a month off from writing.

In the past when visiting with friends, pretty much through any occasion, I’ve continued putting my fingers to the keys. I’ve kept this streak alive, believing that I’ll learn something from making myself do this no matter what, no matter where, no matter how.

And I have learned a great deal.

But I’m in this for life. I took a month off of social media in November and came back with a new perspective for it. Honestly, the time off was very impactful. Part of me really wishes social media was not a thing.

Alas, I realize that social media is a key to sharing the messages I hope contribute to the world; it’s a gift to be able to do what I do, and I don’t take that for granted.

It’s the pressure I don’t love. It’s the way it makes me feel — the urge to post, the urge to scroll when with a second of idle time. Anyway, I want to be present with my mate throughout his time here without feeling the obligation to return to the screen.

Is it wrong, anyway, to want to take a break? That’s all I really want.

I know I’ll come back to it revivified and psyched with many fresh stories to tell.

Cheers ya’ll. I am so damn grateful to be on this path, to have friends and family and each one of you to journey alongside. This is just the beginning, for there’s so much left to learn. Much, much love, and happy holidays from VVP.

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