Go With Gusto

Several years ago, I was watching a game show on tv and this little old woman came on. She must have been in her eighties, but she exuded energy and vitality like you wouldn’t believe. The host of the show asked her where she got her enthusiasm, and I’ll never forget her reply. She said she lived by the motto, “Go With Gusto” and that if you did anything in life, you should do it wholeheartedly.  The exchange only lasted a few moments but it really changed my life.

Because I’m a nerd and love any excuse to use a dictionary, here’s the lowdown on the #wordoftheday. Gusto is defined as great enjoyment, energy, and enthusiasm, and you will often see it next to words like relish, delight, and exhilaration. The first known use of the word was back in 1620.  So people have been #GoingWithGusto for almost 400 years!

Let’s think about that for a second. How much gusto have you shown in just the last 4 hours? If you’re like me, probably not enough. It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine of life. We often forget or don’t see the little miracles that surround us daily. We need to fight complacency with all we’ve got and delight in the wonder of everyday moments. I get a small heart pang every time I look outside and see my gorgeous Utah mountains, or when I hear someone laugh, or when my dog jumps into my lap for a cuddle. It’s so important to take the time to recognize these special moments.

Another aspect of “Going with Gusto” is saying yes to opportunities that come your way. Life has a way of throwing curve balls and changing your plans, but usually, if you are flexible, the outcome is far better than what you expected.

For instance, a while back my brother and sister-in-law offered me the chance to go to with them and see Imagine Dragons.  I got the call in the middle of a hair appointment and wasn’t sure I’d be available to go. The concert would start soon and I felt pretty tired. But I thought to myself, opportunities like this don’t come around too often. So I went and I had a blast. I got to see a band that I like and the energy in the crowd made me forget my exhaustion for a while. Think of what I might have missed if I had chosen to go home and watch Netflix.

Opportunities come in all sizes and the choice might not always be as exciting as a concert. Maybe someone just invites you to go for a walk with them or to go get an ice-cream. Maybe you take the initiative and invite someone else. Follow Nike’s advice and, “Just do it,” because it is in the act of doing that makes life an adventure. But not just going through the motions, by going with gusto and a lust to truly enjoy the experience.

There’s a great smidge of a poem by Benjamin Franklin that I’d like to end with today:

Mr. Meant-To has a comrade, And his name is Didn’t Do;
Have you ever chanced to meet them? Did they ever call on you?
These two fellows live together In the house of Never-Win,
And I’m told that it is haunted By the ghost of Might-Have-Been.

Don’t go through life like Mr. Meant-To. Be proactive and “Go With Gusto”. Or in other words, “Live the Vibrant Life!”