Matt Niswonger

Looking ahead to 2020

By Matt Niswonger

A couple days ago I picked up my son’s car at the auto shop and drove home via the ocean so I could check out the surf. The waves were pumping and the vibe was electric. Big, powerful faces were rolling in with crushing power and beauty. A Zeppelin song came on the radio. Dark turquoise walls stood up and moved toward shore while the sun glinted off their glassy faces to the tune of Achilles Last Stand. I was moved to tears.

I kept thinking about the Star Wars show The Mandalorian. The main character frequently repeats his mantra: “This is the way.” Somehow I was having an insight into my way forward during the coming decade. This is the way.

This experience meant something to me. The meaning was, “connect, connect, connect with people in 2020.” In 2019 I surfed alone too many times. I biked alone too many times. I went to the climbing gym alone too many times. I didn’t call people because I figured it would be too much of a hassle to line up our busy schedules. That was lazy. That was counter-productive.

In 2020 I want to be making eye contact with people. I want to be connecting in the moment to a shared sense of adventure. I want to connect, connect, connect with people and heal them with laughter and heal myself too. Making people laugh is my favorite thing in life. I want more of that in 2020.

How about you? Will you smile at more people in 2020? Will you have more fun with people outdoors in the next decade? I hope so. Let’s partner up in 2020 with a shared commitment to outdoor fun.

Not in a shallow way but in a “save the world” kind of way. Outdoor fun makes us powerful and we can use that power to heal everyone. That’s inspiring. We can put outdoor fun at the center of our lives and still be successful. After all, success is not a place we get to; it’s a place we come from. We design success for ourselves and share it with everyone.

I believe whoever has the most fun wins. I believe we were put on this earth to have fun while saving the world. But we can’t save the world unless we have fun doing it. That’s why we must treat it like a game. That’s the most powerful mindset: we operate at a high level and have fun at the same time. Nothing is serious or significant. Problems get solved without drama. We act with integrity in our lives. Everything seems to work. This is the way.