On Saturday, August 9, 2008, I left my apartment first thing in the morning after watching the Olympics opening ceremony at a bar with friends the night before, walked to my friend Dave’s apartment, caught a ferry to New Jersey, and swam across the Hudson River back to Manhattan.
Then we walked back shirtless and shoeless from 45th Street to Greenwich Village.
You’ve seen the picture at the top of my blog and mailings of me doing the backstroke with Hoboken and Jersey City behind me, Manhattan ahead.
I chose it to represent a person’s ability to cross their Rubicon independently. You don’t need others’ permission, resources, etc. Here’s the full image.
We swam about a mile, which probably took us about an hour.
The event was formative, partly for the note I left my family in case my body washed up ashore so they’d know I was living to the fullest, not drowning myself, but more because it marked a major milestone in my life from analyzing and thinking to doing.
It clarified that anyone can do major, life-changing activities independently, any time. You don’t need a Peruvian shaman to give you drugs, you don’t have to fly around the world, you don’t have to pay someone to walk you through any process someone else made up for you, you don’t have to wait.
You can do something to change your life any time you want.
Well, I could. I did, anyway. I don’t see anything special about me in this regard. Most people live near rivers, not that others’ challenges have to involve rivers. The resources are there.
Since then I’ve done many comparable life-changing things—visiting North Korea twice, publishing a book (that made bestseller), starting the podcast, starting my sidchas with writing, burpees, cold showers, picking up garbage, I forget what else.
Here’s my original telling of the story, with pictures.
What’s your Hudson to cross to change your life?
When will you do it?
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees