Life is too short |

Life is too short

I turned 40 this weekend. Forty. I live in a small, progressive mountain community where the 50-, 60-and 70-somethings are serious Ironman, ultramarathon and national Crossfit competitors. The 40-year-olds I know make epic laps up the bowl on Aspen Highlands, ride the 24 Hours of Moab solo on single-speeds, and spend most weekend mornings peak-bagging Colorado’s 14ers. For those who don’t know what those things are, I’ll tell you this: it’s intimidating.

I eat well, practice martial arts at and try to stay limber — but it’s gotten more difficult. Every year I have to work a little harder and I spend more time recovering from injuries. My body hurts. I get tired faster and feel less motivated to get out and push it. This year I decided I was going to use my 40th birthday as an excuse to be in the best shape of my life. Why? So I can be a fun, energetic, healthy dad for my sweet baby girl for as long as I can.

Age catches up with us, but in my circle of friends, I’m still the pup. Most of my cronies are older, some by five, 10, 15 years. They all run, bike, hike, climb and telemark circles around me. So, I’ve decided to step up my game. To prepare for my 40th year, I’ve focused on the areas of my life that take priority over everything else: my health, my family, my business and my community. Turning a year older feels different this year. Not because of vanity or ego, but because now more than ever — I want to really live!

I’m doing gentle, restorative yoga. I’m drinking four to five bottles of water a day. I’ve cut back on meat and I’m about to start a seven-day juice cleanse working with yogi nutritionist Emily Hightower, founder of I’m working with nationally acclaimed running coach, Elinor Fish, founder of to see if I have one more international marathon in me. I’m feeling the aches and pains, so I’m learning the best techniques to stay flexible and strong.

I’m committed to getting on the hill with my 4-year-old this winter to help teach her how to ski. My wife and I make time every week to reconnect with each other, and support our need to get away to recharge whenever possible. We’re planning more quality time with both of our families than any year since we’ve been together.

I meet weekly with a small mastermind group of highly motivated, super-focused entrepreneurs. We take turns mentoring and cheerleading each other in our commitment to launching our respective businesses to the next level. I’m writing my first book and busy planning new programs for 2015. Off all boards for the first time in years, I’m now shopping for opportunities to donate my services, volunteer my time and re-engage my community in meaningful ways.

If life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans, I want to take intentional steps to live the life I seek — right now, today. I don’t have time for anything that doesn’t support who I want to be and what I want to do. I have to simplify. I have to get clarity on what’s important and take proactive steps to organize my ambitious schedule. I have to feel inspired if I expect to maintain a high-performance lifestyle. I’m really not a narcissist and I’m not doing anything unique that other high-performing people don’t do. But for the first time in my life, I’m being more intentional about doing these things well. I’m learning that life is just too short to live any other way.

My whole family flew in from Phoenix this year to help me celebrate. Mom and Dad, happy birthday and thanks. I love you.

Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of, delivering hands-on organizational solutions and strategies consulting for households, businesses, nonprofits, students, and life transitions. For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 970.366.2532, email or become a friend at

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