Most people spend their lives waiting for something extroardinary to happen to them. Especially in college, students are weighed down and often thrown off course by the pressures to be a molded citizen in society. We all know the drill. Graduate high school, go to college, get a good job, get married, have some cute little babies that run around and wait for life’s purpose to find you. The guys who started “The Buried Life” project have adopted a slightly different philosophy than this common one, and that is the idea that “today is the youngest you will ever be.” Radford University was lucky enough to have two guys from this project come and speak to students Monday night. What most expected to be a simple lecture about life and goals turned into what felt like a talk among friends, an inspirational night not soon to be forgotten.
Duncan Penn and Ben Nemtin began by telling the audience about how their lives started before they became nationwide celebrities. Each of the guys had picked out an individual moment that they thought began their transformation away from the norm. One was a poor college student, one was inspired by a friend’s successful clothing line, one gained a freshman 45, and one lost a friend in an unexpected drowning accident. Their stories were unique, but they were united by a common bond. They asked themselves, “Are you doing the things you want to be doing in life?” And instead of graduating and diving into the “real world” where jobs and bills awaited them, they swam upstream toward a very different lifestyle. The guys made a list of 100 things they wanted to do before they die, and set out on a roadtrip to accomplish those things. This task is quite inspirational in itself, but it is only the beginning to their story.
Some of the things they’ve already crossed off their list include: opening the 6 o’clock news, kissing the Stanley Cup, being a knight for a day, riding a bull, singing the National Anthem (this one was accomplished in front of 20,000 people), playing basketball with the president, and making a television show. These go along with many more items they crossed off their list. The best part of their project is that for everything they cross off of their list, they help a stranger cross something off theirs. From delivering pizzas to a homeless shelter to reuniting a 17-year seperated father and son, these guys are making what seem like small differences everywhere they go. But to a select few people, these are those exceptional moments they’ve been waiting for their whole lives.
It was hard not to notice the happiness and pride in their voices as they reminiced about their experiences on the road. Their idea was simple, their journey was straight forward, but the outcomes of their trip were undeniably life changing. Nemtin and Penn preached to an excited audience of RU students about taking control of their own lives.
They read, “Be reckless enough to gamble all or nothing to follow your dreams, ” a quote from John Gauiano.
Toward the end of their presentation, the boys gave some guidelines for following in their footsteps. 1. Make a list, make it tangible and be sure to not skip the things you think are impossible. The greater the challenge, the greater the reward. 2. Go after it; persistance was key in accomplishing all that “The Buried Life” guys have so far. They emphasized how their journey was never easy but the personal rewards are greater than any struggle they faced. 3. “Happiness is only real when it’s shared,” a quote from Into the Wild.
It was after this that the guys asked RU students to come up and publically share what they wanted to do before they die. Start a theater company, skydive, backpack across Costa Rica, ask out Taylor Swift, be on the “Today Show,” ride in a helicopter, launch a fashion line, start a wedding planning business, and have dinner with someone famous were just some of what your fellow students wish to accomplish in their lives.
“It’s amazing what people will do when given the chance to be a hero,” Ben Nemtin said, recalling a story in which they helped buy a truck for a former homeless man who started his own business to take control of his own life.
Their whole story was about taking control of your life, doing what you truly want to do. Don’t fall subject to those pressures we all feel every single day. Life is much, much shorter than we realize, and as tears formed in students’ eyes Penn and Nemtin reminded them that we have the power to do something amazing with what short time we have. The difference between a dream and a project, is that a dream is floating around somewhere in the air waiting to be grabbed; a project is a dream being put into action and fullfilled. “The Buried Life” project is one that will not soon fade away, and will continue to touch lives across the nation. Every single person out there can make their own extraordinary moment, their own extroardinary life, and maybe someday someone will be saying to you, “Thank you for doing what you do.”