Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Ernest Hooper: New website will help you carpe diem

Jessie and Pavel Stehlik want to help all of us who talk about fanciful trips and uncommon experiences but never step out to make them a reality.

If you're more dreamer than doer, if you're big on ideas and small on action, if you conceive and believe but seldom achieve, the Ruskin couple will soon offer a social media version of inspiration to get you off the couch and into the world.

Their website, thislife.is, hopes to serve as an energy supplement for everybody's bucket list. The site seeks to be an amalgamation of inspiring videos, blogs and quotes — with a twist — to help us stop losing time keeping up with the Kardashians and watching Honey Boo Boo.

"We have 70 to 80 years for frolicking on a crazy, chaotic blue-green world suspended in space, and then it's done," says Jessie, 32. "Why aren't we impressed with that? We're the beneficiaries of thousands of years of evolution. Let's act like it."

The inspiration for thislife.is came almost a year ago. Deaths in the families of two friends brought them down. The stress of life and work — they handle multiple jobs, including a photography business — began to mount.

Jessie calmed Pavel, and herself, with the simple acronym LED — live every day. Pavel, 41, fulfilled a longtime wish by buying a motorcycle. Jessie joined in and bought a motor scooter.

Friends marveled at how they escaped the rut. They shared how they so often want to do something incredible but struggle to find a driving source.

The seeds for the website were planted, but Jessie had to convince Pavel to buy in.

Brimming with joy and optimism, Jessie always dreams up new ideas and farfetched suggestions. She's a self-described helium balloon of happiness and Pavel serves as her anchor, bringing her back to earth.

But this time was different.

"I'm always saying, 'Let's do this, let's do that,' " Jessie explained. "He's immune. But I told him this idea and for the first time he said 'yes.' "

So the venture began and eventually grew to a team of six, including designer Danielle Comstock, programmer Henry Williams, music curator Meghan Arias and videographer Ian Baldwin.

They hope to launch the site on New Year's Eve, just in time to infuse resolutions, but it will be more than a collection of affirmations.

Thislife.is hopes to help deserving people fulfill their bucket-list dreams. They look to attract sponsors who will help one person per month accomplish an item from his or her bucket list and inspire others to do the same.

The fulfillment may involve a wounded veteran who wants to fly with the aid of a water-propelled jet pack. The site will work to get the needed companies involved, the companies will enjoy the publicity that comes with helping someone, and the members who have posted their own bucket lists on thislife.is will get another dose of inspiration.

"Our biggest gift is time, and you have to treat it as an investment," Jessie said. "You only have a finite amount of it, and you can't blow it on things you can't afford to blow it on. We want to remind people of that.

"We're in the business of getting people addicted to life."

My late mom taught French and one of her favorite phrases was joie de vivre, which literally means joy of life. I like to say it, but what I've learned from the Stehliks is that I'm better off living it.

Honey Boo Boo can wait.

That's all I'm saying.

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