Submitted by Soni Pitts

soni pitts is a professional writer and geek living and working in the blue ridge mountains of north carolina. you can find out more about her on her website.

Here are Soni's "Five Rules For Life":

1.) Learn to leap off cliffs and enjoy the screaming on the way down. And get some friends who'll push you over the edge.
I've got a friend who calls me every few years and invites me to join her in some really cool venture, project, or business. Every single time, her faith in my abilities and the things she challenges me to do scare the living piss out of me. Every single time, I waffle and procrastinate and wonder if she's lost her freaking mind. Every single time, I insist that I'm not qualified, I have no experience in this, and I've never done anything remotely like this before. But eventually I end up taking her up on it - and what do you know, every single time she's been right (much to my everlasting surprise)! The best decisions I have made in my life have been the scariest ones - the ones where I couldn't see the bottom or couldn't even tell if there was a bottom to see. But because those around me had faith in me - and I in them - we've all managed to stick the landing together. Geronimo!

2. Live a "Groundhog Day-proof" life.
One day I was thinking about the central plot of the movie Groundhog Day (a man has to repeat the same day over and over until he gets it right), and a question popped into my head - "How many days of my life would I be okay with living for all eternity if this happened to me?" The answer was disturbing...not too many. It was an epiphany, and one that made me adopt "Groundhog Day-proof" as a base metric for daily living. My goal has been to make each day sufficient unto itself - I don't always succeed, of course. But I do usually manage to create something I can at least be content with in a "Groundhog Day" scenario. And what's better, more and more frequently I find myself creating days that I'm actually sad to say goodbye to.

3. Your life has no trade-in value.
Some people live so tentatively that you would swear they think they're going to get cash back for their unused minutes or something. I say don't coast delicately up to the Pearly Gates with your life in cherry condition - slide into those gates sideways with the tires shredded, the engine smoking, and the paint job toasted. Understand that I'm not saying to live ruinously, destructively, or wastefully. Rather, adopt the same "why the hell not" attitude about life that a fully insured rental car inspires. That "new car smell" is just a consolation prize for folks who don't know how to live.

4. Feed the soul as well as the body.
Remember the Chinese proverb about the man who was down to his last two coins? On the way home, he bought a loaf of bread with one coin and a flower with the other. A well-fed soul provides meaning, comfort, and dignity in life as well as in death. But a well-fed body with a starved and withered soul is a wasteland of human suffering.

5. "I reject your reality and substitute my own."
I maintain that Adam Savage (the originator of this quote) is about as close to being a perfectly actualized human as can be achieved while living fully immersed in the modern world. This rule pretty much sums up my approach to life. It also serves to remind me that it's actually okay to say "Your reality. Not mine. I do not want.", and to create another reality that serves my own purposes, on my own terms.

Soni currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.