On the 15th, I will have traveled around the sun 53 times. To put it into a little different perspective, that’s 371 dog years. In that many revolutions around our solar system, a person learns a few things about life on earth. In the past I’ve crafted a list that included items for each year of life. This year, I’m going to touch on the highlights. These are not universal truths, by any means, but they’re definitely truths for me, and maybe you can find an idea or two to take away with you.
- Time can work with you or against you, depending on how you perceive it and approach it. Our perception of the passage of time seems to speed up the older we get, as our mature brain processes time differently, and continues to do so as we age. Our past seems that much farther from us, which allows us to focus more on our future. In effect, we create our own time warp in our minds. As time is a human construct created so that we can better grasp and understand the processes of the universe, it makes sense that it warps and bends for us as we move forward.
- As a corollary to the above, it’s never too late to start something new. I’m currently considering relocating to the eastern part of the U.S., having signed up for a particularly awesome program in which a major city is giving away houses to writers. There are, of course, stipulations, but I see it as a tremendous opportunity to be able to focus more on writing and not so much on working a day-job to pay the bills. Having rent or mortgage taken care of will greatly reduce my need to work outside the home for 40+ hours a week to support myself, and can perhaps finally get some of these projects out the door for possible publication. I feel that my age is a benefit in providing the courage and motivation to do things that I might not have done as a younger man. But the opposite of that also might influence my decisions. Sometimes we decide that we’re “too old” to start anew because we’ve become overly complacent and used to the status quo. There’s nothing more exciting than setting out on a new adventure though, no matter your age.
- Nothing that happens in our lives or around us is prescribed a value by the universe. Humans are the primary species that attaches a value — sometimes numeric, more often monetary, but also emotionally — to events. “We had a great time!” That is prescribing a value to something you might have participated in. When we approach every event, object, and person as a neutral entity, it allows us to truly see those things for what they really are. There have been too many times in my life in which I allowed someone else to tell me which books/movies/plays/places are “good” and which are “horrible.” When I began seeing them through clear eyes and an unbiased mind, my experiences improved dramatically (<—- there I am, prescribing a value again!). At the same time, if we go into something expecting a bad time or a good time, we may either be largely disappointed (in the good time category) or we may find the negative in a situation (in the bad time category). Either way, we potentially influence our perceptions toward what we may be expecting. Try not to attach value or meaning to things, and see how your approach shifts and you become better able to make great choices for yourself.
- Although I am deeply flawed and a work in progress, the person I’ve become is the most satisfying accomplishment I’ve achieved thus far.
- The things I avoid or procrastinate on are exactly the things I need to address or face in order to move forward. Becoming more self-aware has helped me to recognize my own resistance when it’s present, and I make myself look more closely at those things to determine what exactly it is I’m trying to avoid in order to grow or move forward.
- Money, credentials and fame are largely unimportant. When we stop assigning such importance to these things rather than striving to create only what we need to live, we stop allowing them to influence us, and we make much different decisions.
- I am wealthy because of my friends.
- I can repurpose everything I feel, experience, and observe into my writing — and it’s cathartic. And it makes me a better writer.
- I am responsible for everything I perceive, do, or think. I no longer attempt to avoid responsibility for my actions, behavior, or words.
- The more authentically yourself you are, the more you attract similar persons into your life.
- Never buy sandwiches (or burritos) from a vending machine. Ever. EVER.
- Tip well. Tip as much as you can when it’s appropriate. Don’t heed the behavior of those who use tipping to punish those who think/act/live differently than they do. If you receive poor service and don’t feel the need to tip the usual amount, let the tip recipient know why you didn’t tip as well as you might have. They will not learn how to do better if no one tells them where they’re falling short.
That’s enough for now. There are so many things to list, though some of them are quite difficult to put into words. I love who I am, and who I’m becoming.