I‘ve compiled 2 lists; one of lessons I learned early, and the other of lessons I learned later in life. In the future I intend elaborate on each point in separate posts, linking to each post from the points in this post. Feel free to add comments on this post as they will influence my elaborations.
Things I Learned Early
Speak the truth and accept the consequences
Lying, even if intended to protect the feelings of others, seldom outperforms a commitment to conveying the truth, though brutal it may be. [ MORE ]
Do what you love and make career incidental
Conventional concepts of success have misled many to miserable existences from which they now find it difficult to extract themselves. [ MORE ]
No, really. Adopt a lifestyle far enough beneath your income that you don’t need to count pennies at the end of every month. [ MORE ]
Rather than learning a few things perfectly, learn many things well
Unfettered focus can result in a mono-dimensional identity. Constantly move yourself into unexplored domains of knowledge. [ MORE ]
Take calculated risks
A life of fear nearly always ends in regret. Accept your mortality and fallibility. Then fail. Develop a resilience through those failures. [ MORE ]
So I’m out with my son Josh last night, and admittedly I’m dress a bit young for my age. We meet 2 girls around the age of Josh who is 24. The dilemma is whether to claim I’m Josh’s father or brother. If I say father, no one believes me. If I say brother, no one gives it a second thought, but I feel pangs of guilt. So I let the girls decide. They predictably laugh at the suggestion that I’m his father, and are content to consider us brothers. One of the girls thinks I’m around 28. The other says 26. I know that there is the Japanese “politeness” factor where 5 or so years are deducted from what is actually thought, so in the dim light of a club I probably look in my early 30s. Life is good.
I do keep myself healthy with a balanced diet and a good degree of exercise, but it must be noted that I looked 14 when I was 18, and it was quite annoying then with kids my age or younger speaking a bit condescendingly to me. So, I’m going to consider this current state of affairs just recompense.
Looking younger than your age also allow you to appear to be a young man who has maturity beyond his years. I played this card well in university (I returned to school in my mid-30s) where my professors graded me well for my surprising profundity, not knowing my actual age. My other friends who appear closer to their age cannot as easily dismiss social pressure to “act their age”. I feel that this notion of “age-appropriate behavior” is an unfortunate myth that the unhappy attempt to impose on those who are having fun. I still dance without apology. I date young (if intelligent and stable) girls. I’m not afraid to act goofy. Life is good.
Perhaps this is one reason why I blog. It allows me to hide my “youth” and project a persona that is more in line with my inner thought life that reflects experience and insights more typical of someone my actual age. This you can debate. In any case, it is great fun to hang out with your sons as their brother. Life is good.
Not for everyone, but certainly for those who step away from the usual and expected.
Those who drop themselves in a current of change will soon lose count of the changes.
And each change stretches the memory of the series of dynamic selves ever longer until a year is a decade and a decade is forever.
I am everyday amused at the expressions of those to whom I reveal a former self quite disjointed from my current self: The disfunctionally shy and aimless boy, the sincere yet tormented young man of faith, the carpenter cowboy, the weaver of fantastical tales for my wide-eyed progeny, the euphoric academic late bloomer, the occupational dilettante, and now the curmudgeon-flavored connoisseur of the eccentric. Continue reading →
Over the past few years I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Whenever the topic of death comes up in conversation, I end up grinning like a fool at the thought of my own demise. I had to sit myself down just recently and tease out exactly what was going on.
I’ve concluded that I’m not any more senile than I’ve always been. And I’m not exactly anticipating death or accumulating habits or hobbies that would accelerate its arrival. This strange response to the mention of death seems to be a function of 1) my affinity for risk, 2) my definition of success, 3) the wealth of amazing memories I’ve accumulated, and 4) my identity as a father. Continue reading →