22 June 2012

Before turning thirty

I meant to make a list of things I learned in my twenties, but they are more superficial than I would like:
  1. Wear clothes that fit.
  2. Go, if you get the chance (2.5 and/but, stay, if going's not your thing).
  3. Be healthy.
  4. Obsess about the right things (4.5 and/but make sure you know what the right things are before you begin obsessing).
  5. Find out how much pressure you need to put on yourself to succeed and then don't put any more or less on yourself.
  6. Eat less and feel hungry.
  7. When a baby cries on a plane, it is the sound of humanity perpetuating itself.
  8. Explaining to a four year-old why she can't wear a hijab is hard to do without the words 'culture' or 'religion.'
  9. Say yes to the people that you love when they ask you for something you can give without too much trouble.
  10. Get angry about the right things and see 4.5, replacing 'obsessing' with 'getting angry'.
  11. When you're wrong, say you're wrong.
  12. Realise that money, although not the most important thing, is pretty important.
  13. Don't exercise to eat more.
  14. Popular things can be good, too (14.5 Don't hate on Justin Beiber).
  15. There's no intrinsic positive value in being different from the majority.
  16. One mediocre jazz club that you can visit regularly is better than 200 great jazz clubs that you can never visit.
  17. Rebellion is over-rated, subversion is under-rated.
  18. Drive slowly, there are kids around.
  19. Correlation looks a hell of a lot like causation. 
  20. Speaking another language is accessing a new identity.
  21. Apologise to your parents after your kids do something shitty to you that you did to your parents twenty years ago.
  22. Lose a hell of a lot of money at least once. 
  23. Some people are just not going to work as hard as you. That's okay.
  24. The morning is really nice, actually.
  25. Being three hours by train from Paris is only good if you actually ride that train every now and then.
  26. Running on days when it rains is much more important than running on days when it's not.
  27. A folk notion of 'karma' is actually pretty useful.
  28. Pragmatism, not idealism.
  29. Believing in your own self-efficacy is important for attaining self-efficacy. 
  30. Travelling abroad is magical, living abroad is not.
  31. Food that doesn't look appetising to you is the food that you need to try to eat. You might eventually like it.
  32. Marriage is not anything like you think it will be.
  33. People everywhere are not 'pretty much the same'. Anyone who tells you that after travelling for ten days in Europe only spoke English to people who were trying to take their money.
  34. When you don't know, say you don't know.
  35. Nuance is really important for just about everything.
  36. Small choices accumulate into a life story. 
  37. Some choices matter and some don't. Unfortunately, most of the time, you don't know which are which until after the fact, so best to treat every choice with some care.
  38. Having kids is, at first, much harder that you expected, and eventually much easier than you expected.
  39. Believe in what you want (and read that statement both ways).
  40. Hold more than one currency, but don't invest in the Euro in 2007.
  41. Remember that people like positive people. 
That's enough for today.