things from people smarter than me
It’s my birthday today. And what better way of celebrating my own mediocrity than coming up with a list of generalized musings and pointers I’ve collected from sources smarter than me? This week’s bonus list is going to take on thirteen more entries than usual, for a total of 20 (for no reason other than that I was born on the 20th) on various things I’ve self-prescribed as much needed advice for my now older self.
Sometimes (most of the time?) people will disappoint you, and it’s entirely on you if you internalize their blunders and let them dictate the rest of your day. (Thank you, муж.)
To denounce multi-tasking, buy task-specific things. Kindle, I’m looking at you. Thank you for making my mind less distracted during those sweet, golden hours of reading-only time on your device. It feels magical these days to have one’s attention span focused on just one thing. (Thank you, Milan Cvitkovic.)
Opting out of events is a lovely practice of self-compassion, not to be confused with self-pity. It took about three invitation declines this year (two being in the ‘party’ category) for me to grow comfortable with the thought that the guilt of saying no is less permanent than the misery of going through something half-heartedly. I used to feel sorry for myself that, unlike chipper others, I couldn’t do whatever mental gymnastics was necessary to get myself in the mood for something, or be entirely enthusiastic about being somewhere. But then I realized that initial hunches of the “nah, this is not for me” or “I am too old for this” or “too young for that” type act as pretty accurate fortune-tellers. So, why not heed their fortune-telling wisdom?
Learn how to trade money and time. On that note, also learn what your time is really worth to you.
Actually listen. Rather than quietly plotting your rebuttal when someone is speaking, try to acknowledge and understand and empathize with what they are saying. (Thank you, Misha Glouberman.)
“Okay kids, in the opening don't move too many pawns, but instead develop your pieces." This beginner chess advice from Ben Finegold to ten year-olds is equally applicable to adults. It’s a reminder to resist the urge to let the days pass you by.
Don’t shy away from making friends over the internet. Also, don’t shy away from finding your people.
Buy an air fryer.
Over-saving is not so great if it means under-living. (Thanks, Bill Perkins.)
It feels incredibly refreshing to walk on grass with bare feet, especially during the dewiness of early mornings or in the midst of the amber softness of dusk.
It’s possible and fun and worth it to be soft and hard; soft in matters of the heart, so that our chambers may expand to allow for depth in love and earnestness; hard in matters of the mind that require principle, intuitive thinking, and reason. ‘And’ is a great auditory/visual connector and signal that, when used correctly, adds layers and dimensions and nuance and vulnerability and blissful chaos to your life.
One can endure suffering, a necessary part of life, and come to find an endless source of love and strength and pureness. (Thank you, Dostoevsky.)
Say what you feel. (Thanks, Virginia Woolf.)
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” — Simone Weil
Learn to relish the ordinary (thanks, Proust), along with the infra-ordinary (thanks, Georges Perec), so that the extraordinary does not escape you.
Crooked teeth and other such imperfections are much more fascinating and speak of a far more nuanced and layered story than their perfectly straight and shiny and, let’s face it, boring counterparts. (Thanks, Alain de Boton.)
Write, not because you fancy it, but because it is your form of sustenance. (Thank you, Hitch.)
There is beauty in loving one’s craft and excitedly nurturing it and humbly staying in one’s lane and valuing literature and education and music and the creative sparks that make us feel alive without being a showy peacock about it all. Also, there’s more to a coin flip’s 50/50 decision. (Thanks, Cillian Murphy.)
This too shall pass.
Phew, I didn’t think I’d make it to twenty, with close to two hours of sleep last night, but here we are :))
Thank you for being such an uplifting part of my life.
Happy birthday, Ani!!
Happy birthday!! :) Thanks for the list!