Monday, October 21, 2013


I had a birthday not long ago. I haven't forgotten. But I'd like to write something here. So here goes.

How about what I've learned and/or how I've changed over the course of a year.

I've learned one important thing, certainly: living for the future means not living now. Often, especially given a difficult situation, we put things off. For instance, a lot of people want to be rich or have a lot of money so they live meagerly lives in the present, afraid to spend any money. OK, having grown up poor, some of that applies to me. But, you know, you only live once (YOLO, mother f-ers!), and you should really focus most of your energy into enjoying the present because, really, it's all we have. Neural scientists talk about how we live in a 3-second bubble of "now." That is, we aren't living so much in a continuum as we think, but rather are changing all the time, which makes sense because I (now) would probably slap myself at 16, say, for the stupid stuff I did and said and wore (I was goth, for a while - in the Bronx).

This brings me to another point: appreciate what you have. It's an old, simple concept. But the way our brains work is that we often compare ourselves unfavorably with those who have more than we do, which is called relative depravation. It explains why rich people don't think they're rich or why, despite having so much more than others, they're miserable and want even more money. Look, seriously, there are people being killed, tortured (say in Gitmo, many of whom we, the US gov't have declared innocent), harassed. People are living in war-torn countries. Woman are raped and then bullied about it (such as with the Maryville rape case). There are people born with conditions and/or diseases that make their lives incomplete or inherently unjust, such as with quadriplegics or those with Progeria syndrome). You're life is probably not that bad. Instead of those movie stars or celebrities that have so much, why not compare yourself with the average of your socioeconomic status? Better yet, think about those with less and be thankful, if not for your own sake, then for theirs.

Also focus on yourself. That is, make sure that your number one priority in life is not others, though admirable, but yourself. My argument is that no one else has your best interest at heart at all times. (That's true for most people, I think.) You are the one who has to make sure you're happy and healthy. No one gives a fuck if you're going through a hard time. If you act in a negative way to a situation because you had a hard day, no one is going to know or care. No one is obliged to think about you when you are not around.

And lastly, I don't want to make this too long: be happy. I think that's our purpose in life. It's short and then you grow old and die. It's important to learn things and to do good and help others. But again, if you don't make it a priority to be happy, no one else will endeavor to make you happy all the time (if you're most people). Besides, life is hard and when you are happier, you make better decisions, and therefore live a better life.