I liked both of these articles:
- A Lone Man Spends 53 Years Building a Cathedral by Hand | Colossal
- Janitor secretly amassed an $8 million fortune and gave most of it away
Both men accomplished significant acts of creativity and generosity without having much resources. In both cases, the things they had in abundance were
They didn’t have a great amount of money or genius or things that people think you need to accomplish extraordinary things.
There are times to think about your life, and times not to. Austin Kleon has a very simple rule to help him decide:
I have a very simple rule that serves me well: Don’t think too much about your life after dinnertime. Thinking too much at the end of the day is a recipe for despair. Everything looks better in the light of the morning. Cliché, maybe, but it works.
I first agreed with this. Afterwards, I concluded it depends on each individual. For me, I found a good time to think about my life was between midnight and two. It’s quiet then, I am tired but also relaxed. There’s no distractions, nothing else left to do but sleep. If I accomplished things in the daytime, it was especially good to think about what’s next in my life. Likewise if I had a good weekend, the best time to think about my life is Monday morning: I’m rested, energized, and feeling I can get a lot done during the week.
I found the time to not think about my life was any time I am really tired or sick or having a very bad day. Then the goal is not to reflect but to recover.
If anything, my rule is: if I need to recover, then I should not be reflecting.
I think we should all find times to reflect upon our lives and assess ourselves and where we’re heading. We just need to find the right times to do it, and do it then. And find the wrong times to do it and not do it then.
Follow the one rule found here: swissmiss | One Basic Decision.
However, feel free to swap out “happy” with “good” or other worthwhile aims. Regardless of the one thing you decide, your life will get simpler.
Now you have an opportunity. They have a new column, called Rites of Passage, that is going to appear in their Styles section. What are they looking for?
The editors … want to read your essays about notable life events that sparked change. A “rite of passage” can be big or small, though sometimes it’s the less obvious moments that carry even greater meaning: Making the final payment on your student loan debt and what it represented; finding a first gray hair and deciding not to pluck it; a first crush after a spouse’s death. These essays should be written as personal narratives, so please make sure to tell us how the event unfolded and what it meant to you.
Everyone has such stories. If you want to share yours in the Times, you can get more information here: How to Submit a ‘Rites of Passage’ Essay – The New York Times
Read this list. Pick three. Do them. Your life will be better.
Why three? No reason, other than to make it seem possible. Skip three and just do one. That’s a good start. Or do one every two weeks for the next year. Whatever works for you.
When you are young, life seems endless and countless. If this is you, I recommend you look at the charts provided by the folks Wait But Why. They break down your life into weeks and show you how it maps out over time. For example, like this:
They even have blank charts you can use to map out your own life.
It’s sobering to consider. You have less time than you think. If you believe that and use that to motivate yourself to appreciate life, then great. If you don’t believe that, head over to that site and do the math.
Posted in advice
Tagged advice, life
It’s a cliche: you only have one life to live. But it’s not really true. We experience many lives in our lifetime. Maybe it’s closer to 11, like this great post illustrates: You Only Live 11 Times, SMBC | Jesse Rogerson. Or maybe it is closer to some other number. Certainly we all go through major stages in our lives, and as we leave a stage, it can seem like we leave one life behind for another one. We are like performers, going from one theatre to another, retaining some parts of our act while discarding others.
Enjoy the life (or stage of life) you are in right now. Savour the best parts of it. Never assume they will last long, for they won’t. (Parents, in particular know this.) Likewise, for the more challenging aspects of your life right now: they won’t last for long, either. (It just seems that way). Accept and deal with them the best way you can, and know they will also recede and end.