Things I've Come to Know

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Almost two years ago I moved from South Jersey to Colorado.  In that time I’ve learned some things about what’s important in life, what to ignore, and how to live.  I still don’t have all the answers - and some of these may not even be true.  For now they feel right, so it’s a good start.

AVOID DRAMA

Drama has a way of sucking you in, because it’s interesting.  But, is also a side-effect of a boring, vapid existence.  Avoid it at all costs.  There is a fine line between asking for advice and talking about something that is only interesting because it’s confusing, painful or frustrating.  While these are typically elements of things we require advice on, they shouldn’t be the only reason to remain in a situation.

EXERCISE

Ride a bike.  Go to the gym.  Lift weights.  Do it often.  Do it until it is part of your routine.  It will change your life.

PAY ATTENTION

Get out of your own head, ignore your superficial wanting, and you’ll be able to see who your friends are, who deserves your love, and who makes you feel your best.  Do the best you can for them and they will appreciate it.

BE HONEST

This should go without saying.  But, there’s a level of honesty that goes beyond simply avoiding being a liar.  Be brutal without being cruel.  Say what you think.  Tell the people you care about when they are acting foolish and understand that they will scream at you for it.  Eventually they will apologize.  It will bring you closer.

LEARN TO GIVE GOOD ADVICE

By giving advice that is uninflected by your own issues and feelings you learn to be selfless and achieve a higher perspective. 

DON’T TALK ABOUT DOING THINGS; DO THINGS

If you have a project, no matter how small, finish it.  It will be rewarding.

LOVE

Pursue every passion – from projects, to that person whose look can knock you straight through a wall. Do it with unembarrassed abandon.  If you fail, do it again.  Learn from it.  If that person destroys you, so be it.  There will be others.

MAKE NO DECLARATIONS

Scarlet O’Hara declared she would never go hungry again because it was a poignant thing to do in the story.  It helped us understand her as a character.  Do not pigeonhole yourself with such nonsense.  Just live.  There is no need to swear off cars, or women, or banks, or a certain restaurant.  By doing this you trick yourself into thinking you know yourself.  But, that’s not the way.  Let your actions define you, not the things you’ve chosen to avoid.

IGNORE CRITICS

There are only a handful of people who can critique in a way that promotes learning and progress.  The rest are hacks who think writing has to do with using fancy words to craft long-winded sentences.  They may dazzle you with linguistic parlor tricks, but they’re just self-indulgent pricks trying to stand out in a crowd of other idiots with just as little to say.  Learn who to trust and the hell with the rest of them.  They’re useless.

DO THE THINGS YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE DOING

Anyone can go to the gym, or write, or go for a walk when they want to.  Doing things that keep you healthy or sane or in practice of your passions when you don’t feel like it is what matters.

REMEMBER HOW OFTEN YOU GO THROUGH LIFE

You have one shot to live, breathe, experience, to do what is right for your loved ones, and to do what is right for yourself.  Money isn’t everything.  Time is.

ROLL THE DICE

Everything is scary: putting money on a horse race, asking someone to go out a second time, buying a new car, sharing a piece of music you wrote with the rest of the world, taking a big step with someone who makes you light up like a firefly.  These things put you on the line.  If you lose, you can get hurt badly.  But, remember: for as scary as they are, they are equally exciting.  If you don’t try, you’re just a person standing in the crowd wondering when you’re going to get your shot.  This is probably that moment.

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