Things I've Learned, This Year


  1. You shouldn't cling to your current situation because you're afraid to go after something better. If you truly and honestly believe that what you have now is holding you back, then by all means drop it and make an attempt. That said, sometimes you don't succeed and you end up worse off than when you started. You should still take the chance, because in the long run, that kind of mentality pays off. I hope... In the meantime, you may have to deal with some less-than-ideal life circumstances.
  2. Money comes and it goes. I've recently made more money than ever before in my life, and yet I'm still pretty tight financially. I mainly blame this on my parents, since they simply stopped paying for things as I became more able to do so myself. Nonetheless, I'm no happier with money than I was without, and it's just as easy to be suddenly rich as suddenly poor.
  3. On a similar note, I have learned how much I cost to keep operating. I've also learned that I am actually a pretty high maintenance person, at least on a materialistic level. I eat high quality, generally expensive, food (even when I shop smart, it still ends up being more than if I subsisted on ramen and mac and cheese). I exercise in costly and ridiculous ways, necessitating the skills of a somewhat specialized medical professional as well as making health insurance a more-than-usually good idea (that is, I have a much higher chance than most people of tearing out my shoulder, falling on my neck, or dropping heavy things on myself...)
  4. Girls are nothing but trouble. Okay, I'm sure I'll be proven wrong on this eventually, and I hope it's soon, but lately, all my experience with girl(friends) is that they detract from a guy's ability to live a productive, fulfilling life and contribute to society. Instead, they entice a guy to travel halfway across the country and sign on for various long term programs in fields he is not interested in (but he convinces himself that he is) just to be with her. I narrowly escaped this trap last year, and saw a friend walk right into it. To be fair, I know girls who've done this for their boyfriends. I think it is an important factor to consider in a relationship.
  5. Car rides are probably the worst thing you can do for your overall health. They involve extremely long periods of stagnation, in an unnatural position, eating convenient food that is not healthy, and being bored stiff. On the other hand, I find I am my most centered when I'm travelling from place to place. I prefer small planes, as there is something divinely sublime about being all alone at 8000 feet, above the clouds, just you and the stars, as you make your way from one life bubble to another. Cars will do as well though, as long as traffic is minor.
  6. There are still places untouched by standardization. Small communities exist in which everyone knows everyone, the local cafe is not a chain (in fact, no stores are), and work is just an incidental aspect of living, where the music store is also a fitness center and the coffee shop is also a bike shop. These places tend to be three hours from the nearest interstate and completely isolated from any meaningful societal opportunity, but they are beautiful, rare places we should cherish. Incidentally, the one I visited recently was in the middle of a cell phone quiet zone of several thousand square miles, imposed by the presence of a radio telescope, making it even more authentic.
  7. Despite all my overtures for grand gestures of familial love, the one thing that seems to get everyone really excited is when I either make dinner or clean the kitchen. Cookies and other specialty baked goods don't have the same effect. To that end, if you want me to fall in love with you, make me dinner. Even if you suck at cooking, I'll appreciate the gesture. If we're making meals for each other, I've probably already made you dinner a few times, so I don't want to hear about double standards.
  8. You can do anything you set your mind to, including crowning yourself the god of war and slaying all the Olympians and most of the titans. All it takes is a willingness to scream a lot. Actually, screaming, yelling, grunting, and growling are sounds that only come out when you're pushing yourself one hundred percent and forget about social propriety. We don't really howl anymore, except when we are blazing through those last 25 burpees with a minute to go. Propriety goes out the window when you're forced to shed all pretenses and just get the job done. We should try to live all of life with that intensity of focus.
  9. Sleeping is more important for performance than training or diet. A good night's rest will do more for your athletics or academics than an extra hour of practice.
  10. Long distance cardio may not be good for your health, but constant movement is, and if your morning run is more of a morning exploration than a form of exercise, it is probably pretty healthy. Running is about as integral to my existence as writing. I haven't been able to run since March due to an injury, and it's driving me insane. I think it is a basic human need.
  11. Apparently wanderlust runs in my dad's side of the family. My half-sister just took a spur-of-the-moment roadtrip from Wisconsin to North Carolina.
  12. Eating healthy entails more than simply putting healthful food in your body. It also entails cultivating a healthy approach to eating. Eating good food with a messed up attitude will probably lead to more trouble than joyfully and guiltlessly partaking of McDonald's fare. I had a very happy stomach eating plenty of bread and packaged foods. The only thing that messed me up was the Heath Bar ice cream full of colors and flavors artificial, which saw a revival of my childhood asthma and allergies.