Happy birthday to me, I’m getting all lovely and old and smelly. A thousand years ago I would have been well past my prime and expecting to be swallowed into the empty abyss any day now. Luckily for me, this is the 21st Century, and people are living to be like, 100 years old. Take my great nan as an example. A lifetime of living in London’s polluted East End and a diet of cockles, pies and jellied eels, and she lived to the ripe old age of 101. Didn’t look a day over 99 though, in my opinion. Miss my great nan. Absolute legend.
So, as I get older and wiser I feel I must impart some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the last nearly 3 decades into my small area of the internet. I read a lot of inspirational quotes (especially relating to travel… Damn you, Pinterest!), hear from many experts in my obsession with TED Talks, and often discuss the workings of the world with my good friends, however in my opinion there are only 2 very simple concepts which everything boils down to.
Don’t be a dick
The first of my life lessons relates to how you treat other people, animals and the world around you. Most people have a pretty good in-built moral compass to lead their day to day decisions, it’s just a case of listening to that voice inside.
Want to steal someone else’s lunch from the work fridge? Don’t be a dick! Taking credit for someone else’s work? Don’t be a dick! Thinking of invading a peaceful country to exploit their natural resources? Don’t be a dick!
If you want a working example of how this simple rule can be broken over and over again, just watch any episode of The Apprentice, or study politics.
So each time you’re planning something devious and just plain wrong, think about it. Are you about to do something which will indeed make you a dick?
It’s that simple.
Do what the fuck makes you happy
In line with my TED Talks obsession, I recently watched a 15 minute video in which Professor Stephen Cave talks about the 4 things which we tell ourselves about death. This all sounds pretty morbid but it’s actually very interesting, so if you have a spare 15 minutes you should definitely have a watch. If not, then here’s my favourite quote from the talk:
“Imagine the book of your life. You needn’t worry how long the book is, or whether it is a comic strip or an epic. All that matters is that you make it a good story.”
In other words, you’ll never see what is outside of the pages of your own personal book, so don’t worry about that and just get on with making your life as spectacular as it can be. Excellent advice if ever I’ve heard it. But the gist of it (and many other finely crafted inspirational quotes) is: Life’s too short. So just do what the fuck makes you happy.
Love playing a musical instrument? Great! Enjoy writing? Fabulous! Find a way to either incorporate that into your daily life, your work, your ‘raison d’etre’, or spend more of your free time doing it and you’ll probably find yourself a lot happier as a result.
Of course as there are only 2 life lessons that you ever need, rules 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive. In other words, you cannot do something for rule 2 which makes your cross over into rule 1’s territory. You can always find a way to make yourself happy without being a dick to anyone, or a way you can minimise the impact on someone / something else’s existence.
So there you have it. The only two life lessons you’ll ever need, gained from my 29 years on this wonderful planet we call home. Go forth and spread the good word!