10 Thoughts On My Birthday

Yesterday I turned 34. I cashed in on my free Starbucks drink and wrote down some things I’m thinking as I enter my 35th year of life. Here are 10 of them:

  1. You can furnish a house or apartment pretty much for free. All you need is patience and the internet.
  2. Discovering even one thing you really, actually love and doing it regularly makes life feel warmer and brighter.
  3. Climbing a tree every day is one of the fountains of youth.
  4. Different people’s brains are sort of tuned for different kinds of lives. Some are tuned for consistent, methodical planning. Others are tuned to respond to lightning quick to changes in their environments. And there are many other tunings. But a given society doesn’t value all brains equally. Many of us feel like we have to force our brains to work outside their natural tuning, so we can make a living, earn respect, etc.
  5. Whether we know it or not, we’re all seeing and judging the world through the filter of our past experiences—like a subconscious instagram.
  6. If you’re able to tune in to what’s actually happening in your mind and body, it will (slowly) change how you see everything.
  7. What do you like to do? What are you passionate about? What do you love? These questions are weirdly, maddeningly hard to answer. And a lot of us end up feeling kind of ashamed we don’t have answers.
  8. It’s the easiest thing in the world to live for many decades and not really get to know yourself. Most of us do.
  9. A person isn’t a singular entity that wants a certain set of things and doesn’t want another set. Each one of us is actually a big jumble of brain and body systems—hunger, status, connection, sex, security, goals, etc.—each of which wants its own set of things. These systems often want conflicting things, and they constantly compete with each other to influence our behavior. How often do we do things ‘against our better judgement’? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. 
  10. Seeking out our hardest emotions (shame, anger, loneliness, grief, etc.) and processing them in a safe and supportive space is among the best things we can do for ourselves, our families, and the world.

And I mean it about climbing trees. Try it.