A Very BuzzFeed Birthday
I recently turned 26 years old and apparently it has been a year since I have updated this blog. So in celebration of both of these things (i.e.: my negligence and my birth), I have written a BuzzFeed list of life lessons that corresponds to my age in human years.
Some of these will have quotes from famous authors when appropriate, but I will try not to be that image crafting prick who’s like “look at how well read I am, I quoted Nietzche.” I have two problems with that nonsense:
First, for the most part, I hate when people cite quotes from famous thinkers because I think it is a poorly veiled way of bolstering their personal brand.
Want to show you are intelligent? Drop that Einstein quote about how insanity is trying the same thing and expecting a different result.
Want to show you are driven? Drop that Edison quote about failing 10,000 times to make the light bulb.
Want to show you fucking get it? Drop a quote from Alan Watts about living in the moment.
And secondly, let’s get one thing straight, hypothetical image crafter, you don’t read Nietzche. I know that, you know that, we all fucking know that. And you shouldn’t read Nietsche. He was (for lack of a better term) a self-aggrandizing-douchebag (S.A.D.). Since this is the Internet, I am going to say that and not give you any facts to back up that conclusion. (Side note: my opinions on Nietzche will probably change as I get older, more miserable and less inclined to throw babies out with the bath water. But for now I paint in broad strokes. THERE IS NO NUANCE. What am I even saying at this point? Anyway.)
In true BuzzFeedian fashion, I am going to:
- Give this a clickbait title so you feel compelled to click on it.
- Leave a bunch of affiliate links in the article so that I can sap every cent of revenue out of the people who were nice enough to read.
- Attach a picture of me with Richard Branson completely stripped of the context under which we met as to signal to you that you should follow my advice because I am successful. A fact that is proven by said picture. Because, as you know, Richard Branson doesn’t take photos with unsuccessful people.
Why? Because you clicking on my article/thinking I am successful and me earning money validates my existence.
So here we go:
26 Lessons YOU need to learn NOW or YOU are going to die sad and alone and NO ONE will care cause YOU voted for Donald Trump because YOU didn’t learn these 26 things (YOU’LL never believe number 13!)
- Giving advice is easy, following advice is hard.I feel like this is an appropriate one to begin with because then if anyone is like “dude I always see you violate #23”, I can be like “check #1.” This is my insurance from being a hypocrite. It is easy to say things like “eat less and move more” or “decrease your spendings and increase your earnings” but believe it or not, it is a lot harder to do those things than say those things in practice. Additionally, you know what makes following advice even harder? When you have really impossible standards and then beat yourself up when you don’t meet them. In my experience, being overly critical about not waking up early or eating too much actually makes those infractions occur more frequently.
- Personal care is important.I am a unique snowflake, but snowflakes can’t exist in the desert and I can’t exist sleeping 4 hours a night and eating late night chicken wings every night. I need to sleep and eat well otherwise I feel terrible. Also you should eat carbs. I went low carb for years and it worked really well until it didn’t. Then I was burnt out and sad. That is just a fact that I have discovered about myself. I don’t really care to get in to an Internet flame war with the “Paleo” or “ketogenic dieters” of the world.
- No one gives a shit about you.No one cares about you. Literally no one. Nor should they. Your life is not a movie. Looking at you, me. I think this is a useful way to think about other people. If you expect absolutely nothing out of anyone else, chances are you will be really happy when someone helps you out.
- People like helping you if you are willing to help them. Kurt Vonnegut’s son once said that he believes the meaning of life is that “we are here to help people get through whatever this is.” There are people out there who care about you. They want to help you. You have to ask them. Also when you do ask them. Don’t give them shit if they say no. Otherwise, they will help you never. You should give a shit about people for no reason.
- Be extremely opinionated. Realize you don’t know everything. But while you are waiting to learn and wallowing in a sea of ignorance, have a really strong opinion on something. If you take the middle reasonable ground, no one will listen to you. Because no one gives a shit about you. (See what I did in this one? I referred back to the previous lessons to drive home the point I am trying to make. God I love my use of repetition as a rhetorical device to convince you of something I believe now that I will almost certainly disagree with one year from now.) The world doesn’t need more wishy-washy vanilla people.
- Change your mind.In high school, I won the “Most Conservative” superlative. Mainly because I was one of the only 17 year olds who gave a shit about politics and didn’t buy in to the whole Bob Marley “one love” view of the world that festers in high schools. (I wasn’t Rastafarian, but I was fat. So you could say I was Pastafarian.) Combine that view with a very public conversation I had with someone about how I didn’t think abortion or Muslims (despite not having a single Muslim friend) were that cool and BAM you have “Most Conservative.” Interesting thing happened after that: Conservative became an extension of my personality. The conservative view on things became my default on all issues. (Which is very weird looking back on it.) Then I went to college and got exposed to a cesspool of liberal thought and gradually started to change my mind on things that I used to be rather dogmatic about. That was the best thing college ever did to me. Break me out of the monotonous cycle of accepting the default option. And helped me shed this “Most Conservative” alter ego that I created for myself. By the way can we talk about how fucking awful the practice of voting superlatives in high school is? We used to vote for “most likely to succeed” and “prettiest” or something. What a crock of shit. If anything all that did was give me a new list of reasons to hate people and deep-seated insecurity about how I wasn’t told I was pretty enough times. Yea…that’s what I needed in high school, more reasons to be insecure. Like how class rank gave me endless anxiety about how such and such is smarter than me. Who cares about such and such? She’s a virgin who can’t drive.
- Relationships and laughing are what make life worth living. Albert Camus once said “The only philosophical question that has ever mattered is whether or not life is worth living.” What a profound observation that is worth examination. As someone who has struggled in the past with this concept of “is life worth living?” I have spent a fairly absurd amount of time analyzing this question. In my experience, this question can be answered for me succinctly as “yes life is worth living as long as you are laughing with the people you love.” That is about as Bob Marley as I get. To piggyback off of Camus again, he believed the world was both absurd and indifferent of us. And that we live in this chaotic world with no purpose for our existence and the only way to combat the seeming indifference of it all is to live in the most absurd way possible. Which I like. And the best way to do that in my opinion is to laugh at the absurd realities we deal with on a daily basis. (Also I like this absurdism view point because according to all counts, Camus falls under the category of “guys who fucked” and having been in a fraternity, that’s a metric of success to me. Cause I’m a douchebag. Therefore I tend to listen to his advice.) So yea. If you laugh every day with the people you love, I guarantee that you will find it very difficult to notice the shit that you hate.
- No one really cares about your small-scale accomplishments or failures and doing what you promise is not as important as the quality of things you accomplish.People tend to care less about what you accomplish on the small scale and love what you do in the large scale. Not many people celebrate that you did your homework today, but nearly everyone will like your shitty clichéd post about graduating from college. This spills over in to industry as well. SpaceX has crashed like 5 rockets at this point. (Apparently no one cares? Great to hear they will be doing manned missions NEXT YEAR. Could you imagine if NASA crashed something? The world would go on fire.) But they have created privatized space travel. They are working on making interplanetary life a reality. That is amazing. And with a purpose likes that makes you believe that there is more to life than living, paying taxes and dying. Also Elon’s companies have continually missed deadlines and underwhelmed, but people would rather believe in something like what he stands for than the bureaucratic bullshit that is endemic in the corporate world, where you need to get three different groups within an organization to approve a new connector being used on your new chassis. Like fucking kill me, am I right?
- Don’t constantly craft an image.You know those people. The ABC people. Always Be Crafting. Fastidiously clinging to this identity that they want people to associate with them. I want to write on a lot of their stuff “HOLY SHIT WE GET IT.” But I only succumb to that urge once a fortnight. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You are going to die soon.
- Some times old people aren’t wise, they are just old.People tend to refer to old people as wise. But sometimes old people are racist. Wiser is a choice. Older is not.
- Don’t be so protective of your jokes.I use to be very protective of my jokes. I would hear someone use it and I would pipe up insisting they give me credit. Why did I care? There’s probably something there about how I used to attach so much of my identity to my sense of humor that I had a defense mechanism to protect it at all costs. God forbid someone else bring some modicum of joy in to someone else’s life without that tertiary contact knowing that it was me who blessed them with the opportunity to laugh today. You are welcome, woman with two degrees of separation from me. Let it go. Chances are, it wasn’t even my joke to begin with. It was probably some amalgamation of thoughts and musings from different things I listened to and read. There really is no such thing as an original thought. Like even that last sentence about there being no such thing as an original thought came from a letter I read between Mark Twain and Helen Keller. Yea. THAT Helen Keller. I know, I am still a little confused how she ever learned how to read too. Mind boggling. And then she became a staunch socialist. Weird.
- Call your friend on his or her birthday. Or send a card. Or do something that shows you care. Life sucks so never underestimate how little things like that make someone’s day exponentially better.
- Does the one they call out as surprising in the title of the article ever really surprise you?Rhetorical question. It never does. Unreal. Fuck Buzzfeed profiteering off of our universal love of suspense. Your shit sucks. Your writing sucks. It is not your bad title, it is you. Your post is bad and you should feel bad.
- On TL;DR, its not that it was too long, you just didn’t find it interesting.You should say that next time. That is better feedback than TL;DR. I think writing TL;DR for the most part says more about the commenter than the article. The commenter is someone who is so attached to this love of cutting someone down that they take it to a public forum and say TL;DR. It is someone who is saying that so they can get 6 likes on their comment from people with similar world views and then they can touch themselves at night to the thought of how clever they are to use a recycled joke. (I also plan on copying and pasting this and responding to everyone who says TL;DR. this is what you call a preemptive joke.)
- The Internet will never replace in person interactions. I could write a dissertation on social media, but no one would read it cause it would sound really preachy (almost as preachy as a list of life lessons). I think Facebook is a wonderful tool. But hanging out with someone is always better in my experience. Also I don’t really know how much change Facebook actually inspires. I think social media inspires this slactivist culture. You can from the safety of your computer tell the world what you think without fear of ridicule or injury. A classic post is of the form: this bad thing happened, I can’t believe this bad thing happened, it would be better if this bad thing didn’t happen ever. Who was that for? 99% of the time, it wasn’t for the victims of a tragedy or some marginalized minority group, but rather it was for bolstering the personal brand of the poster as someone who is “in the know” or “fucking gets it.” You are doing that for the likes. (Its worth noting that I don’t think this is a problem created by Facebook as much as it is a problem exacerbated by Facebook. But yea. It is a dumpster fire.)
- You are allowed to tell me how much you love your significant other once a fiscal quarter. Anything more than that, you can guarantee that I will talk about you behind your back. Why? I don’t know. Cause I’m low (more like high) key an asshole? Cause I have deep seated psychological issues that hinge around the concept of love? Really unclear. But as a friend of mine says, if you don’t stand for something you will fall for everything. And in this case, I am taking a stand against your overly affectionate rhetoric. It’s icky.
- Don’t jerk off every day to porn. It’s weird.Porn in general is weird. Think about it. If there were two people having sex in front of you, the last thing you would consider doing (I hope) is masturbating to it. That is weird. But a lot of porn is exponentially weirder. Obsessions with things I didn’t even know people obsessed about until I was 4 minutes in to some “Little Red Rides the Hood” themed video. Porn also breeds insecurity, I think. I have these moments all the time I call “I’m not going pro” moments. You know the ones. LeBron James crosses up a defender and sprints down the court at 4.2 40 speed and throws down a dunk that shakes the Quicken Loans Arena. Like “fuck I will never be able to do that” (Especially because the refs would never allow me to take 8 steps without dribbling the ball like they do with LeBron.) But I have these I am not going pro moments in porn too. Mainly because I am not packing a Pringles can for a sex organ. I have a tough enough time figuring out the black box that is the clitoris, so I don’t need imposter syndrome creeping in to my subconscious like “your dick is small.” I don’t need that porn-induced subconscious insecurity.
- Everyone wants you to “be nice.”I think more people should say offensive things. Why? Because I think offending people is how progress is made. Rosa Parks offended that bus driver. Martin Luther offended the church. Those are obviously cherry picked situations, but bear with me. I’m not saying offend people for offending sake, but don’t be afraid to voice a dissenting opinion because one time you might accidently make progress. Also, keep in mind, you can’t please everyone. Because for every person you try to appease by first walking a mile in their moccasins before you judge them, there is another person who will tell you to take those moccasins off because you are appropriating American Indian culture. You will never please some people.
- You should donate 1 million dollars to me.If 10 people follow through with this request, I can open a WNBA franchise called the San Francisco 69ers. That is really the dream. When I was a kid, I told everyone I would be the Mark Cuban of the WNBA. I have a fake note that I wrote in crayon two weeks ago and signed as 8 year old me to prove it to you. But seriously. Make the donation. This is my chance. No. This is OUR chance.
- Question where your desires come from.I was reading Rene Girard recently (notice how I am dropping that philosopher’s name because I want you to know how well read I am) where I was introduced to this concept of mimetic desire. The idea is that your desires tend to come from your environment. Why do you care so much about what company you work at? Why do you care how people perceive you? Probably because the people around you care, so you care. That tends to be the problem with competition. Before you know it, you are in a race that you never even wanted to be in.
- We all have this weird drive to be important.It’s what has allowed us to erect (lol) buildings and find lifesaving antidotes to diseases. (Conversely, it is also what has allowed human beings to abandon their family and rationalize mass murder.) I really think it is innate in all of us. And because of that I think people want to be acknowledged and given some validation that they matter. So I try to appreciate the people around me. This is my issue with a lot of pretty people. Pretty people are generally extremely indifferent to people who they don’t think are pretty. Nothing worse than someone who is unquestionably beautiful not giving you the time of day. I would rather someone hate me than have no feelings about me at all.
- Don’t argue with people online.I violate this one once a week. I don’t think I have ever changed someone’s mind online and I don’t think I have ever changed my mind during an online argument. Such a retrospective waste of time. But this rule definitely falls under the “a lot easier to say than to do” category.
- Don’t be such an asshole.I spent a lot of my life ridiculing people’s passions. Believe it or not, that’s not a good way to make friends or strengthen friendships. Weird. I know. Quick story about ridiculing passions. Very good friend of mine is a DJ. When he DJd in college, I would often times poke fun at him. I probably told him to grow up more than a few times. Recently, that friend opened for Kygo. So yea. Good thing he didn’t listen to me. Cause that show was super fun. Looking back on it, I don’t even know why I was being so rude to him. I think being an asshole in cases like this where you ridicule people’s passions is a perpetuation or verbal manifestation of some unseen insecurity.
- People are going to keep killing each other for a while. Please stop recommending love as the answer.What a useless thing to say. Sorry. But everyone else wants to tell you that, but they feel weird about exposing themselves to the moral Internet police. I always imagine this person writes a post like “love is all we need” thinking that a member of the Taliban will read it and say “wow, what have I been thinking this whole time!” There are some value based issues that require more than meme based, hashtag fueled activism. Actual dialogue and education could help, but more love is not going to stop people who truly believe that you do not deserve to live. Not saying missiles will either. Just saying your opinion is as ludicrous as someone who says war is the only answer. Also I am not going to provide an action plan moving forward for world peace. Like give me a fucking break, guy who clearly had the intention of leaving a comment of the “so what can we say!” variety. Jesus, dude. This is like a post that is sort of pointing out the absurdity of these lists and partly giving advice. Chill. Out. I am not going to change the world with my 5,000 word post today.
- You are miserable because YOU are miserable.I am pretty sure Mark Twain said “Wherever you go, there you are.” I like this quote because it addresses something I have worked really hard to correct the last couple years. As you may or may not know, I was a bit of a miserable cunt for the better part of my life. It requires a lot of self-awareness to deal with the fact that it is on you. It is not society. It is not how unfair life is. It is you. You give meaning to things. Life sucks often, but you always have a choice when it comes to how you respond to it. So I try to respond better.
- Don’t just pretend like you know it. It will always bite you in the ass. What a weird phrase. Bite you in the ass. Like when did that happen to someone? Like they were catching sharks in waist deep water and released one back in to the ocean and his buddy was standing right there and said “that will probably come back to bite you in the ass” and it did. Cause it’s a shark. And that’s what sharks do.
AND ONE FOR GOOD LUCK!
- I will probably agree with none of the 26 points before this when I turn 27. Cause I change my mind a lot.