50 things I've Learned at 50

  • 9 min read

I’m turning 50. Which is crazy but here’s 50 things I think I’ve learned in my first 50 years.

  1. Octopi are incredibly smart. Wow.  Nature is absolutely stunning. The more I see and learn of it the more I appreciate it and want to do everything I can to treat it as the magical gift it is.

  2. But…it’s not so much “take care of the Earth” as it is “stop pissing it off”.  I don’t think our 300,000 year old humanity is going to win a fight with the 4.5 billion year old Earth. Maybe that should become the new marketing slogan: Earth is gonna kick our ass if we don’t stop trying to destroy it.

  3. I really can trust my creative gut more than I think. In the situations where I changed the way I did something because an expert told me how they did it, I usually found a different expert - later - who agreed with my original instinct and I went back to what I thought all along. (Again this is creative instincts I’m talking about here.)

  4. Putting in that extra little pinch of 20% time and effort usually makes something 100% better. But putting in 100% more time and effort usually just wastes that time and effort. Keep finding that line.

  5. There is nothing black and white. Everything is a spectrum. This includes sexuality, politics, faith, gender, truth and everything else. This is some of the best news out there. It means we all agree and we’re all similar… at least a tiny bit somehow.

  6. The stories we tell ourselves can be really dangerous or amazing but they definitely matter in our relationships, jobs, perspectives, opportunities and, honestly, happiness… I’m way more aware  of the stories and trying to be careful of the stories I start down.

  7. Religion is a well. I learned this from Reza Aslan I believe. Religion is the well that gets us to the water. I expanded on that in my own head. So many people - I was once one of them - argue about wells, fight over wells, try to convince other people to try their well… and never drink any water because they’re so busy arguing, judging or convincing themselves and others about the well, they never actually use it. I try to get water from every and any well I find these days.

  8. It’s just as absurd to believe in a god as it is to believe that the entire universe sparked from nothing. I still choose a god of some kind but I know it’s absurd. There was some latin phrase I think that once said I believe because it’s absurd. So that’s cool.

  9. Being weird is not a real thing because being normal isn’t a real thing either. I think weird is a word invented by people who wish they were brave enough to be different but aren’t and want to make themselves feel better by calling the people who are different and authentic… weird. So basically weird is a word invented by jealous boring people so they feel good about being boring.

  10. Inequality seems to be the root of 99% of problems in the world.

  11. Everything is NOT possible. But lots more is possible than I think.

  12. I don’t have all the time in the world but I do have more time than I think, especially when I’m experiencing “new” things which tends to slow time down.

  13. I don’t know if time goes fast but I do know it never stops and that’s almost worse. It doesn’t take a break and it’s certainly not going to stop for me. But again, I can slow it down.

  14. If you’re an artist of any kind - get to a city as fast as you can. I didn’t and I do regret it.

  15. Regret has gotten a bad rap and it really shouldn’t have. It’s how we evolve and it can be used as a guide to the next decision and so much more. Pay attention to my regrets, and more importantly, to others.

  16. Staying married for the kids, is not helping the kids. Just like not moving for the kids, is not helping the kids or making sure everything is safe for the kids does not help the kids. But, what does help the kids is giving them the ability to know what they want, why they want it and then  operate out of that reality. This sounds like it will go bad, but most of the “bad” things we want, we don’t actually want, we just do because someone else wants it or we think we’re supposed to want it.

  17. Social media can be so dangerous because it makes everything too easy. Too easy to stand for something, too easy to be a critic, too easy to think I have community, too easy to be an expert, too easy to advertise… Without the costs that have long been associated with these things, they lose their power because they lose our trust in them. Cost builds trust and social media has too little trust.

  18. I don’t know if we make our own luck, if luck is destiny, or if luck is just pure chance, but I do know a lot of life is luck and the sooner we acknowledge that, the better off we’ll be. People who don’t acknowledge the role of luck, are generally not the kind of people I want to learn from.

  19. I don’t know if history repeats itself, but I do know humanity has been susceptible to the same tricks since the first human started talking to another human. The more of these tricks I learn, the better.

  20. Our brains have not evolved as fast as our environment. Knowing this, answers a lot of questions for me.

  21. It’s always better to ask an honest question than give an emotional answer. A somewhat informed, honest question is even better.

  22. I once heard that the three hardest things for a human to do are:  Return love for hate, include the excluded  and admit we were wrong. Yes, yes, yes.

  23. The greatest legacy is planting a seed of evolution for humanity. I’ve heard stories of things that someone did in the 50’s for a kid, that ended up affecting a parent, that ended up affecting their kid, that ended up changing their kid in ways that are hard to fathom. That person from the 50’s doesn’t even know what tree there kindness seeds grew.

  24. Oppressing others as payback for once being oppressed will never get the world anywhere. I realize this is really easy to say especially from a person whose people have never been oppressed -  but that doesn’t make it less true - which is also part of the problem.

  25. I can’t judge words to be true (or not) just because of the person saying them.

  26. The more someone has to convince me of something, the less chance that something is true. Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.

  27. Despite me saying “I know” a lot , I really don’t know. No one really knows anything but that’s cool because it means I can keep learning and asking and asking other people to ask.

  28. Weed is better than alcohol on many occasions.

  29. Being “too busy” is not anything I want to say out loud again. To think I used to brag about that.  To think that some still do. If I’m too busy to exercise, meditate, go on a trip, be with friends, relax, do nothing, watch a show, have fun… then “too busy” sucks. So responding with too busy is basically me saying my life sucks. If I’m tempted to say it, I need to change something. On a related note, saying “I’m powering through” when coming to work coughing and blowing your nose is not impressive in any way. Stay hame and get better. In short, it’s okay to show weakness.

  30. Lots of people are alive but far less are living. Gotta live.

  31. If “assume” really does make an ass out of u and me well then… wow there are a lot of asses out there, including me. The moment I’m angry, pissed off, jealous, or calling someone an idiot, I wonder if I should first ask what I am assuming about a person or situation.

  32. For every book about negations, and persuasion, and sales, and marketing - god I’ve read a lot of them - at the end of the day, I’m still not sure if I’ve learned much beyond be honest, genuine, vulnerable, interesting and interested, and ask questions… and it kinda works.

  33. Be less offended. Be less offensive. Wow, that does a lot.

  34. Masterclass is way underrated. Or, at least, it was to me. Worth more than the money they charge. It’s like everything I once wanted from “experts” on social media but it’s from actual experts who aren’t saying things to get likes or follows but just because they learned it and it benefited them and they think it will benefit me. (And the get paid from Masterclass :)

  35. No one gets to have it all. No one “wins”. It’s impossible to have all the experiences. So, instead of being upset of the experiences I can’t have or don’t have that others get to,  be grateful for the ones I got to have and get to have.

  36. You can always look up or look down. Both have their value. One gives you something to shoot for and the others gives you something to be thankful for.

  37. Parents can really screw up kids - when they view them as a redo for themselves, or a reminder of themselves, instead of a new perspective and life to watch and learn from. Kids also just keeping getting better every day, from the day they are born, on.

  38. Being in the moment is amazing and I value it so much. But being aware of long term consequences over short term thrills in said moment is also the sign of a mature, evolved, successful, happy, and well functioning brain. And society.

  39. There are no evil people - only evil stories that did affect and do affect people, and that is way scarier than evil people. Evil stories can and do affect good people. Gotta change those stories.

  40. Many people who don’t have money, overvalue it, and many people who do have money, undervalue it, but that’s a lot of life - we forget how bad we wanted something or needed it - once we get it. I’m trying to not overvalue money. Money can do weird things with people who do.

  41. I’m not saying trauma and diet are responsible for all of our health problems but I do believe if we took care of our traumas and our diets in our selves and our society, our healthcare system and results would look drastically, drastically, unrecognizably, different.

  42. Travel makes me better. I think it makes most people better if they let it. Experiences over stuff, every time. Travel, it seems, is also one of the least expensive things that people think is so expensive and thus, they seem to get really jealous of people who travel. Which is fine, hopefully the jealousy gets them moving, because, again, there are lots of ways to do it that don’t require lots of money. In short, travel is one of the greatest investments one can make in themselves.

  43. Dunning Kruger is the single most important idea I’ve ever heard that continues to make sense with the world I see - if someone is  not smart enough to know they don’t know, then they think they know. I only know what I don’t know if I know enough to know that I don’t know. Oh it’s so fun.

  44. Every animal experiences fear. It’s not a bad thing. Not many animals dwell on the fear before it comes or after its left though. That’s the challenge.

  45. Sports’s really can be powerful despite all the problems. I was in an airport and talked to four strangers for a long time because we were wearing the same team colors. They get a bad rap, for some good reasons, but that competitive and primitive tribal instinct really can do magical things.

  46. News increases anxiety. No news decreases it. My news is very filtered now and like Trevor Noah said, I may have less information but I’m not less informed.

  47. The best diet advice - eat real food, mostly plants, and not too much. Michael Polan said that and it just keeps holding up, through every fad. I’m a big fan of it for my own health, planet health and animal health.

  48. I am not alone. You are not alone. But feeling alone is the worst possible and most destructive feeling there is. If I ever think someone feels alone, make sure they know they are not.

  49. Stop hiding. I’ve read all kinds of stuff on shadow, ego, true self, my god it’s all so good but I think I can somewhat boil it down to this: stop hiding who I am. So many of us are still acting somehow or someway, hiding behind a mask, a uniform, or something else. It’s time to stop. Let it shine yo. (You do have to know who you are first though, which can be a challenge.)

  50. Anthony deMello - he is the best for any kind of spiritual anything. He freaking rocks. If you can find his 8 hours recording on Awareness, listen to it all and you’ll never be the same. I’ve listened to it multiple times over the past 15 years and there’s nothing better or nothing that sums up my spiritual views of the world more. (If you really want it, I have it and will send it to you.) Or just get a book of his, a recording, anything. You’ll be better for it!

Here’s to the next 50 - and with all this longevity stuff coming along, those next 50 can be awesome.

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