Aanradertje: 30 jaar

door Vulpius

Recent gestoten op deze blogIan Mathias vat — op zijn dertigste verjaardag — dertig zaken samen waarvan hij wou dat hij ze voor zijn dertigste al wist:

Turning 30 gave me a chance to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes: worrying. I had become a perfectly average writer, comfortably employed and occasionally published. This, of course, was a nightmare. In the soggy trenches of the creative life, comfort is the real enemy.

30×30 is a set of instructions to my teenage self.  […] I really hope you read 30×30 too, and take something from it, or at least enjoy a moment or two along the way.

Zalig, toch? Hieronder enkele van mijn favoriete fragmenten, hierzo het hele boekje — niet vergeten lezen!

1. Be Brief

“Brevity is the soul of wit,” Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. The tricky part is that brevity is most important when it feels appropriate to be long-winded, like your average wedding speech.

2. You Are Most Likely Average

Well-mannered folks tend to find this liberating. By realizing their average-ness, they can better celebrate true, rare moments of personal exceptionalism.

8. Heartbreak Is Critical

This is just one of those critical life experiences, like how no one can truly appreciate eating in a restaurant until they’ve waited tables or manned the line back in the kitchen. You simply can’t appreciate love until it’s been taken from you against your will.

9. No One Has It Figured Out

People who are truly intelligent and sensitive to the world around them are in a constant state of questioning and doubt, so much so that many of them go crazy. Try to avoid that while still embracing the noble reality that you will never, ever have it all figured out.

10. Empathy Is Complicated

It’s not about understanding the emotional burdens of the downtrodden — that’s easy. Real empathy is about being able to identify with the feelings of everyone, which is really hard. True empathy requires work. Also, don’t confuse the work of empathy with the work of fixing problems. Helping is not a way of expressing that one understands, but rather a nice way of saying, “I could handle this if I were you.” You just have to be supportive and patient. That’s tricky, but so important.

13. Few Things are Truly Urgent

Turns out that no one is really impressed by the guy at the door tapping his foot, who managed to get ready 10 minutes early. I’ve managed to temper this well-intentioned state of mind by asking myself if whatever I’m rushing towards is truly urgent, and the answer is almost always no. Few things in life are, in spite of so much evidence to the contrary.

16. Introversion Is Underrated

Because the truth of the matter is that modern life makes it increasingly difficult to be fully alone, and thus less and less of us tend to discover solitude’s reward. Seclusion is hard to find, and even harder to commit to. Even worse, those who take the time and mental energy to really reflect on their thoughts and feelings often don’t enjoy where their mind takes them. Turns out it’s actually fucking challenging to be personally fulfilled and satisfied without the approval of others or the distractions of modernity. But if this is your aim, I don’t see any other way to hit the mark other than taking the time to ask yourself tough questions, and then turn your inner voice’s answers into action. Just don’t run away for too long… it’s not that fun, and you’ll be missed.

20. Shouting Is for Assholes

Balance is a big deal, and 99 times out of 100, there’s really no reason to speak any louder than is necessary to be heard. Shouting brings out ugliness. It makes us seem angry, out of control, and desperate — probably because shouting people usually are.

24. Nice Is Overrated

But when is “friendly” the one attribute you really need when the walls start closing in? It’s just a few degrees more impressive and useful than being “pretty.” Both are easy, and usually not a conscious choice. My point is that you need to be more than that, much more. If I can only really count on someone who is just nice to not be mean, so what? When the best thing I can say about someone is that they are “nice,” that’s actually not saying a whole lot.

25. Travel Smartly

But you really don’t have to get out that much to be well-traveled, at least in spirit. All that being said, I’m cautious of those who can never seem to stop traveling or planning the next big trip. People that get travel crazed… I can’t help but think it’s sometimes a way of keeping that identity at a distance and perpetually stalling the very hard and important task of figuring out who you are and what is important.

26. “All You Haters Suck My Balls”

Live your life. Do exactly what’s right for you and the people you love. Do it well, be kind, and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it. All of ‘em. In a similar vein, leave people alone who chose to live a lifestyle that you can’t understand.

27. Embrace Weakness

A critical milestone of maturity is the realization that perfection is not only unattainable, but unattractive. That’s not to say the inverse is true: Imperfections can be pretty ugly. But at least they are real, whereas perfection is always — always — an illusion.

28. Veritas Vos Liberabit

The happiest people in basically every free society have a very intimate relationship with the truth. Sadness and tragedy tend to befall the dishonest and truthful alike, but I’m willing to bet that those who err on the side of being honest dodge a whole lot of bullshit in the longrun.

30. John Lennon Almost Got it Right

“All you need is love,” right? Well, no. Almost. What if you felt love, but couldn’t convey it? What if you were truly loved, but never knew? Lennon should have sang, “all we need is love, and honest communication.” When you feel love, you have to say it. Really, it’s that simple — you must. Forget about timing or shyness. Because honestly, what else is there? Power, jobs, possessions, legacy… you can’t take ‘em with you. It’s not a matter of if you will be forgotten, but how long it takes to happen. What matters is the life you get to have right now, and love is the one thing — the one thing — that’s worth all the trouble. It is life’s true reward. So have the courage to express it. Because love really doesn’t mean a fucking thing when you keep it to yourself. Get out there and make it happen. I promise, the world will be better off.

The 30×30, Ian Mathias