Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Major kudos to Todd for posting this link: 20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life. For fun, I figured I'd repost the twenty entries and add my perspective in response.

1. How to control impulse spending.
Luckily, my impulse spending never went beyond CDs and DVDs when I was in college. Now with Netflix and MP3s, my impulse buying is down to almost nothing. I can't say impulse buying is completely gone: when I saw a new copy of Steve Martin's Born Standing Up at Borders, it was 40 percent off. Yeah, I had to buy it then and there knowing what I know about retail . . .

2. You gotta stay active.
Oh yes. When I was in marching band in high school, the exercise routine consisted solely of rehearsals in the heat. Out of marching band once I entered college, the weight slowly gained and didn't really see the need to exercise. Now I run/walk three miles about four or five days a week. And I enjoy it.

3. How to plan finances.
My attitude: keep the overhead low. Distinguish what I need, really want and just want.

4. Junk food will come back to bite you in the butt.
Agreed. No more fast food for me, though Panda Express comes kinda close. And yes, I still have two brown cinnamon Pop Tarts for breakfast.

5. Smoking is just dumb.
I've never been tempted to smoke. Some of my best friends smoke, but unlike the nonsense I heard in health class, they've never pressured me to smoke. Remember, your real friends don't pressure you into doing stuff you don't want to do.

6. Fund your retirement, son. And don’t withdraw it.
Again, keep the overhead low for later, but don't forget to live a little. I often forget that last part.

7. All the stuff you’re doing that seems hard — it will be of use.
Oh yes, but the stuff that seems impossibly hard, I question its necessity in my life.

8. Don’t buy that used van without checking it out closely.
I've heard enough touring band horror stories in my lifetime to back this up.

9. That guy you’re going to sell your car to? On a gentleman’s agreement? He’s not gonna pay you.
I've never experienced this, so I really don't know what to say.

10. Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you are.
As Joseph Campbell said it best: follow your bliss. I'd also add that following your bliss has little or nothing to do with whether you make any money doing it.

11. All that stuff that’s stressing you out — it won’t matter in 5 years, let alone 15.
This is so right on, but it makes me wonder why I stress out about anything. If it's not going to matter a few years down the line, why am I stressing out about it now? This is why I half-joke that I live more in the past and the possible future rather than in the present.

12. The people you make friends with are so much more important than your job or the things you buy.
Why do you think I wrote one book with this as a prevailing theme? Why do you think it's a prevailing theme in my second book?

13. All that time you spend watching TV is a huge, huge waste of time.
As I get older, the more I respond to TV like Woody Allen's character in Annie Hall. I don't watch TV to be "entertained," save for one hour of Jose Luis Sin Censura a day. There are plenty of reasons why I don't have cable and feel way more productive in the process.

14. Your kids are going to grow up way faster than you think. Don’t waste a minute.
I'm trying not to. Anytime there's a good reason to visit Heidi and Elisabeth, I go. No matter how small the progress, it's worth it to see it.

15. Forget the drama. Focus on being happy.
As easy as that sounds, drama is an easy thing to think about to pass the time. That said, focusing on being happy takes work. But it's the kind of work that has plenty of long-lasting benefits.

16. Pay more attention to blogs when you first hear about them. They’re more than just journals.
I credit Bob for introducing me to blogging way back when he posted really insightful/personal musings during Braid's last year. You mean this guy who's on tour for most of the year is really going to watch 365 movies?

17. Speaking of which, keep a journal. Seriously. Your memory is extremely faulty.
A wise man once put it best to me: "I should emphasize my distrust of memory as [an] emitter of what we generally call facts and not necessarily events as they happened, but rather as they matter."

18. Tequila is seriously evil.
I've yet to understand this. Then again, I just had my first stand-alone shot a few weeks ago.

19. Yes, you can do a marathon. Don’t put this goal off — it’s extremely rewarding.
Maybe, but doing double my exercise route would be too much for me at this point.

20. All these mistakes you’re going to make, despite this advice? They’re worth it.
I hate making mistakes. It triggers shame in me. Anytime something I get involved with goes sour, I wonder why in the world I did it in the first place. So, I've yet to fully agree with this.


topcad said...

Glad you liked the list and thanks for the props.

Eric said...

Yes. You can run a marathon, but training for it is a huge waste of precious time.