"30 Questions That Will Change the Way You Think About the World" (...and Yourself)
By Alex Wain, HuffPost
- How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
Forty. Old enough to be taken seriously, young enough to have plenty of time left.
- Which is worse, failing or never trying? Never trying, assuming it's worth trying, which is a judgement call one periodically should make.
- When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
In the past, yes. Now I talk a lot less and do more. A good friend made my day recently when he called me "proactive."
- What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
More active compassion, for starters.
- Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
Now more than ever, I'm doing what I believe in. There's more I'd like to do, but I'm being patient with myself.
- To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
Quite a bit, nowadays. The early years, I seemed to leave those decisions to someone else. I was waiting for permission.
- Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
About equal. I want to do what I deem to be the right things, rightly. Hate to do things over.
- If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Stop that screaming!
- Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Probably, as long as no one is harmed.
- Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
Sure, right here.
- What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I almost never drink alcohol, very seldom eat out, very seldom travel, don't like to shop, believe in a Higher Power without believing in the church, enjoy being alone.
- How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
Because I'm getting what I want. What I value are skills gained from study and practice, not material things. If everybody was like me, the consumer culture would take a nosedive.
- What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
One of the things I want to learn how to do this year is write songs. See #5.
- Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
I used to push it and go back and push it again. Now once is enough. No, I never believed it sped up the elevator.
- Why are you, you?
I am me because I never wanted to be anybody else.
- Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
I think I've been a pretty good friend in my later years. I used to let friendships fade away, not believing anyone would miss me.
- Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
As long as my brain functions I can make new memories.
- Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
Some truths do require challenging. I have a habit (which annoys some people) of asking, "How do you know that?"
- Has your greatest fear ever come true?
- At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
Learning to make music and playing music with friends. Quite a rush.
- If not now, then when?
Maybe when I finish this list.
- If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
A lot of time fretting over not having achieved it.
- Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
No, but it sounds very restful.
- When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
I'm doing that now. Well, I wouldn't call it marching. More like sauntering.
- If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
If everybody knew that, there's a good chance nobody would be home. I think I'd use the phone.
- Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
- What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
I've experienced both. Truly living gets me out of bed in the morning, keeps the TV off, reduces in importance the make-work and mind-distractions I used to waste my time on. Keeps me focused. Reminds me to be grateful.
- What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
I'd stop wearing a bra, the last uncomfortable item of clothing I own.
- When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
Often. I have a lung condition and when I can breathe well (which right now is most of the time) it really feels good.
- Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
I can't think of anyone who makes decisions for me anymore. Unless you count the government.
These are my answers. And I'd love to see yours...