35 Things I Have Learned at 35, by Amanda Hirsch

Today is installment #3 in the “Things I Have Learned” series, with this latest list coming from Amanda Hirsch, a friend I met thanks to the wonder of Twitter.

Previous lists have come from:

Amanda Hirsch is a writer and comedian. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Jordan, their dog, Cosmo, and a lot of people with mustaches. See also: naps.

1. Trust your gut. It is ALWAYS right. Don’t take the job that gives you a sinking feeling, or stay in the friendship, or continue the hobby…. if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, unless you absolutely have to. If you have to stay with something that sucks, like a job, to pay the bills — plan your escape route and take steps towards the new, better thing you’re bringing into your life. There is energy in action guided by intention.  A better you = a better world.

2. Speaking of which, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman) >> YES.

3. Say what you mean. Don’t be a jerk about it, but don’t kill yourself pussy footing around, either. The other person can tell when you aren’t being direct. There is integrity in directness.

4. Milk chocolate is for suckers. Dark chocolate FTW!

5. There is no script. Make it up as you go, with confidence, knowing you will surely fail, and there will be moments of glory, and so it goes.

6. Don’t be a jerk. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

7. Once you eat local, organic food, ideally straight from the farm or farmers market, and experience how delicious it is and how amazing you feel when you eat it, you will never be able to look at food the same way ever again.

8. Stress is the source of most chronic illness in this country. Learning to relax is a gift you give not only to yourself but also to everyone who loves you.

9. Much of New York City smells like pee.

10. It’s important to enjoy your own company.

11. Letting go of expectations is the path to easing suffering.

12. White chocolate is NOT CHOCOLATE. Dark chocolate FTW!

13. Art may not save the world, but NOT making art doesn’t save the world, either.

14. Walt Whitman was right: We are large. We contain multitudes.

15. If you think you maybe shouldn’t send that email… you shouldn’t send the email (see #1).

16. When you’re feeling pissy for no good reason, you’re probably a) tired b) hungry or c) need to go outside.

17. Idealism is brave. Cynicism is cowardly. So-called “pragmatism” is usually cynicism in disguise.

18. You don’t get brownie points in heaven for finishing books you don’t enjoy.

19. If you’re renting a car in Hawaii, it’s worth the extra money to get a convertible.

20. While you’re saving up for that Hawaii trip, you can scratch the itch for tropical paradise in Vieques, Puerto Rico, for much less money. I highly recommend staying here: http://www.evamer.com/. But you should go soon before the island gets over-developed.

21. Speaking of tropical paradise, and completing my series of travel lessons: When booking a flight to San Jose, Costa Rica, be sure not to book a flight to San Jose, California instead 😦

22. It isn’t about you. What other people say and do – it’s about them. Not you. This may be the hardest lesson to learn.

23. You will inevitably disappoint people, so don’t live in fear of disappointing people. Don’t live in fear, period.

24. Brooklyn has the best pizza.

25. If you can’t get something out of your head, write it down.

26. Spend as much time as possible around people who energize you. Spend as little time as possible with people who drain you.

27. When you’re doing an improv scene, don’t try to figure out what it should be about — observe what it’s already about, and take that further.

28. Another improv lesson: if you aren’t having fun on stage, then no one can have fun watching you. Be relaxed, be confident, and enjoy yourself.

29. Corollary to #28, for non-actors: If you are relaxed and confident in your own skin, you will attract people to you.

30. Nothing melts away a bad day like being greeted at the front door by your wagging dog who loves you.

31. The advantage of overcast summer days is that green trees look more lush and saturated against a gray sky.

32. Jealousy is a road map to our desires. Whatever makes you jealous, is what you (secretly) want.

33.  Being good at something doesn’t mean you necessarily enjoy doing it.

34. Yoga is a template for life.

35. True love exists.

P.S. Say it with me: “Dark chocolate FTW!”

Do you agree or disagree with Amanda’s list? Life teaches us all different lessons. What’s your experience? 

If you want to guest blog with your own list, let me know in the comments below.

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Categories: career, creativity, food and drink, health and well being, home and family, lifestyle

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. 1. I think real growth also happens when you can’t abandon a situation – for example, illness or parenthood. It forces you to figure out ways to stay peaceful and centered. And applying #34 here is also helpful. 🙂
    7. YES! The neighborhood farmer’s market on Saturday mornings is my favorite moment of the week.
    Thanks for writing this!

  2. I am of course am partial to #34 🙂

  3. “18. You don’t get brownie points in heaven for finishing books you don’t enjoy.”

    Amen to this! If the book hasn’t grabbed me by page 50, I’m not going to finish it. My 8th grade English teacher taught me this rule and it’s served me well all these years.

    • That’s a good teacher! I said this once to my husband as he slogged through something or other, and now we say it to each other about a range of things (beyond just finishing books)…

  4. A dark chocolate imperialist over here, too! I love so many kinds but recently tried http://www.chocolove.com from Boulder, CO and was really impressed by its depth and its creamy, silky finish. As for whitey choc, there’s only one good kind – Lindt…with coconut flakes even better. Try it if you haven’t!

    As for your list, #1 is the most important thing ever. And #8 has actually brought my health down a few notches this decade, so much so that I have to work extra hard to heal. I’m on Linus Pauling’s Vitamin C regimen – so far I see changes! Have a nice summer 😀

    • Scott, thanks for the chocolate tip!

      As for the white chocolate… MAYBE I’ll try it… maybe. 😉

      How has relaxing made it harder to heal?? If you don’t feel like sharing in a public forum, I understand, but if you do… I’m curious. I know Vitamin C is huge in helping inflammation…

  5. “Being good at something doesn’t mean you necessarily enjoy doing it.”

    In my dark nights of the soul, I’m haunted by the converse of this–that enjoying something doesn’t necessarily mean I’m good at it.

    • Mark, so true. I love performing but I don’t know if I’m good at it. But then I wonder — so what? What does “good” mean, anyway – in whose eyes? If I enjoy myself, and do it with love, then it’s a net positive in the world, whether or not I ever win any awards, or go down in history as the “best” at it. That said, I think I take some comfort in the fact that there are other things I know, in my gut, that I’m good at. If I questioned whether I was good at *anything*, that would be truly depressing.

      • I feel like there’s a whole post in both sides of this thought — what does it mean to be good at something you don’t enjoy, and what does it mean to like something you aren’t good at?

        I enjoyed singing as a kid and I still remember the profound hurt of having a choir teacher tell me I wasn’t a good singer. My voice was deeper and raspier than the girls my age, and while another teacher might’ve taught me about Billie Holliday, mine pushed me to joylessly lip synch.

        Both thoughts get at why we do anything — is it because we’re better at them than other people or because they bring us joy? I suppose that depends on what it is and if the motivation is paying the rent or pure pleasure.

  6. What people do and say isn’t about me or you, it’s about them. SO TRUE!! So is “This may be the hardest lesson to learn.”

    Dark chocolate FTW!

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