I have reached the point in my life where:
1. Much of what I eat is for medicinal reasons.
More fiber. Less salt. Vitamins. Anti-oxidants. All those things that you’re supposed to be careful about these days as the republic lurches toward authoritarianism and the short-sighted profiteering of global corporatism and right-wing lunacy fries the planet in a self-imposed climate catastrophe, because that’s what one does when there is not much else to do. Nowhere on that list is anything about such food being tasty or enjoyable, and in my experience medicinal food rarely is. It’s just fuel.
2. I no longer feel a need to attend social gatherings full of people I don’t know just to maintain appearances.
I’m perfectly happy with the people I know. I like meeting new people too, but social gatherings full of strangers are pretty much the lowest percentage option for me to do that. One on one is fine. Otherwise, I’ve got books, I’ve got tea, and I’ve got comfortable furniture at home. I’m good.
3. I will put books down if they’re poorly written.
I’m not in graduate school anymore. There is no quiz at the end. And I’m no longer willing to slog through painful prose to get to the supposedly glorious ideas underneath. If you want me to pay attention to your words, state them well.
4. I don’t feel any particular need to stockpile skills for the future.
I am what I am. If there is a skill I must have in order to do something that I want or need to do then I’ll go out and acquire it to the best of my ability, but “that might be useful someday” is no longer on my list of motivations.
5. My intention to accomplish a project is often both the first and last step I take on that project.
There’s a lot of projects in the world, some of them mine and many of them other people’s, and both time and motivation are short.
6. I am happy to pay others to do things I’d rather not do.
One of the many joys of employment is having the wherewithal to stimulate the economy and avoid unpleasant tasks at the same time. This is, in some sense, a continuation of point 4 above. I see no need to learn how to fix a roof, for example, when there are certified professionals who will take care of that for a reasonable sum.
7. I sympathize with the adults in Disney movies.
No, you can’t marry someone you just met and besides you’re only sixteen. Go to college, get a job, make a life for yourself, figure out who you are and how you want to be treated, and then worry about that. Also, around here we call it a “fork.”
8. I find that more and more I am using personal anecdotes in my history classes.
Been there. Seen it. Now fetch the old man a bourbon and settle down, kiddies, because today he’s going to tell you a story.
9. I know how many of those crises will end.
One of the side effects of working in education is that you end up on the receiving end of any number of people’s bad days. They’re often very young and their world seems to be collapsing down around them and you sit there and think, “Yeah, I remember days like that and yet the world carried on and so, eventually, did I.” That doesn’t mean the process is easy or fun – there are often real problems in that mix, problems that will take serious work to resolve – but it does give you a general sense of perspective that you can share. Sometimes it helps.