Today I turned 30 years old – a seemingly appropriate opportunity to take stock of what
I’ve gleaned during my three decades lapping the sun. I thought coming up with 30 things I know for sure would be pretty easy, but it’s taken an embarrassingly long time to compose this list. Maybe the most important thing I’ve learned is there is relatively little I’m certain about.
There is a concept often mentioned in Buddhist writing and expressed in a number of different philosophies and areas of study that says, “the opposite of what I know as truth is also true.” Or, as Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr put it, “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.” I try and remind myself of this sentiment often when confronted with upsetting perspectives or perceived road blocks of my own. Our lived experience shapes our realities greatly – so much so that it may blind us to other truths if we’re not open to seeing them. Side note – this season of the Invisibilia podcast is a fantastic listen for exploring varying perceptions of reality.
In any case, the below list contains 30 things I am certain of… with the understanding that the opposite of each point may in fact be true as well. I wonder how different this list would be for me at age 60? Fingers crossed I have the opportunity to find out. In no particular order:
- There is no better gift than the gift of presence. Being fully engaged with another person, no distractions or lapses of attention, is an increasingly rare and precious experience.
- No one cares how terribly you’re doing in a workout class.
- They may care how you smell.
- Public libraries are one of the best resources we have invested in as a community and they provide value beyond imagination for those who seek it.
- A big bunch of Astroemeria flowers from Trader Joes costs less than $4 and will last for 2 weeks, easy.
- Time in nature can turn most bad moods around.
- Classical music isn’t boring and you don’t need to be 70 years old to enjoy it (though maybe it helps). It can be emotional and riveting… plus classical radio stations are usually commercial free.
- Kesha is an underrated musical artist.
- Trying new things is one of the best ways to keep life from “flying by.” Our perception of time is primarily backwards looking, and the more unique experiences we have dropped onto the landscape of our personal history (milestones, as it were), the easier it is to differentiate periods of time and prevents the years from just “blurring” together.
- One bottle of Kiss My Face brand shaving cream will last for ages and feels like silk on your skin.
- Whiffing peppermint essential oil and gulping a big glass of water will knock out many headaches, no pills needed.
- 85% of the time, generic brands will do just fine.
- 95% of the time, hitting the snooze button is a bad idea.
- No one is responsible for your choices except for you.
- There will always be people who don’t understand your choices. Don’t spend time worrying about them.
- Changing to a vegan diet is without a doubt the single greatest choice I’ve made in my life.
- Home ownership is more difficult than I expected it would be.
- It’s still totally worth it.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (I never said these were original).
- A green smoothie a day keeps the doctor away.
- Roger Federer is the best tennis player of all time.
- Stan Wawrinka, also from Switzerland, is the second best tennis player.
- The Swiss really know how to make tennis players. And chocolate.
- In a majority of conflicts, the root issue is either miscommunication or lack of communication.
- Rescued is the best breed.
- Money can’t buy happiness, but it can afford comfort. It is, however, largely unrelated to fulfillment.
- We humans are so much more alike than we will ever be different.
- Everyone deserves a decent place to live.
- Righty tighty, lefty loosy.
- A friend wise beyond her years once told me she likes to spend her birthday the way she hopes to spend the rest of the year, and I think that must be the best birthday philosophy. If today is any indication, my year will be spent swimming, reading, writing, connecting with friends and family, and playing with my dog, and that sounds pretty darn good to me.
What is something you know for sure? If you made it this far, I would love to hear your certainties in the comments!