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Day 1 - Slow Down, You Crazy Child

Level 17

Dear Me,

As I thought about how to go about writing this letter, I remembered a quote by a great philosopher who you will come to love someday:

"Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young."

- Professor Albus Dumbledore

In our case, not only can I imagine what it feels like to be you, I can vividly remember it. So I want to frame my advice in a form you will find relatable and familiar: Through the lyrics of a Billy Joel song. Yes, one of his songs is a hauntingly accurate representation of the mistakes you will make (and are making right now) in your life. You'll be relieved to know it's not "Angry Young Man," "Miami 2017," or "Captain Jack." Nor, as I recall we feared, does your life come to resemble something from "Allentown" or "Big Shot."

However, there's one song of his that we've always loved, but which we failed for too many years to take seriously. In this letter, I wish I could change the trajectory of our behavior.

The song is "Vienna."

Slow down, you crazy child

You're so ambitious for a juvenile

But then if you're so smart, then tell me

Why are you still so afraid?

I know the fear you hold like cards close to your chest. And deep down, beyond the fear, is the fear that it is your fear itself which gives you an edge. It isn't.

Recently, I got to see one of our comic book heroes, Doctor Strange, represented on the big screen. It's one of the things you can truly look forward to: Movies about our heroes that look amazing (not like the "Glidden Commercial Doctor Strange" from the 70s) and tell incredible stories. In this particular one, The Ancient One calls b.s. on the very same logic that you have about your fear:

The Ancient One says, "Fear is what has held you back from true greatness. Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all."

Strange asks, "Which is?"

The Ancient One: "It's not about you."

Let it be about other people. Don't force yourself into the middle of the picture, the heart of the crowd, the center of attention. Be generous with the spotlight and you will be amazed at how much MORE it works in your favor in both the long and short run.

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?

You'd better cool it off before you burn it out

"Burnout" isn't even a term in your vocabulary right now. You have infinite stores of energy. Remember back at the third grade square dance when three teachers tried to tire you out? And they all ended up panting on the sidelines. Good times.

But even though you know this intellectually, you need to get it into your bones. Life isn't an elementary school dance. Learn now how to pick. Learn how to prioritize. Learn how to say "no" to things that may be fun but ultimately take more than they give; to things that don't look fun but you do out of guilt; to things that are worthwhile but not as worthwhile as the other choices in front of you.

Because overworking yourself seems like a noble cause until you open your eyes to see paramedics standing over you, your shirt cut open, and someone saying "charge, 300, clear!"

You've got so much to do

And only so many hours in a day

I know in your head it feels like the valiant thing is to accept all the challenges, take on all the quests, and fight through the exhaustion and confusion. Trust me when I tell you that choosing NOT to do something (whether that means "ever" or just "right now") is a braver choice than taking it all on and arriving at the finish line battered and bloody and unable to function until you heal. That fear the song mentions? We have a more precise word for it here in my day: FOMO, or "fear of missing out." You won't miss out on anything. You won't arrive at the performance, the meeting, the class, the party unprepared.

But you know that when the truth is told

That you can get what you want or you can just get old

You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through

When will you realize, Vienna waits for you

You "know" it, and you're wrong. It's marketing. It's propaganda. It's brainwashing by a youth-worshiping social machine bent on forcing everyone to work harder, deliver more, create more "value" – not for you, not for your family, not even for your retirement. But for the company. For the shareholders. For people who are already so rich they literally have more money than they could ever possibly spend.

Don't fall for it.

Slow down, you're doing fine

You can't be everything you want to be before your time

Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight

Tonight,

You've been raised from infancy on the idea that you can be and do anything you set your mind to. I'm not here to say that's not true. What I AM here to tell you is that you can't be EVERYTHING you set your mind to. And you absolutely cannot be everything that you want, all at the same time. When we were little we could say we were going to be an actor-president-astronaut-marine-biologist. Now it sounds silly. Because we should know that choices open some doors and permanently close others. That might make you feel wistful, but it shouldn't make you feel sad. You shouldn't regret the consequences of choosing so much that you refuse to make the choice all together. Because NOT choosing is itself a choice, and has consequences, and closes the door on opportunities just as much.

Too bad but it's the life you lead

You're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need

Though you can see when you're wrong, you know

you can't always see when you're right. you're right

You know what our motto ought to be?  "Ready, FIRE!, aim."

Meditate more. Think more. Stop more.

Learn to taste your food. I know you think you already do, but trust me on this one, you don't.

Learn to savor. Books. Concerts. Moments.

Only when you do that, will you be able to see that some of your choices were correct, but you switched them last-minute because you second-guessed yourself.

You've got your passion, you've got your pride

But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?

Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true

When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

You are already driven to succeed. You already have a well-developed ego to help you get past small failures and minor criticisms. Don't let that turn into the stubborn bluster you grew up seeing around you. It's OK to take the critique and just get down to the hard work of improvement, without equivocating. Not every correction requires you to explain why. Just say "got it" and get to fixing it. And when you realize those criticisms are piling up, that time after time you are missing the mark (and they will, and you will) it's OK to graciously recognize that this isn't your game, no matter how much you want it to be. The hero who is astonishingly good at everything is a stupid trope, unrealistic in the actual world, and even in fantasy books it's just a sign of lazy writing. Don't make it a standard you look up or aspire to.

Slow down, you crazy child

And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile

It's all right, you can afford to lose a day or two

When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

The phone. You have no idea right now. You're going to need to take this on faith when I tell you that the FOMO I mentioned earlier will only get worse, aided and abetted by a confluence of technologies you literally cannot imagine. And it's your imagination, now, that is planting the seeds of your downfall. Your ability to hide inside your mind, to go off on mental adventures, is going to be augmented later on, and the result will be broken relationships, frustrated family members, and distant friends. Develop the skills now, the strength of character, the willpower to understand that not every moment needs your instant attention. Or your attention ever. By definition, the people nearest you are the most important. They are the ones who chose to show up, to stay, to be in your company. Give that choice the respect it deserves.

And you know that when the truth is told

That you can get what you want or you can just get old

You're gonna kick off before you even get half through

Why don't you realize, Vienna waits for you

Do you know what Billy Joel's "Vienna" really is? It's a place where people of all ages have active lives; where they do important work regardless of the wrinkles on their face or the thinning hair on their head. The song is saying "slow down" because you literally have your whole life in front of you to do whatever you want to do. To continue to make choices, to learn new things, pursue new dreams, to pick up threads you'd dropped before. But that's only if you keep your mind and your life in order. It's only if you don't break all the dishes trying to put them away before the commercial break ends.

You have time. We all do. You want proof? Bram Stoker didn't write Dracula (or anything, really) until he was 50. Debbie Harry didn't start singing until she was 31.  Leonard Cohen didn't start until 33. Charles Bukowski wrote his first novel at 51. Julia Child wrote her first cookbook when she was 50. Grandma Moses began her painting career at 78. You. Have. Time.

I know this seems like a tall order. I know it seems like you have to change every aspect of your life. But that's not true, and there's a very simple key to all of this.

First, doing this is simple like the song itself is simple. There's really just ONE thing to do: slow down. Slow your breathing. Slow your pace. Slow your decisions. Just take time.

Second, the key is right there in front of you: Listen to Debbie. She's not always right, but she's more often right than wrong. And even when she is wrong, she's less wrong that most. She sees you in a way that you will never be able to see yourself. So recognize that her perception of you is the true one, and the one in your head is skewed. Listen to her advice, even when it seems insane. Especially when she talks about what you should do next, or how much salary to negotiate, or when it's time to move on.

Slow down, you crazy child. Know that here at the other end of this letter I'm thinking fondly of the me I once was, without shame, guilt, or deep regret. Know that you're going to make it through mostly OK. But also know that future-you (that's me) would be deeply grateful if past-me (that's you) could make this one little change.

I wish you all the best on the rollercoaster you've got ahead of you.

Love,

Me

61 Comments

I have a family member that was like that. I would tell my friends his problem was he was above average at too many things. Which made it hard for him to choose, because he could do most things he set his heart to. But that also lead to constant series of regrets in his early adult years, which then led to very dark times for him. Choices not made led to paths not taken, then regrets, then guilt, then depression.

Today he has a wife and son and does yoga. He still has his struggles but is much better. Slowing down in many different ways can be a good thing.

I wish your younger self time to be in the moment. You won't do everything you want, pick one or two things and think about how you can be really good at them. The rest will turn into - AND OTHER TASKS/JOBS AS REQUIRED.

Level 12

Slow down and enjoy life it is too short not too.

Level 15

By definition, the people nearest you are the most important. They are the ones who chose to show up, to stay, to be in your company. Give that choice the respect it deserves.

Such a hard, yet important lesson. Being mindful and not taking your support system for granted is a huge sign of emotional maturity that we all should be striving for.

Reading this reminds me of that delightfully average movie, "Get Him to the Greek" When Aldous Snow attempts to reconcile with his wife after coming clean with drugs. Her response to him was:

  "So? Yoga then became your heroin. You did bloody yoga 8 hours a day! You'll always be addicted to something!"

We all feed our inner beasts in our own way. Some more so than others (more on that in future posts, stay tuned). The beast's diet is a complex mixture of: passion, desire, drive, motivation, want, need, survival, and sometimes, obsession.

It is important to identify the origin of our own selves, or of our beasts. I'll spare you the long backstory but my beast grew from two main influences: the lifelong pursuit to seek approval (it's a distant parent/child thing), and to repeat the euphoria I experienced during the t-ball championship when I was 8 years old (it sounds silly but I kid you not... it shaped my life).

So whatever I tell my younger self I keep this in mind..

Level 14

Slowdown and go for a bike ride.  Take the time to greet your neighbors while on your ride.  Take in the sights and scents of your neighborhood.  Roll through every nook and cranny.  You get to see so much more when you just slow down.

It is such a heartwarming, gratifying, and validating feeling to see your own thoughts expressed by someone else who can articulate them so well in writing... far better than you ever could. Thanks for this Leon, it is truly inspiring. As a 20-something I am blessed to be learning these lessons at this time in my life.

Dear Younger Me:

A world of good will come from treating everyone as you want to be treated.  A world of hurt follows if you don't.

Don't get tangled up in things that aren't enjoyable and interesting and beneficial to someone.  While you have your entire life ahead of you, it's too brief to waste on petty squabbles or major ones.  Spend no time worrying about things you can't change.  They're in the past.  Learn from them, modify your behavior so you don't repeat them, and move on.

Take a note from a song James Taylor recorded; consider making it your motto.

"The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time.  Any fool can do it."

That means slow down on the highway--to be safe and to live a nice, long life.  "Haste makes waste" isn't trite--it's true.  You'll get to your destination safely going the speed limit--or slower.  You'll save gasoline, create less pollution, and you'll have lower blood pressure.

It's not about getting to work ten minutes earlier, or home five minutes later, or getting in front of that other driver or behind stuck behind someone going slower than you want.  It's about being content with following good ideas that will keep you safe.  Don't be in a rush and you won't get in as many accidents.  It's a proven fact.

James Taylor also sang (in the same song):

"The secret of love is in opening up your heart.

It's okay to feel afraid, but don't let that stand in your way.

Cause anyone knows that love is the only road.

And since we're only here for a while, might as well show some style. "

You'll make great decisions about love along the way.  Trust your gut, be that guy who gets stuck in "the friend zone", and the right girl will still show up to be at your side for the rest of your life.

James finished it up saying:

" . . . try not to try too hard, it's just a lovely ride.

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time."

Remember this and leave the rat race with its ulcers and high blood pressure and heart attacks behind.

James Taylor - Secret O' Life - YouTube

Level 10

"You have time. We all do. You want proof? Bram Stoker didn't write Dracula (or anything, really) until he was 50. Debbie Harry didn't start singing until she was 31.  Leonard Cohen didn't start until 33. Charles Bukowski wrote his first novel at 51. Julia Child wrote her first cookbook when she was 50. Grandma Moses began her painting career at 78. You. Have. Time."

This is such an inspiring post. I have four books and a couple of patents on my to-do list to work on. The other day, I was chatting with my wife and she noticed the list (they are actually in my Outlook task list, ha-ha). She didn't understand the list, because they are just titles for my book ideas and patent ideas. I explained to her that those were the books and patents I will probably never get to start working on because of our busy lives. She sighed and agreed with me. She also has things she has been putting off for years that she wants to do.

This post tells me two things about my dilemma. One, slow down and make time to do things or work on things that will make you feel complete. Two, don't feel like you need to do everything at once or by a certain age. There will be time to write those books and bring that meaning into your life.

Level 10

It is true that you've got so much to do and only a little time.

On the other hand, you shouldn't simply race through life.

Therefore, strike the right balance.

Do what you need to do.

Enjoy life as you do it.

Level 7

At my stating line (27) I have read all your wonderful andvice and have started to reconsider how I am diving myself not only on my carrier but also on the day to dta activities with my family

From now on I will Slow down and open up to the experience that life realy is

Thanks Future ME

Level 11

Life does move very fast and there are times you definitely need to just take a deep breath and slow down. Step back from the day, enjoy what has been gifted you in your life.

MVP
MVP

Slow down, you crazy child

There's a lot more to learn

There's a lot more to achieve

There's a lot more to dream

There's a lot more to life

Don't burn yourself down thinking you lack behind the few who are awesome in what they do

Don't burn yourself down thinking you are left with nothing

Don't burn yourself down thinking I gotta make a mark

Don't burn yourself down thinking am I of any use to the planet

Each step at a time, each step at a time, each step at a time ... should be the mantra in what you do

Each step at a time, would make a happy you

Level 15

Looking back at life i think about how fast the world has moved around me.   I often think about what i could have done differently, but then I stop and know I am here because I didn't do too bad of job making decisions.   I might have rushed in to my first and or second Marriage.  I might have rushed leaving a great company one time for a chance at something better.   I might have rushed around like a fool on black Friday for the deal that was never really there or always there, depending on how you looked at it.   I might have ate way too fast and missed some really great meals of conversation, but received substance.    could things be different has I slowed the pace, yes, would the outcome be different?  I don't know, can't say, and if it was would i have even a twinkle of the happiness, success or love i have now?   I believe the crazy child is the me I always needed to be to be me today.  

I could have been better,

but I rather not see.  

I am much happier

knowing i am me.... 

Level 14

Speed kills.

Slow down and live.... really live. See what the world has to offer. Notice everything and enjoy it more.

You may find something that you may have overlooked that could be a life changer. Don't risk it!

The younger me learned this just in time. But it could have gone differently.

Level 13

There is a lot that I would change if I could write a letter to myself. I'd certainly have a happier, more peaceful life..  Both personal and professional.

Level 12

Yes, we have to slow down in our life as well, when it comes to improvement. Slow and study wins the Race. Though this is an old saying, it worked with me.

Initially I used to be too fast in providing answers or responding. After graduation only, while working I learnt the value of slow down. It really works not only at work but also in your life .

MVP
MVP

I'm a auto racing fan and there's more than on story and/or illustration of drivers learning that you slow down to go fast. Just what does that mean? If you drive just as fast as you can you don't hit your lines, you don't brake at the best times, you accelerate too hard, etc. When you slow down - in other words, focus on doing things right - you hit the best lines because that is a focus, you brake at the best times because that is a focus, you accelerate best because that is a focus. So, slowing down actually makes you lap times better. The same too with IT work. I've been guilty of rushing through a project only to later see my mistakes and have to redo or repair what I've done. When we slow down and take things carefully and methodically we are at our best.

Level 10

Great synopsis on how crazy life is.   I tried to realize that everyday and get caught up in the whirlwind.    We recently moved and my wife and I are trying to slow down to spend more time with family and friends to enjoy it because the time seems to go by fast.    Enjoy eating pizza with the family, go to a event with others, just take a deep breath and try to not get involved in the rat race.   Live the day to the fullest!

Level 9

That was beautifully written and great advice. I am nearly 40 and just starting in my IT career. It is great to be reminded that it's never too late to learn, begin anew, or begin again.

Level 13

Stop and smell the roses..  Slow down and enjoy

Some of you might have figured out by now that music is a huge part of my life.  Ever since I was a child, I have had some song playing in my head every waking moment of every day.  The song changes depending on what i've just heard on the radio or what I'm feeling or thinking, but a song is omnipresent.  As I was reading the posts here, starting with adatole​'s perfectly written letter to his younger self, two songs alternated in my brain.  The first I mentioned in the preamble thread: "Dear Younger Me" by MercyMe.  The second is a much more abstract an quirky number by the famous vocal duo, Simon and Garfunkel: "The 59th Street Bridge Song" A.K.A "Feelin' Groovy".  The first verse is what is on repeat:

"Slow down, you move too fast

You got to make the morning last"

Now, it's no coinkydink that the word I hear instead of "morning" is "moment", so in my head it plays, "You got to make the moment last".

I find it fascinating that time is a fluid commodity; that when we are having fun, it can fly by so quickly (in Latin, they would say "tempus fugit', which literally translates "time flees", not, as we have come to say in the West, "time flies") and when we are feeling lugubrious, it can drag on and linger unwelcome.  If you think about that distinction for a moment, "to flee" means to run away from something.  So if time runs away from us, could it mean that we are abusing it?

Oh, to be in a position to take advantage of the last verse of "Feelin' Groovy":

"I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep

I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep

Let the morningtime drop all its petals on me"

But to my younger self, I would absolutely say the last line over and over:

"Life, I love you, all is groovy"

Level 12

I would say to my younger self:

  • respect enjoy your family, they will not be around forever.
  • take your education more seriously, don't try to just get-by, apply yourself.
Level 9

It's so easy to let the little things build and consume you.  Learn to prioritize and get what you can done.  Remember, you can't do it all.  You only have one chance in this life, make it the best you can.

This entire concept is crucial. I took some time and stepped back on a lot of things to ensure I had more time to meditate; to force myself to be mindful. Doing so made such a difference on my life but when you become out of practice everything falls apart again. It helped me re-remember who were the most important folks close to me.

Level 10

"There's really just ONE thing to do: slow down. Slow your breathing. Slow your pace. Slow your decisions. Just take time."


Fantastic advice.  So many people would be better off if they would simply utilize this.  Now if only I could remember it most days....

Level 20

The news cycle alone drives me half crazy.  Taking time to do other things and watch other shows is better than the rat race that is 2018 news.  I've lost most all respect in what the system today calls news.  It's not news anymore it's peoples opinions I could do much better without.  It's much better for me to focus on the things today that I dreamed about when I was young because today I have the opportunity to fulfil many of those dreams each day.  I'm using the tools today that I only imagined a couple decades ago.  I remember always thinking go with the flow when I was younger.  It's much easier to not fight the currents in today's domain.

Level 9

One person's speed shouldn't dictate another these days. Follow your own way and find your own success...

Level 9

As an early adult I let FOMO control my life more then I should have.  It amazing how much life has changed that prospective.

Well put, whitebd@andersonhospital.org​.  Like the song from "The Lion King" so eloquently states:

"From the day we arrive on the planet

And, blinking, step into the sun

There's more to be seen than can ever be seen

More to do than can ever be done

There is far too much to take in here

More to find than can ever be found"

The moment we realize that FOMO is just our way of wanting something (or someone or whatever) we can't and never will have, we have everything we could ever want and more.  That's the beauty and the paradox of this wonderful existence we call life.  Not settling, by any means, but being content with not having everything.

Level 9

It's hard to slow down...especially when the kids were smaller.  I make a point to actually sit down with the kiddos each day and connect.  Yoga also helps slow things down a little as well as power-waking at lunch.

Level 12

Try a newspaper, if you have one to which you can subscribe. It takes time to read, goes into more detail, and doesn't assault you with loud volume and overwrought graphics.

Level 9

So well said! This song has always spoken to my younger self as well. Thank you for sharing it!

Level 10

Sometimes you can't slow down but you can make better priority choices.  Life is a balance.  Make sure you are enjoying and cherishing your balance.

Level 9

you've only one life, take the time to enjoy it!

MVP
MVP

Excellent and thought provoking piece adatole​ and loved the way you weaved in the lyrics from a song.

I am looking forward to reading everyone's posts on this theme. I think this will give a huge amount of insight into everyone, with this fitting into my adolescent years perfectly.

Level 9

This is SO true and such a good read....slow down and smell the roses.  For so much of my younger life I felt like I was living with no regrets and as I got older I realized I had more regrets that i cared to realize.  Thank you for this thought provoking / poignant writing.

Level 9

Sometimes even slowing down long enough to read a thoughtful blog post can be a challenge. I'm glad I read this one though, and feeling inspired now to have a slow and peaceful evening with my nearest and dearest.

Level 11

Again one of my favorite points was made. I usually find it best said from a song, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

The 'you have time' sentiments are nice, but I must disagree with them. As the saying goes, you could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Lots of other things could go wrong. My father passed away at 53, and it was not within family memory that any man had lived past 56 without significant health issues. My brother died at 37, less than a year after his kidney transplant. I'm 46, closing on five years after my own kidney transplant and have had rejection issues since the second year post-transplant.

I used to joke that I tried to burn the candle at all three ends (instead of 'just' both of them) when I was in college. The numbers -- ones I related above and others -- told me I could not expect a long life, so wanted to accomplish as much as I could. Did something break? Sure it did; hard to say exactly what. It's way too long a story to relate here, and would be a real downer. Suffice it to say I was never able to handle the physical stress to which I'd become accustomed again, and that no one who has met me since, including my wife, ever met "the real me," but only what I consider the pale imitation left behind.

Would I tell my younger self to change things, knowing what has happened since? I probably would not. I doubt "the old me" would have lasted much, if any, longer. I also doubt it would have significantly increased my lifespan. I'd have lost the ability to look in the mirror, ask myself whether I put everything I had -- win or lose -- into going after my goals, and pass the red face test.

Level 8

Wow this is so wonderful. These are lessons that I'm trying to teach my 7 year old. He want's everything now and thinks that he has to be perfect at everything he does. I don't know where he gets his perfectionist attitude but this is such a wonderful lesson. As I sat here reading this I'm trying to formulate how to explain these life lessons so that he can understand them. Wonderful post.

Level 8

I find this post and most of the comments quite insightful and motivational. Fairly certain THWACK ran a a similar thing was run last year.

There is a balance to just about everything said here. There are allot of really good motivational statements can be taken from the comments above.

Thanks Leon Adato on your write-up. It's not often you come across a song with so many of "Life's lessons to be learned". I don't have a song I can think of off the top of my head I would like to pull inspiration from. However, I'll take a crack at writing down a few motivational quotes that I have come across in my profession that I'd like to share.

Alright to work like a horse, but don't let them treat you like a donkey.

              Don't overwork yourself, especially if you are going to be under-appreciated. Understand that you are in charge of your decisions and directions. You sometimes need to find this out for yourself (You should certainly not let someone choose that direction for you).

Life is about the Journey, not the Destination

               Stop and enjoy, take a moment and look back on how you have gotten this far. There will no doubt be gains and regrets for every choice you have made. I see allot of people here that talk about the experience or something they could have changed when they were younger. Allot of these regrets are lessons learnt and provide the character and experience for where we all are at right now.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

               Is it better to know a little about allot, or allot about a little? Specialising has its monetary benefits, yes. Will this be it's fault in a fast moving world like today? Today's technology is tomorrow's history, and this seems to be occurring at an ever increasing rate. Don't be afraid or too complacent to try and learn something new...

Level 13

Interesting points Leon; Thanks for sharing. I found myself having a bit of difficulty staying on track whilst reading your essay. Maybe my ADHD is acting up. Maybe I was just having difficulty vaulting the Wall Of Text. I have been, on multiple occasions, having been accused for writing WOT. I think I might tell my younger self: "Brevity can be more effective than explanation at length."

Level 8

Well I have to say this isn’t what I expected when I saw the challenge posted. What a great story and so true. I have to tell myself to slow down on a daily basis and enjoy the moments before they pass right by. I have 5 children ranging from 17 to 1 and all involved with their own activities (Football, Hockey, Marching Band, Dancing) and I try to be as involved as I can (Hockey coach, Band Volunteer, Prop Dad, etc) while still enjoying my wife and hobbies. My advice would be to stop and enjoy the moment in front of you...  Vienna will be waiting!

Level 11

Worrying is like trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum

Enjoy life, take it all in, as it's super short and it'll pass you by in no time.

Level 9

The Ancient One says, "Fear is what has held you back from true greatness. Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all."

Strange asks, "Which is?"

The Ancient One: "It's not about you."

I read this in their voices, love how the MCU has relevantly made an appearance here

MVP
MVP

This reminds me of taking a test in high school. It was a piece of paper saying to complete all the tasks in X minutes.

Something akin to the following:

Step 1 - Read all the instructions.

Step 2 - Write your name in the top right corner.

Step 3 - Click your fingers once under the table.

Step 4 - Draw a square in the top left corner.

Step 5 - 19 - various other quick tasks

Step 20 - Ignore all the steps except 1 and 2.

I read through probably the first half and in a rush to complete, missed the last step. At least I wasn't the only one in class to do that so not terribly embarrassing.

Level 11

Faster isn't always better unless your in NASCAR and sometimes that's not even true.

mjperkins​, I LOVE Rush!  The whole chorus of that song is so poignant:

"You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears and time that apt to kill

I will choose a path that's clear, I will choose free will"

Life is all about choices and while I am sorry to hear about your and your family's health issues, it sounds like you are choosing to lilve life on your terms, not knowing what tomorrow brings.  There's another song (a country song, and I'm not big on Country Music) called "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw.  The first verse sends chills up my spine every time I hear it.

"I was in my early forties, with a lot of life before me

And a moment came that stopped me on a dime

I spent most of the next days staring at the X-Rays

Talkin' 'bout options and talkin' 'bout sweet time"

The song goes on to talk about what the man, to whom Tim was talking, did when it all sank in...and the man said he did things that he would never have done.

"'I went sky divin', I went Rocky Mountain climbin'

I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu

And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter

And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin''

And he said 'Someday I hope you get the chance

To live like you were dyin''"

My father died from colorectal cancer when he was 56 years old...I was 16 when he passed away.  I look back and wonder if he had made different choices, both in his attitude and his actions, would it have made a difference...but I'll never know.  My heart goes out to you, mjperkins​, and I wish you the best of everything in this life!

Level 15

Beautiful write up! My wife reminds me to slow down and enjoy myself almost every day.

Level 13

I had something similar happen in a grad Geomorphology class final.  There were several pages of narrative, basically you're a consulting geologist doing a  professional hydro study and you've got all this data and related detail.  There was one salient point that you didn't find out until you read through all the setup.  There is a fundamental equation you always use when you do a hydro study, and when you looked at the data it didn't fit the equation.  It's basically a lithmus test - if the results of this equation do not equal 1, you have bad data somewhere and you have to go do the data again.  Guess what?  The data didn't equal 1. My heart almost stopped when I saw that, and I quadruple (maybe more) checked over and over to make sure I was right.  So about 15 minutes into a 2 hour final, I turned in my paper with the answer being basically we have bad data and have to redo the survey.  You could almost hear this collective gasp when I turned it in.  I got this knowing half smile from the professor though, so I knew I'd nailed it.    So glad I learned to read through the entire thing.

One other point, I was one of the older students - I was 28 when most of the folks around me were 20 or so.  Sometimes age helps.

Thanks for sharing this, Leon. Good advice, for almost everyone.

I've been trying to slow down a little myself, and take more time away from screens of various kinds, and settle with a book and no distractions. Life in 2018 is FAST! We're all tying to do more with less time, sleeping less, but working longer hours. When you think about where IT started, it was supposed to help us work LESS!

About the Author
In my sordid career, I have been an actor, bug exterminator and wild-animal remover (nothing crazy like pumas or wildebeasts. Just skunks and raccoons.), electrician, carpenter, stage-combat instructor, American Sign Language interpreter, and Sunday school teacher. Oh, and I work with computers. Since 1989 (when you got a free copy of Windows 286 on twelve 5¼” floppies when you bought a copy of Excel 1.0) I have worked as a classroom instructor, courseware designer, desktop support tech, server support engineer, and software distribution expert. Then about 14 years ago I got involved with systems monitoring. I've worked with a wide range of tools: Tivoli, Nagios, Patrol, ZenOss, OpenView, SiteScope, and of course SolarWinds. I've designed solutions for companies that were extremely modest (~10 systems) to those that were mind-bogglingly large (250,000 systems in 5,000 locations). During that time, I've had to chance to learn about monitoring all types of systems – routers, switches, load-balancers, and SAN fabric as well as windows, linux, and unix servers running on physical and virtual platforms.