Sunday, March 30, 2014
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The Giants Of Iceland
Despite its tiny population, Iceland has a reputation in the World's Strongest Man competition that stands higher than perhaps any other country's. This small, black rock has produced a lineage of strongmen dating back to the Vikings.
THOSE VIKINGS MUST HAVE BEEN BADASS!!
THOSE VIKINGS MUST HAVE BEEN BADASS!!
Today, there's often a perception that Asian children are given a hard time by their parents. But a few hundred years ago northern Europe took a particularly harsh line, sending children away to live and work in someone else's home. Not surprisingly, the children didn't always like it.Around the year 1500, an assistant to the Venetian ambassador to England was struck by the strange attitude to parenting that he had encountered on his travels.
He wrote to his masters in Venice that the English kept their children at home "till the age of seven or nine at the utmost" but then "put them out, both males and females, to hard service in the houses of other people, binding them generally for another seven or nine years". The unfortunate children were sent away regardless of their class, "for everyone, however rich he may be, sends away his children into the houses of others, whilst he, in return, receives those of strangers into his own".
It was for the children's own good, he was told - but he suspected the English preferred having other people's children in the household because they could feed them less and work them harder.
READ MORE HERE
Monday, March 24, 2014
Today, it's increasingly become the responsibility of the worker to put money away for retirement in the form of a 401(k) plan or an IRA — that is, a defined contribution plan.
The goal of this post is not to explain the mechanics of retirement plans. Rather, we want to show you the importance of saving sooner than later.
It all comes down to one elementary mathematical principle: compound interest.
Compound interest occurs when the interest that accrues to an amount of money in turn accrues interest itself. It's the deceivingly simple force that causes wealth to rapidly snowball. This is why it's the concept that is at the core of all finance.
The folks at JP Morgan Asset Management demonstrate the true power of compound interest in their 2014 "Guide to Retirement."
Their example consists of three people who experience the same annual return on their retirement funds:
- Susan, who invests $5,000 per year only from ages 25 to 35 (10 years)
- Bill, who also invests $5,000 per year, but from ages 35 to 65 (30 years)
- And Chris, who also invests $5,000 per year, but from ages 25 to 65 (40 years)
Interestingly, Susan, who saved for just 10 years, has more wealth than Bill, who saved for 30 years.
That discrepancy is explained by compound interest.
You see, all of the investment returns that Susan earned in her 10 years of saving is snowballing — big time. It's to the point that Bill can't catch up, even if he saves for an additional 20 years.
Of course, if Susan saved like Chris ... well, if you haven't noticed, Chris' savings are just the savings of Bill and Susan combined.
The longer you wait to start saving for retirement, the more you miss out on the benefits of the incredible power of compound interest.
Sausage gravy is deeply, deeply disreputable food. In its typical presentation, slopped across biscuits in some charmingly run-down roadside diner with Patsy Cline playing on the jukebox, it is, in essence, flour on flour, dressed up as actual sustenance by the inclusion of token quantities of butter and pork—which, you may have noticed, are not exactly kale and lima beans—and not-at-all-token quantities of salt and milkfat, which are also not kale and lima beans.
When the best that can be said of a foodstuff's nutritional virtue is that, hey, rendered pork fat—one of its main ingredients—has, like, what, amino acids or some shit, probably, or maybe riboflavin, I ain't no dietitian, get offa my case, I can eat what I want, maybe I don't want to live to see 55, didja ever consider that, we can probably all agree that it ought not to be a staple food of the non-suicidal. So no, don't, like, add it to your regular breakfast rotation, or at least be aware that now that I have advised you against doing that, that pretty much clears up my liability in this matter.
But, sure: Make sausage gravy this one time, and then maybe whip it up once or twice a year for a big Sunday breakfast or something, because damn, it's really good. Rich and salty and good. And cheap! It's mostly flour and low-grade meat products, after all, and while this certainly is bad news for your person, it's good news for your wallet. You can have sausage gravy, and then put the leftover money you otherwise would have spent on a breakfast that contained actual life-sustaining nutriment into, say, a brand-new treadmill. And/or a coronary angiogram. Worst-case scenario, maybe a slightly fancier tombstone.
First, though, let's make some sausage gravy.
To begin, acquire sausage. A pound of it should do. Decide for yourself what type of sausage you'd like to use: The stuff labeled "breakfast sausage" is perfectly fine, and so is Italian, provided it's the hot variety, though note also that Mexican chorizo is outrageously good in sausage gravy. The only requirements are that your sausage must be uncooked and uncased—if you can only find the cased stuff, you'll need to remove the casing with a knife. Go ahead and do that. Man, is it gross.
Next, set your sausage aside for a bit and preheat your oven to 425 degrees, because you are making your own goddamn biscuits. Yes, you are.
Listen. Here is the thing. There's a reason why the biscuit exists, and why people eat it so often, and that reason is that the biscuit is delicious and perfect and oh man, the biscuit. But there is also a subsidiary reason why the biscuit exists and is so popular, and that reason is that, as bready-type things go, the biscuit is absurdly easy to make, and make well, which is to say well enough to cause your lips to curl over your teeth and attempt to follow the biscuit down your throat, just to be near it. And then you have to pull your lips back out of your mouth with your fingers and tape them to your face, which maybe is not exactly the sexiest look ever, but that's OK, because your stomach is full of homemade biscuits, and that is for damn sure a hell of a lot more important than whether or not they will let you board "the bus," if that even is its real name.
And, since the biscuit is so easy to make (really: You kinda just mix a bunch of stuff in a bowl, fold it over a few times on your counter, and then cook it), it's an easy thing to remove from the list of foodstuffs you must depend upon The Faceless, Merciless All-Owning Mega-Corporation to provide for you. Really. You can make your own biscuits. And then you can shake them, defiantly, at the entrance of an Apple Store, for some reason.
So. Make biscuit dough. There are many ways to make biscuit dough; you practiced one of them back when you made peach cobbler (unless of course you heretofore failed to make peach cobbler, in which case go to hell), and that's the basic formulation you'll deploy here, too. In a bowl, whisk together two cups of flour, a tablespoon of baking powder, a pinch of sugar, and two much heartier pinches of salt; cut a cold stick of unsalted butter into small chunks and kinda pinch and press and knead these into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and lumpy, but doesn't contain any wads of butter larger than, say, a pearl; gently stir in, oh, maybe a bit less than a cup of warm (not hot) water or milk (but really: milk) until the contents of the bowl just hang together as a dough. There. A dough.
And now, transform your dough into biscuits. Sprinkle some flour on the countertop (yes, this will be messy; no, you will not be able to summon the will to clean it before 2047; yes, the end result will be worth it) and dump your dough onto it. With your hands, press and pat and flatten this big dough heap until it's about as thick as your index finger, fold it in half, and pat and press it down again until it's about as thick as your thumb. Grab a round dough-cutter (Ha! Psych. You will never possess one of these. Open, empty, and clean out that ancient can of chicken-and-rice soup that has somehow followed your family from residence to residence through the past three generations, waiting for this moment, the moment of its usefulness, quivering imperceptibly in anticipation of sweet, merciful annihilation each time you opened the pantry door, and then sobbing to itself when you yet again reached past it for the marshmallows, those trollops, damn them, but not this time, this time it is I, Chicken-And-Rice, who shall return triumphantly to The Void) and cut out as many whole disks as you can; ball up and pat down the remainder and cut disks out of that, too, then stash whatever's left in, um, your mouth, of course, and quickly, while no one is looking.
Spread these dough-disks out on a big, flat cookie sheet with some parchment paper (or butter, or cooking spray, or whatever, no not socks) on it, stick the thing in your preheated oven, and bake your biscuits. This one time, and only this one time, that is not a euphemism for anything. They'll need about 15 minutes. This will give you plenty of time to make sausage gravy. This is awfully easy.
Heat up a skillet or saucier pan (stainless steel is best, here, but whatever you've got will do just fine, unless it is an upturned fedora, in which case why do you even own a fedora, it makes you look like a jerk) and brown your pound of uncased sausage over, say, medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as it cooks, until it's thoroughly browned and there aren't too many huge crumbles in there. Once that's done, you'll need to move the browned sausage from the pan to a bowl without losing the wonderful liquid pork fat that rendered out of it as it cooked. If you have a slotted spoon for this, that's ideal, since it'll leave that fat right there in the pan; if you don't have a slotted spoon, you can pour the contents of the pan through a colander suspended above a big bowl, so the sausage gets caught in the colander and the fat runs through into the bowl, and then dump the fat back into the pan. In any case, set the sausage aside for a minute, because you're gonna work with the fat.
So you've got a big pan full of liquid pork fat, and isn't that just what you've always wanted. Keep the heat under it at around medium, and whisk maybe a quarter of a cup of flour into the fat. Whisk and whisk, until the pork fat is fully absorbed into the flour and you have a smooth, consistent, lump-free flour-and-pork-fat paste the very sight of which would cause your primary healthcare provider to bury a large ax directly into your chest.
What you've done here, in essence, is to make a pork-fat roux, the thickening agent used in the making of several traditional French sauces. In fact, what you'll be doing next is turning this pork-fat roux into something like a quick pork-fat Béchamel sauce, and maybe—once you retrieve your computer from the canyon into which you reflexively pitched it at the sight of French cooking terminology—this will make you feel somewhat better about using flour to make biscuits and then using flour to make the gravy that will go atop them, if your discomfort at preparing such extravagantly unhealthful hobo-chow can be assuaged somewhat by associating it with fancy cuisine-words, or if your general sense of bonhomie (oh God, more French) can be buoyed by a reminder that we're all, all of us, sausage-gravy-eating vagrants and pretentious French chefs alike, like, the same on the inside, man, insofar as we all apparently contain both the desire to consume flour suspended in liquefied fat, and also, much of the time, large quantities of flour suspended in liquefied fat.
So your fat has flour in it and is a smooth, good-smelling paste. Whisking all the while, pour two cups of whole milk into the pan. Whisk and whisk and whisk. Gradually, the flour in the pan will absorb this milk, and the mixture will turn thick and bubbly, until it is very thick and bubbly, and you go, "Oh, that's gravy." Now it is gravy. Stir that crumbled, cooked sausage into the gravy, along with a very large amount of freshly ground black pepper, and (tasting as you go) however much salt is required to make it good and salty. Hey, now: That there is some goddamn sausage gravy. What are you gonna do with it? You are gonna by-God eat it.
By now the biscuits should be done, or close to it. Get the biscuits out of the oven, and let them sit and cool for a minute or two while you try not to dive headlong into the sausage gravy. Then it will be time to cram all of this stuff into yourself.
Split one or two biscuits onto a plate and scoop a heaping, messy, ludicrous portion of sausage gravy atop them. You are of course free to stop there and proceed to the eating portion of the affair, but!—the right thing to do, the just thing, the humane thing, is to quickly prepare two or three over-easy fried eggs, and place these atop the sausage gravy, so that when you puncture their yolks with a fork (or, should you wish to perish as soon as possible, some bacon), the runny yellow goodness will ooze down and mingle with the sausage gravy and align the planets and bring about an Age Of Peace that will last only as long as it takes you to wolf this rich, hearty, heavy, salty, impossibly satisfying meal down with glazed, slavering, primal intensity, and drift promptly into a deep and blissful coma.
Enjoy the rest. Oh man, are you gonna have to do a lotta friggin' jumping jacks when you wake up.
10 Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30swhat I learned in my 20s.
But I did something else. I sent an email out to my subscribers (subscribe here) and asked readers age 37 and older what advice they would give their 30-year-old selves. The idea was that I would crowdsource the life experience from my older readership and create another article based on their collective wisdom.
The result was spectacular. I received over 600 responses, many of which were over a page in length. It took me a solid three days to read through them all and I was floored by the quality of insight people sent.
So first of all, a hearty thank you to all who contributed and helped create this article.
While going through the emails what surprised me the most was just how consistent some of the advice was. The same 5-6 pieces of advice came up over and over and over again in different forms across literally 100s of emails. It seems that there really are a few core pieces of advice that are particularly relevant to this decade of your life.
Below are 10 of the most common themes appearing throughout all of the 600 emails. The majority of the article is comprised of dozens of quotes taken from readers. Some are left anonymous. Others have their age listed.
1. Start Saving for Retirement Now, Not Later“I spent my 20s recklessly, but your 30s should be when you make a big financial push. Retirement planning is not something to put off. Understanding boring things like insurance, 401ks & mortgages is important since its all on your shoulders now. Educate yourself.” (Kash, 41)
The most common piece of advice — so common that almost every single email said at least something about it — was to start getting your financial house in order and to start saving for retirement… today.
There were a few categories this advice fell into:
- Make it your top priority to pay down all of your debt as soon as possible.
- Keep an “emergency fund” — there were tons of horror stories about people getting financially ruined by health issues, lawsuits, divorces, bad business deals, etc.
- Stash away a portion of every paycheck, preferably into a 401k, an IRA or at the least, a savings account.
- Don’t spend frivolously. Don’t buy a home unless you can afford to get a good mortgage with good rates.
- Don’t invest in anything you don’t understand. Don’t trust stockbrokers.
And then there were the readers who were just completely screwed by their inability to save in their 30s. One reader named Jodi wishes she had started saving 10% of every paycheck when she was 30. Her career took a turn for the worst and now she’s stuck at 57, still living paycheck to paycheck. Another woman, age 62, didn’t save because her husband out-earned her. They later got divorced and she soon ran into health problems, draining all of the money she received in the divorce settlement. She, too, now lives paycheck to paycheck, slowly waiting for the day social security kicks in. Another man related a story of having to be supported by his son because he didn’t save and unexpectedly lost his job in the 2008 crash.
The point was clear: save early and save as much as possible. One woman emailed me saying that she had worked low-wage jobs with two kids in her 30s and still managed to sock away some money in a retirement fund each year. Because she started early and invested wisely, she is now in her 50s and financially stable for the first time in her life. Her point: it’s always possible. You just have to do it.
2. Start Taking Care of Your Health Now, Not Later“Your mind’s acceptance of age is 10 to 15 years behind your body’s aging. Your health will go faster than you think but it will be very hard to notice, not the least because you don’t want it to happen.” (Tom, 55)
We all know to take care of our health. We all know to eat better and sleep better and exercise more and blah, blah, blah. But just as with the retirement savings, the response from the older readers was loud and unanimous: get healthy and stay healthy now.
So many people said it that I’m not even going to bother quoting anybody else. Their points were pretty much all the same: the way you treat your body has a cumulative effect; it’s not that your body suddenly breaks down one year, it’s been breaking down all along without you noticing. This is the decade to slow down that breakage.
And this wasn’t just your typical motherly advice to eat your veggies. These were emails from cancer survivors, heart attack survivors, stroke survivors, people with diabetes and blood pressure problems, joint issues and chronic pain. They all said the same thing: “If I could go back, I would start eating better and exercising and I would not stop. I made excuses then. But I had no idea.”
3. Don’t Spend Time with People Who Don’t Treat You Well“Learn how to say “no” to people, activities and obligations that don’t bring value to your life.” (Hayley, 37)
After calls to take care of your health and your finances, the most common piece of advice from people looking back at their 30-year-old selves was an interesting one: they would go back and enforce stronger boundaries in their lives and dedicate their time to better people. “Setting healthy boundaries is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself or another person.” (Kristen, 43) What does that mean specifically?
“Don’t tolerate people who don’t treat you well. Period. Don’t tolerate them for financial reasons. Don’t tolerate them for emotional reasons. Don’t tolerate them for the children’s sake or for convenience sake.” (Jane, 52)
“Don’t settle for mediocre friends, jobs, love, relationships and life.” (Sean, 43)
“Stay away from miserable people… they will consume you, drain you.” (Gabriella, 43)
“Surround yourself and only date people that make you a better version of yourself, that bring out your best parts, love and accept you.” (Xochie)
People typically struggle with boundaries because they find it difficult to hurt someone else’s feelings, or they get caught up in the desire to change the other person or make them treat them the way they want to be treated. This never works. And in fact, it often makes it worse. As one reader wisely said, “Selfishness and self-interest are two different things. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.”
When we’re in our 20s, the world is so open to opportunity and we’re so short on experience that we cling to the people we meet, even if they’ve done nothing to earn our clingage. But by our 30s we’ve learned that good relationships are hard to come by, that there’s no shortage of people to meet and friends to be made, and that there’s no reason to waste our time with people who don’t help us on our life’s path.
4. Be Good to the People You Care About“Show up with and for your friends. You matter, and your presence matters.” (Jessica, 40)
Conversely, while enforcing stricter boundaries on who we let into our lives, many readers advised to make the time for those friends and family that we do decide to keep close.
“I think sometimes I may have taken some relationships for granted, and when that person is gone, they’re gone. Unfortunately, the older you get, well, things start to happen, and it will affect those closest to you.” (Ed, 45)
“Appreciate those close to you. You can get money back and jobs back, but you can never get time back.” (Anne, 41)
“Tragedy happens in everyone’s life, everyone’s circle of family and friends. Be the person that others can count on when it does. I think that between 30 and 40 is the decade when a lot of shit finally starts to happen that you might have thought never would happen to you or those you love. Parents die, spouses die, babies are still-born, friends get divorced, spouses cheat… the list goes on and on. Helping someone through these times by simply being there, listening and not judging is an honor and will deepen your relationships in ways you probably can’t yet imagine.” (Rebecca, 40)
5. You can’t have everything; Focus On Doing a Few Things Really Well“Everything in life is a trade-off. You give up one thing to get another and you can’t have it all. Accept that.” (Eldri, 60)
In our 20s we have a lot of dreams. We believe that we have all of the time in the world. I myself remember having illusions that my website would be my first career of many. Little did I know that it took the better part of a decade to even get competent at this. And now that I’m competent and have a major advantage and love what I do, why would I ever trade that in for another career?
“In a word: focus. You can simply get more done in life if you focus on one thing and do it really well. Focus more.” (Ericson, 49)
Another reader: “I would tell myself to focus on one or two goals/aspirations/dreams and really work towards them. Don’t get distracted.” And another: “You have to accept that you cannot do everything. It takes a lot of sacrifice to achieve anything special in life.”
A few readers noted that most people arbitrarily choose their careers in their late teens or early 20s, and as with many of our choices at those ages, they are often wrong choices. It takes years to figure out what we’re good at and what we enjoy doing. But it’s better to focus on our primary strengths and maximize them over the course of lifetime than to half-ass something else.
“I’d tell my 30 year old self to set aside what other people think and identify my natural strengths and what I’m passionate about, and then build a life around those.” (Sara, 58)
For some people, this will mean taking big risks, even in their 30s and beyond. It may mean ditching a career they spent a decade building and giving up money they worked hard for and became accustomed to. Which brings us to…
6. Don’t Be Afraid of Taking Risks, You Can Still Change“While by age 30 most feel they should have their career dialed in, it is never too late to reset. The individuals that I have seen with the biggest regrets during this decade are those that stay in something that they know is not right. It is such an easy decade to have the days turn to weeks to years, only to wake up at 40 with a mid-life crisis for not taking action on a problem they were aware of 10 years prior but failed to act.” (Richard, 41)
“Biggest regrets I have are almost exclusively things I did *not* do.” (Sam, 47)
Many readers commented on how society tells us that by 30 we should have things “figured out” — our career situation, our dating/marriage situation, our financial situation and so on. But this isn’t true. And, in fact, dozens and dozens of readers implored to not let these social expectations of “being an adult” deter you from taking some major risks and starting over. As someone on my Facebook page responded: “All adults are winging it.”
“I am about to turn 41 and would tell my 30 year old self that you do not have conform you life to an ideal that you do not believe in. Live your life, don’t let it live you. Don’t be afraid of tearing it all down if you have to, you have the power to build it all back up again.” (Lisa, 41)
Multiple readers related making major career changes in their 30s and being better off for doing so. One left a lucrative job as a military engineer to become a teacher. Twenty years later, he called it one of the best decisions of his life. When I asked my mom this question, her answer was, “I wish I had been willing to think outside the box a bit more. Your dad and I kind of figured we had to do thing A, thing B, thing C, but looking back I realize we didn’t have to at all; we were very narrow in our thinking and our lifestyles and I kind of regret that.”
“Less fear. Less fear. Less fear. I am about to turn 50 next year, and I am just getting that lesson. Fear was such a detrimental driving force in my life at 30. It impacted my marriage, my career, my self-image in a fiercely negative manner. I was guilty of: Assuming conversations that others might be having about me. Thinking that I might fail. Wondering what the outcome might be. If I could do it again, I would have risked more.” (Aida, 49)
7. You Must Continue to Grow and Develop Yourself“You have two assets that you can never get back once you’ve lost them: your body and your mind. Most people stop growing and working on themselves in their 20s. Most people in their 30s are too busy to worry about self-improvement. But if you’re one of the few who continues to educate themselves, evolve their thinking and take care of their mental and physical health, you will be light-years ahead of the pack by 40.” (Stan, 48)
It follows that if one can still change in their 30s — and should continue to change in their 30s — then one must continue to work to improve and grow. Many readers related the choice of going back to school and getting their degrees in their 30s as one of the most useful things they had ever done. Others talked of taking extra seminars and courses to get a leg up. Others started their first businesses or moved to new countries. Others checked themselves into therapy or began a meditation practice.
A friend of mine stated that at 29, he decided that his mind was his most valuable asset, and he decided to invest in it. He spent thousands of his own education, on seminars, on various therapies. And at 54, he insists that it was one of the best decisions he ever made.
“The number one goal should be to try to become a better person, partner, parent, friend, colleague etc. — in other words to grow as an individual.” (Aimilia, 39)
8. Nobody (Still) Knows What They’re Doing, Get Used to It“Unless you are already dead — mentally, emotionally, and socially — you cannot anticipate your life 5 years into the future. It will not develop as you expect. So just stop it. Stop assuming you can plan far ahead, stop obsessing about what is happening right now because it will change anyway, and get over the control issue about your life’s direction. Fortunately, because this is true, you can take even more chances and not lose anything; you cannot lose what you never had. Besides, most feelings of loss are in your mind anyway – few matter in the long term.” (Thomas, 56)
In my article about what I learned in my 20s, one of my lessons was “Nobody Knows What They’re Doing,” and that this was good news. Well, according to the 40+ crowd, this continues to be true in one’s 30s and, well, forever it seems; and it continues to be good news forever as well.
“Most of what you think is important now will seem unimportant in 10 or 20 years and that’s OK. That’s called growth. Just try to remember to not take yourself so seriously all the time and be open to it.” (Simon, 57)
“Despite feeling somewhat invincible for the last decade, you really don’t know what’s going to happen and neither does anyone else, no matter how confidently they talk. While this is disturbing to those who cling to permanence or security, it’s truly liberating once you grasp the truth that things are always changing. To finish, there might be times that are really sad. Don’t dull the pain or avoid it. Sorrow is part of everyone’s lifetime and the consequence of an open and passionate heart. Honor that. Above all, be kind to yourself and others, it’s such a brilliant and beautiful ride and keeps on getting better.” (Prue, 38)
“I’m 44. I would remind my 30 year old self that at 40, my 30s would be equally filled with dumb stuff, different stuff, but still dumb stuff… So, 30 year old self, don’t go getting on your high horse. You STILL don’t know it all. And that’s a good thing.” (Shirley, 44)
9. Invest in Your Family; It’s Worth It“Spend more time with your folks. It’s a different relationship when you’re an adult and it’s up to you how you redefine your interactions. They are always going to see you as their kid until the moment you can make them see you as your own man. Everyone gets old. Everyone dies. Take advantage of the time you have left to set things right and enjoy your family.” (Kash, 41)
I was overwhelmed with amount of responses about family and the power of those responses. Family is the big new relevant topic for this decade for me, because you get it on both ends. Your parents are old and you need to start considering how your relationship with them is going to function as a self-sufficient adult. And then you also need to contemplate creating a family of your own.
Pretty much everybody agreed to get over whatever problems you have with your parents and find a way to make it work with them. One reader wrote, “You’re too old to blame your parents for any of your own short-comings now. At 20 you could get away with it, you’d just left the house. At 30, you’re a grown-up. Seriously. Move on.”
But then there’s the question that plagues every single 30-year-old: to baby or not to baby?
“You don’t have the time. You don’t have the money. You need to perfect your career first. They’ll end your life as you know it. Oh shut up…
Kids are great. They make you better in every way. They push you to your limits. They make you happy. You should not defer having kids. If you are 30, now is the time to get real about this. You will never regret it.” (Kevin, 38)
“It’s never the ‘right time’ for children because you have no idea what you’re getting into until you have one. If you have a good marriage and environment to raise them, err on having them earlier rather than later, you’ll get to enjoy more of them.” (Cindy, 45)
“All my preconceived notions about what a married life is like were wrong. Unless you’ve already been married, everyone’s are. Especially once you have kids. Try to stay open to the experience and fluid as a person; your marriage is worth it, and your happiness seems as much tied to your ability to change and adapt as anything else. I wasn’t planning on having kids. From a purely selfish perspective, this was the dumbest thing of all. Children are the most fulfilling, challenging, and exhausting endeavor anyone can ever undertake. Ever.” (Rich, 44)
The consensus about marriage seemed to be that it was worth it, assuming you had a healthy relationship with the right person. If not, you should run the other way (See #3).
But interestingly, I got a number of emails like the following:
“What I know now vs 10-13 years ago is simply this… bars, woman, beaches, drink after drink, clubs, bottle service, trips to different cities because I had no responsibility other than work, etc… I would trade every memory of that life for a good woman that was actually in love with me… and maybe a family. I would add, don’t forgot to actually grow up and start a family and take on responsibilities other than success at work. I am still having a little bit of fun… but sometimes when I go out, I feel like the guy that kept coming back to high school after he graduated (think Matthew McConaughey’s character in Dazed and Confused). I see people in love and on dates everywhere. “Everyone” my age is in their first or second marriage by now! Being perpetually single sounds amazing to all of my married friends but it is not the way one should choose to live their life.” (Anonymous, 43)
“I would have told myself to stop constantly searching for the next best thing and I would have appreciated the relationships that I had with some of the good, genuine guys that truly cared for me. Now I’m always alone and it feels too late.” (Fara, 38)
On the flip side, there were a small handful of emails that took the other side of the coin:
“Don’t feel pressured to get married or have kids if you don’t want to. What makes one person happy doesn’t make everyone happy. I’ve chosen to stay single and childless and I still live a happy and fulfilled life. Do what feels right for you.” (Anonymous, 40)
Conclusion: It seems that while family is not absolutely necessary to have a happy and fulfilling life, the majority of people have found that family is always worth the investment, assuming the relationships are healthy and not toxic and/or abusive.
10. Be kind to yourself, respect yourself“Be a little selfish and do something for yourself every day, something different once a month and something spectacular every year.” (Nancy, 60)
This one was rarely the central focus of any email, but it was present in some capacity in almost all of them: treat yourself better. Almost everybody said this in one form or another. “There is no one who cares about or thinks about your life a fraction of what you do,” one reader began, and, “life is hard, so learn to love yourself now, it’s harder to learn later,” another reader finished.
Or as Renee, 40, succinctly put it: “Be kind to yourself.”
Many readers included the old cliche: “Don’t sweat the small stuff; and it’s almost all small stuff.” Eldri, 60, wisely said, “When confronted with a perceived problem, ask yourself, ‘Is this going to matter in five years, ten years?’ If not, dwell on it for a few minutes, then let it go.” It seems many readers have focused on the subtle life lesson of simply accepting life as is, warts and all.
Which brings me to the last quote from Martin, age 58:
“When I turned forty my father told me that I’d enjoy my forties because in your twenties you think you know what’s going on, in your thirties you realize you probably don’t, and in your forties you can relax and just accept things. I’m 58 and he was right.”
Thank you to everyone who contributed.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Former USAF general says US govt knows missing Malaysian plane is in Pakistan. McInerney, 77, is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, including 407 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He also had served overseas in NATO, Pacific Air Forces, and as commander of the 11th Air Force in Alaska. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_McInerney
FoxNews: Legendary actor Charlton Heston will be honored with a U.S. postage stamp that goes on sale next month.
The stamp, which features a portrait of the actor created by noted movie artist Drew Struzan, will go on sale after it is formally unveiled April 11 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Heston’s son, Frazier, will speak at the ceremony, The New York Post reports.
Heston, who died in 2008, will appear on the 49 cent “forever” stamp as part of the U.S. Postal Service’s “Legends of Hollywood” series.
Published on Mar 19, 2014A New York City investment banker is dead after allegedly jumping from his apartment building, continuing an alarming streak of suicides that has descended upon the financial world.
The latest death occurred on March 12, when 28-year-old Kenneth Bellando was found on the sidewalk outside his six-story Manhattan apartment building. Before moving into his last position, Bellando worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan Chase.
Rash of finance-pro suicides baffles experts
"Jumping is much less common as a method for suicide in general, so I am struck by the number that have occurred in recent months in this industry," said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Published on Mar 19, 2014The National Security Agency's "Mystic" and "Retro" programs can store 100 percent of a nation's phone conversations for up to a month, according to The Washington Post and documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Although not specifying which nations at the request of US security officials, the Post believes the program has been deployed in at least five countries. These new revelations contradict President Barack Obama's statement that the NSA does not spy on ordinary citizens. RT's Gayane Chichakyan examines this latest breach of privacy by the government.
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1. Did You Know Most of the World's French Fries Come from New Brunswick ?
New Brunswick-based McCain Foods makes one-third of all the frozen French fries produced in the world, and many come from a $65-million state-of-the art potato processing plant that’s in Florenceville-Bristol. The small town in western New Brunswick has taken on the moniker ‘The French Fry Capital of the World.’ Not surprisingly, this is the location of the Potato World museum, and the heart of the mid-July National French Fry Day celebrations.
2. Did You Know Carleton Place Makes the World's Best Baseball Bats?
In 2012, more than 100 Major League Baseball players chose to swing Canadian maple wood bats - better known as the "Sam Bat". Sam Holman, founder of the The Original Maple Bat Corporation, invented the bat by choosing maple wood, a harder wood than the traditionally used ash. So, if you see a professional player with a little logo on their baseball bat, that’s one of the 18,000 sluggers produced each year in Carleton Place , a half-hour from Ottawa ..
3. Did You Know Saskatchewan Makes Most of the World's Lentils?
Mmmm, Lentils! Whether home or travelling abroad, order some lentil soup and odds are you’re getting a little taste of home. Canada is the largest exporter of green lentils in the world - about 1.5 million metric tonnes annually, with 95% of it coming from Saskatchewan ...
4. Did You Know Scarborough Makes Most of the World's Halls?
If you pick up a pack of Halls you’ll be getting another little taste of home since they are made in Scarborough , Ontario .. The plant at Bertrand produced more than 6 billion pieces of “medicine” for the U.S. last year – enough that if you lined them side-by-side they would circle the earth at the equator approximately 3.4 times.
5. Did You Know Winnipeg Mints Coins for Over 60 Countries?
Canada produces currency for more countries than you can imagine! The Royal Winnipeg Mint produces coins for 60 different countries, including Centavos for Cuba , kroner for Norway , and pesos for Colombia .. Currently the mint can produce over 20 million coins a day.
6. Did You Know Hamilton Makes the World's Swedish Fish?
Those chewy Swedish Fish sure weren’t made in Sweden ! More than 5 billion of the colourful little candies are produced in Hamiltion , Ontario every year – that’s all of the Swedish Fish consumed in North America . Every day about 13 million of the little fish are produced at a factory in Hamilton , which also makes all Maynards Candy for Canada , and key brands for the U.S. , including Sour Patch Kids.
7. Did You Know Toronto Makes the World's Best Racing Bikes?
Using the same tools and techniques as Formula One teams, Toronto-based Cervélo builds what have been called the world’s fastest and lightest bikes. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, athletes riding Cervélo bikes won 10 medals, while in 2008 Carl OS Sastre rode a Cervélo bike to win Le Tour de France.
8. Did you Know Winnipeg Makes Most of the World's Scratch Cards?
Walk into almost any corner store in the world for an instant win lottery ticket, and there’s a good chance your scratch card was printed by Winnipeg company Pollard Banknote. Founded in 1907, Pollard now has facilities throughout North America, however a significant amount of its lottery scratch cards are still made in Canada ...
9. Did You Know the World's Best Cymbals come from New Brunswick ?
Where do the cymbals used by Rush, Keith Harris of the Black Eyed Peas, the Philadelphia Orchestra and marching bands around the world come from? The small village of Meductic (population 300), located along the Saint John River in southern New Brunswick .. SABIAN cymbals are sold in 120 countries around the world.
10. Did You Know Trenton Makes Tons of Dinos?
No, they don't make dinosaurs like in Jurassic Park , but close. Research Casting International, the leading company for constructing dinosaur remains (casting, restoring, mounting, repairing), is located in a 45,000 sq.ft. airplane-hanger-sized building in Trenton , Ontario . The company has created more than 750 of the mighty beasts for museums around the world.
11. Did You Know Kelowna Makes Most of the World's Water Slides?
When you slip down one of those clear tube water slides on a Disney Cruise, you’re likely using Canadian design and technology. Canada’s Whitewater West Industries Ltd. is the largest water parks attraction company in the world. Their Kelowna , B.C. facility, FormaShape, makes thousands of water slides each year.
12. Did You Know Peterborough is the Custom Aircraft Capital of Canada ?
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
1934 Christmas Catalog
1934 Christmas Catalog from
(Just 80 years ago) UNBELIEVABLE
Made in America too