There are those of us, myself included, who wish to get a little more out of life. Sometimes, perhaps, we feel that there is more to be had. That somewhere, there is a really cool party going on and for some reason we never got the Facebook invite. Consequently, we feel that we are doomed to sit at our desks and regret what we had for lunch all day or worry about financial dept or serial killers. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to get more out of life. I’ve come up with nine, but there probably at least a few others that you can help me with.
1. Pay attention to little things
Little things are precious, while big things are grand. It’s easy to ignore little things. Search your pockets for the little things that may collect there. You will find treasures! (I’m going to do that right now).
In my pocket, I have a bit of paper which turns out to be a receipt for the gasoline I bought earlier today. I can now think of the friendly man who pumped gas for me. He was quick about his job, and had a few pumps going at the same time. I did my best to seem pleasant and appreciative while I stood next to my truck. I watched the 5-O’clock traffic move impatiently through a light drizzle of rain. What little things can you find pleasure in?
2. Try not to get upset about things that are beyond your control
Say you’re driving to your best friend’s wedding. You’ve done a very good job at dressing appropriately and picking out the perfect gift. It’s a beautifully sunny day. All four wheels of your car fall off–Just like that. Fortunately, you survive the wreck, unscathed. Aren’t you lucky? Some would think that it was a very unfortunate thing to loose all four wheels on such an important occasion. But in fact, you are lucky to be alive.
3. Believe in yourself
You may, at moments, find yourself in the middle of some tedious or routine task, when a thought strikes you: “My life is an illusion. I don’t even exist.” It might seem that you’re nothing but a fabrication of your own ego, or a dream dreamt by some celestial drunken ogre. But, this is hardly productive thinking. Whether it is true or not, it will serve you much better to believe in yourself. How else would you go about trusting your hands to hold things or your tongue to taste delicious food?
With all the strange and unfortunate things that happen to people, it’s easy to believe that it’s all a sham–that nothing exists but an emptiness that feeds on itself–that humankind is just a hiccup of light in an everlasting darkness. Regardless, you do exist (for the time being) and it would be ridiculous not to believe in yourself.
4. Observe other people
People are wondrous and selfish creatures. If you were murdered with a tire iron (perhaps while replacing the wheels you lost on the way to your best friends wedding) most people in the world would be somewhat indifferent. They would go on thinking about how they didn’t eat the right thing at lunch or about how their wife was sleeping with their best friend, or how atoms can collide in a certain way and cause whole cities to explode.
It’s impossible to know what’s going on in the brains of people as they walk, bicycle or drive about. But it’s infinitely fun to imagine.We all have the opportunity to observe, ponder, and guess at the inner lives of strangers. It’s one of the best sports I know.
5.Take psychedelic drugs
Psychedelic drugs are an excellent way to experience the world in a new way. While hallucinogenic drugs can cause paranoia or fear, they also can provide new perspectives on everything from mortality to pink bedroom slippers. I recommend that you do psychedelic drugs with friends and in a safe environment. Drink plenty of water and keep some downers or anti-anxiety medication on hand–in case you have a panic attack.
During your psychedelic journey, should you witness the very fabric of life congeal into angelic strains of sparkling translucent DNA, and you just happen to have locked yourself in the bathroom of a Reno hotel room, do your best to ignore the pleas of your brother, who has to take a piss, and spend just a few more moments trying to figure it all out.
6. Have sexual intercourse
Sex is one of the best ways to get to know someone new. It really reveals all sorts of things (visual, olfactory, emotional, etc.) that you would never have known about someone otherwise. What a strange and delightful thing to think that some woman or man is willing to do animal things with you! Pay attention when you have sex. You may well think to yourself “I’ve never felt such a hand, shoulder or bottom, I didn’t know people were made like this!” Sex is an excellent way to learn about oneself and others.
7. Exercise your body
When I was a boy, a friend revealed to me that she had secured a spinach candy which could imbue one with the strength to uproot trees with one’s bare hands. She then ate the candy, wrapper and all, and refused to share. She also neglected to demonstrate any tree-uprooting abilities. Needless to say, I was crushed.
I tried to make my own strength potion by shinning sunlight through crystals into a glass which contained water, a 9 volt battery, and a portion of canned spinach. Predictably, the battery-acid tainted spinach-water did not make me stronger. In fact, it made me ill.
Instead of magic potions, I recommend good food and exercise to improve your strength and happiness.
8. Have one or two children
I hesitate to recommend this one, because I do not have any children of my own and the planet is grossly overpopulated. Of course, if you only have one or two children, you will not be increasing the population. If I am to believe what my friends and family say, having children is enjoyable. Taking care of children is less so, but owning children and loving them appears to be quite enjoyable. If you are going to have children, I would recommend employing a nanny (if you have the means to). This way you can enjoy your children but also continue to pursue the other things you love in life. That’s all I’ve got, on having children.
9. Go on adventures
Having good adventures is always exciting and it can bring a depth and complexity to life that always keeps us going. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to Africa to have an adventure. You don’t need money or a bull-whip or anything either. You can set out to have an adventure anytime you like.
One beautiful summer evening in Portland, I had just gotten off work from the bookstore I worked at, and I decided to walk home very slowly and observe everything around me. I think some people though it was weird to see a man walking so slowly down the street. But it was really fun, and took some bravery, and I saw so many things that I never would have sen if I had walked quickly. Why not go have an adventure?
Do you have any other suggestions for leading a better life? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.