I don't generally do these kinds of things, but I'm feeling rather reflective today and I remember reading a "50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind" on my friend Matt's blog recently. So I'll take a crack at it.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
24. Yeah, I'm sticking with that. Don't ask me why; it just feels right.
Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Never trying! Definitely worse. I truly believe people are capable of so much more than they think they are - and if they never try? Wasted potential is a terrible, terrible thing. People let fear of failure imprison them in a box that, albeit comfortable, never even comes close to the realm of possibilities.
If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
This is an easy one for me to answer. Because I've been trying to do the exact opposite recently and it's hard. Even if you're lucky enough to support yourself with a career that you actually love (I'm not... yet), the world will make it difficult for you. People will criticize you because you're not doing what's expected of you. They'll tear you down because they hate to see someone who makes all the "wrong" decisions and ends up happier than they are. And on top of all of that? Remember the fear of failure I just talked about?
When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
Does writing qualify as "saying" or "doing?"
What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
I'd destroy apathy. While more people will probably be doing bad things, I think a heck of a lot more people would do good things.
If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
Reading, throwing parties & cuddling with puppies.
Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
I'm trying for the first one. Really trying. Unfortunately, for my dream, it's not as simple as just doing it.
If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
I wouldn't worry about saving for retirement. Which means I'd probably travel more, take low-paying jobs that I enjoy more than the higher-paying ones.
To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
Oh gosh, I could write a book about this, but I'm going to try to keep it short. In some ways I have, but there are times when I've lost control. And getting laid off three times in two years doesn't help. Control is a fickle mistress.
Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
I don't see any reason why I can't fully worry about both.
You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
This is a tough one and I hope you don't think it's a cop out, but I really do think it matters what they're saying. If it's something factual, provable then I would probably try to correct it. Gently, of course. If it's opinion or subjective, would my defending her really make a difference in their eyes? However, it would definitely make a difference in mine: especially my respect and admiration of them.
If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Figure out what you love most in the world, and center your life around it.
Would you break the law to save a loved one?
From death, injury, dismemberment? Yes, no question, no hesitation.
Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
I don't think so. But I've often seen them in the same place at the same time. They're not mutually exclusive.
What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Relax. If I'm truly stressed out I turn to activities that are logical and return a semblance of order & control to my world. (It's probably related to my OCPD.) For example, I play Sudoku or - in extreme situations - I count and roll coins.
How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
My standing theory? I'm a weirdo. If you don't believe me, see my answer to the above question.
What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
(Traditionally) publish a book - I keep telling myself it's only a matter of time (and a little luck).
Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
I skipped this question at first and came back to it because I couldn't think of anything. And I still can't. I learned pretty early on that survival often means letting go.
If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
New York? Illinois? Colorado? Australia? Arizona? UK? California? I'd pretty much move to any stable place that isn't Nebraska. I like moving.
Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
The floor button? No. The door close button? Yes. I don't know if it makes it faster, but it gives me something to do for a few seconds. :-)
Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
Why are you, you?
Heavy question! I'm going to go with a brief, all-encompassing answer: passion.
Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
Mostly yes, but every now and then no. I think this is true for most people.
Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
Definitely the latter. It's worse because the failed friendship didn't have to happen; it's the result of apathy.
What are you most grateful for?
People with good hearts & good intentions. All of them.
Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
Um. I can't... Crap. I don't even... uh. What?
Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
I think this question is what they call "leading." But no, I don't think it's possible to know the truth without ruling out other possibilities.
Has your greatest fear ever come true?
I honestly don't know what my greatest fear is.
Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
The one time that I remember from 5 years ago? Yes, it definitely still matters.
What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
I actually have a really bad memory for my childhood. I do have this one memory of my grandma taking me to the local library in the closest city so I could check out books once a week when I stayed with her for the summer. She actually had to limit me to six books per week! I remember climbing trees in our backyard in Key West and making "perfume" with my sister using puddle water and weeds. I remember my parents patiently suffering through endless hours of barbie fashion shows and singing performances.
At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
I feel that way mostly when I help people. It can be something as simple as helping my friends have fun by putting together a great dinner party. Or raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that can be used to fund cancer research. Or proofreading a newsletter for a local non-profit. It's actually pretty convenient: if I need to feel alive, I just find some way to help somebody.
If not now, then when?
This isn't really a question so much as a life philosophy.
If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
There's always a chance you'll lose everything. But sometimes, the risk is worth the reward.
Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
I think everybody has. It's called cuddling. ;-)
Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
Oh, my. I could right a bible-length thesis on this. Reader's Digest version: Religions are run by humans. There are humans who will seek power any way they can - and being the spiritual leader of a large group of devotees is one of the best ways to win power. But once you have power, you want more. Well... that's one reason anyway. There are many others.
Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
haha, what job? If I had one, probably.
Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
more work. always more work. If I have empty time, I am compelled to fill it.
Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
When I created Sift.
If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
No. There might be other things you could offer me that would make this decision harder, but not those.
What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
When you're sure it won't destroy anybody's world, including your own.
If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
Because they suck. Nobody wants to be wrong.
What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
I gave up on this about a year ago. Unless we're talking about people who are willing to pay me to do something. Then, I'd wear tshirts and jeans every day.
When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
Yesterday, when I walked up the stairs after walking the dogs. (It was heavy)
What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
This may weird considering everything else I've answered here, but this is a little too private for me to post on a blog.
In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
Definitely yesterday - I went to Star Wars weekend at Disney!
Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
I always make my own decisions, much to my mother's dismay.