50 things I have learned

I started this last month, shortly after my birthday—but then other stuff came up, and it kind of got pushed to the side.

But, now it’s done! So! Here is…

50 things I have learned

  1. Let the dog or cat smell your hand before you try to pet its head.
  2. Even the most open-minded person is not immune to rigidity of thought.
  3. Things are never as bad, nor as good, as we think they are.
  4. Even that song you really, really hate required creativity and effort to produce.
  5. Emotional content almost always trumps technical proficiency.
  6. Sometimes, incomplete knowledge of something can result in unexpected creativity and innovation; other times, it can result in badly translated user manuals…
  7. However ordinary they may have been in the grand scheme of things, the most amazing things I’ve done in my life are those about which I say “I can’t believe I did this, but…”
  8. If you have two places you need to go to on a given day, but aren’t sure which one to go to first, just pick one—either way, you’re probably going to have to go back to whichever place you pick because you couldn’t accomplish your task there the first time. (Similarly, if you have to choose between two entrances/exits, just pick one—because you’re going to end up having to go to both of them anyway.)
  9. Bad news makes the news because it is so unusual. That’s right—as common as these things seem, the average person does not get robbed, raped, killed, arrested, badly injured, chased by police, swindled by scammers, kidnapped, lost in the mountains, trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building, drafted by a major-league sports franchise, financially wiped out by a stock deal gone bad, crushed in an industrial accident, sentenced to prison, elected to political office, and so on, in the course of a typical day.
  10. Actions—or the lack thereof—really do speak louder than words.
  11. I can be—and frequently am—wrong.
  12. Talent often goes unacknowledged.
  13. One close friend is more important than a dozen acquaintances.
  14. There will always be something you never thought you’d do that you’ll end up doing anyway.
  15. Some things are inevitable. Some things don’t have to be.
  16. One day, you will change your mind about something you strongly believe.
  17. Language is not always used to clarify; often, it is used to obscure or distract.
  18. Even your favorite people can make you angry from time to time.
  19. They’re all cute, adorable, and precious until they want to borrow the car.
  20. The rhythm is going to get you.
  21. Intentions are meaningless when they produce the wrong result.
  22. The most mundane activities are often also the most relaxing.
  23. People will pick the most inconvenient times to be themselves.
  24. It’s all hard until it’s done.
  25. You can always find fault if that is what you are looking for.
  26. Silence is almost always misinterpreted as whatever is most convenient for the person taking advantage of it.
  27. Silence has restorative powers.
  28. Isolation has cumulative effects.
  29. People will surprise you. This means that you will sometimes be disappointed.
  30. If the Asahi Shinbun shows a chance of rain of 20% or less for the Tokyo metropolitan area, you will not need a raincoat or umbrella that day. If it shows the chance of rain as 30% or more, you will.
  31. The people who inspire you now will eventually be replaced by others.
  32. There’s always one more thing.
  33. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.
  34. Often, our biggest battles are the ones we fight are the ones in our own heads.
  35. Laughter can overcome a surprising variety of shortcomings.
  36. I don’t know everything I’ve learned.
  37. Being there is not the same thing as being present.
  38. That fad you hate will eventually go away.
  39. That fad you love will eventually go away.
  40. Some people will never believe the truth.
  41. Some people will always believe the lie.
  42. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean that actually doing it is a good idea.
  43. With very few exceptions, no matter how widely despised a public figure was, there will always be plenty of good things said about that person when he or she dies.
  44. Some of the silliest things provoke the most heated arguments.
  45. If you know you’re not going to like the answer, then you probably shouldn’t ask the question.
  46. Everything is funny at 4:30 in the morning.
  47. Sunk costs are irrelevant.
  48. No matter which gym locker you choose, or how empty/crowded the gym is that day, the person using the locker adjacent to yours will return to it at about the same time you return to yours.
  49. No matter how bad you think you have it, someone else has it far worse.
  50. Pretty much every Facebook meme that starts with “Today is the day Marty McFly…” is wrong.

Update (9 February 2014):
I changed #19 after realizing that it and #22 were the same thing, only with slightly different wording.