I stole these questions from this site: http://www.marcandangel.com/2009/07/13/50-questions-that-will-free-your-mind/ which I found via Google search. The site claims that there are no right or wrong answers. For a few of these, I disagree. Still, I would encourage those of you who need to do a little self-searching, try these questions out. They’re better than the usual lists of questions like “Coffee or tea?” “Do you like sad movies?” and so on.
1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
-Forty? I feel forty. I think I feel forty. Except sometimes I feel thirty.
2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
-Never trying. Unless it’s something like Russian Roulette. Then never trying is better than failing.
3. 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?
-Because part of experiencing life is experiencing it with others, and we have social obligations to fulfill. If I only did things that I liked, I would be of virtually no use to others.
4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
-Yes. Because I have more ideas and words than I have time to execute these ideas in.
5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
-I’d want more people to be open to logic and reason.
6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
-Writing, and/or performing.
7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
-Settling. I think most people are. Even those who set out to do what they believe in discover pretty quickly that they have to settle for less than they had imagined.
8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
-Well, since I’m 35, I’d write more, eat more bad-for-me foods, and tell people some secrets that I’ve kept quiet.
9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
-As much as anyone else has: less than I hoped but more than I think.
10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
-It’s about equal for me, I think.
11. 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?
-I speak up. I have done this, and I will do this again, I’m sure. And on occasion… I have been one of the criticizers, and I have been glad that another person spoke up.
12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
-Be who you are.
13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
-Which law, and how would it save them? Save their life? Probably. Save their reputation? Probably not.
14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
-I’m not sure I’ve ever really separated the two. 🙂
15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
-I like to leave my spoon in my coffee. It reminds me of my dad.
16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
-Because then what would I have left to learn from anyone else?
17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
-Quit my job. And what’s holding me back is money. In other words, I’m like at least 80% of employed Americans.
18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
-Definitely. Sorry, that’s going to be one of the more cryptic answers.
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
-I’d move to Portland. I have a lot of friends there, I enjoy the culture, the food is fantastic, and it’s full of experiences and ideas I haven’t met yet.
20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
-The only button I push more than once is the “Close Door” button. I don’t believe it does anything faster, but it gives me hope that I won’t have to share it. Usually, though, I take the stairs.
21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
-I have been asking myself that question for well over twenty years now.
22. Why are you, you?
-I think that would be the reflexive property.
23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
-Yes and no. I’m fine with the fact that I don’t communicate much or often, but I’d sure like to be the kind of friend who buys his friends more beers.
24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
-Moving away. It’s harder to get re-connected.
25. What are you most grateful for?
-My wife and daughter.
26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
-Losing my memories is probably the thing I’m scared of the most… and I’ve never been particularly good at hanging on to a lot of memories. I have bizarre gaps in my memory at times. (No, not due to drinking.) But not making new ones? If I were really faced with that choice, I don’t know that I’d be able to make it. I can’t imagine losing the memories of my wedding or the birth of my daughter… but I can’t imagine being unable to remember all the future moments we’ll have either.
27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
-Possible? Yes, I believe so. But I believe it happens very seldom.
28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
-Not yet. See #26.
29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
-A little bit. But we did eventually have a baby, so I guess it worked out.
30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
-Wow. I’ve been sitting here for several minutes working on this, and I’m a bit bothered that I can think of times when I was happy… but none that strike me as the sort of memory that would be “happiest.”
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
-On Christmas day, when I first got to hold my baby girl.
32. If not now, then when?
-Later, or never.
33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
-About twenty-five pounds.
34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
-I feel that way sometimes with Ann.
35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
-Because humans are very stupid in large groups.
36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
-Only for “big picture” things. The little stuff, though — no.
37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
-It wouldn’t take a million.
38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
-More work I actually enjoy doing!
39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
-Okay, are these questions trying to make me resent a job I already dislike?
40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
-Probably my last NaNoWriMo project. I didn’t know where it was going when I started it.
41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
-This is a horrible, horrible question, because it’s asking you to pick and choose either who you miss the most or who you love the most, and meanwhile to think about them DYING. How about this? If I knew that everyone I knew was going to win a million dollars tomorrow, I would go out and meet as many new people as I possibly could so that they could share in the wealth, AND I would still buy beers for folks who were going to be able to buy their own breweries tomorrow.
42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
-I did that, and look where it got me.
43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
-To me, truly living just means that you’re more aware that you’re alive. Being conscious of it leads to different choices.
44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
-When you can’t escape the pull.
45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
-I know, right?
46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
-Dance. Sing. Be more honest about myself.
47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
-Oh, geez. Right now. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
–What do I love? Spending time with friends and family. Laughter. Exchanges of ideas. Entertainment. Some of my recent actions expressed this; not enough of them.
49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
-With my memory? Who knows?
50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
-Okay, a lot of this has sounded like a self-help guru sort of thing. They’re good questions, but almost a bit repetitive, as if by the end you should be saying, “Of COURSE I’m going to walk away from my boring, drudgery-filled job as a corporate attorney making six figures with stock options and a penthouse apartment, because so help me I’ve always wanted to donate all of my belongings to a homeless shelter and spend my days painting butterflies on rocks!” You know, carpe diem (for those of you who don’t know that phrase, it’s like YOLO but with more respect and class), control your destiny, all that stuff. And that’s great — I think there are lots of areas that we can take more control and make things happen that are more to our liking, but we can’t ever assume that good intentions lead to great results. For every successful performer, there are at least a hundred more who can’t catch a break, who gave up everything to pursue their passion, and who will end up back in their hometown temping or something. The key, I think, is to combine waiting for the right opportunity and making that opportunity come to you, and then jumping on it like a hawk on a ketchup-covered chipmunk. So decisions are being made, some of them probably “for” me, and that’s not under my control. My responses, though, are. So make a decision for me. I can counter-move. Bring it on.