Good Morning, P! A catch-all post

Hey P!

It’s five o’clock in the morning here in the beautiful Austin, Texas. I feel honored to be part of the procession of early store workers, still-costumed party-goers, and Austin’s homeless population that are dragging themselves up the drag on this still autumn morning.

Here are a couple of updates about my life:
Last weekend, I went on a mini-roadtrip to the state fair with I and her roommate J. I can’t exaggerate the perfection of this day. We stopped and got kolaches on the way there at a place called the “Little Czech Bakery”, which I urge everyone to czech out (hehe) if they’re ever making the trek from Austin to Dallas.

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On Thursday, A squared, S, C and I signed the lease for an apartment next fall semester. I have never felt so much like an adult in my life. I can’t wait to live with my best friends in an apartment in my favorite city in the world. Basically, all my dreams came true.

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James Altucher started following me on twitter. It’s an auspicious beginning for my baby twitter account. A lots of cool new brain & psychology research has come out this last week: click here to read the similarities in the way the brain processes music and poetry, and here if you have ever doubted the importance of sleep. On my birthday, I ordered Nylon magazine for myself, and I got my first issue last week. You have been getting it for years, so you know this, but I was shocked to learn that it was so inexpensive. We should all take advantage of the magazine industry folding (I am rocking the puns so hard this morning). Besides Nylon, which I like to cut up and put in my art journal:

(Here’s a couple recent pages)

I recommend Wired and Smithsonian. One of my favorite ever TAs, Joe Hanson, now works for Wired. Here‘s his website, where you can links to his PBS show, “It’s Okay to Be Smart”. If you are still wanting for internet fodder, Gala Darling put out her October Carouselthis article is a good summary of everything James Altucher has ever written, and Maria Popova wrote this article in honor of Brain Picking’s 7th anniversary. If you are looking for a good during-school book, read Maximize Your Potential. It’s a series of essays by successful entrepreneurs. It’s easy to read and will keep you inspired.

I hope your tests went well this week. I miss your smiling face so much.

Loads of love,

E

Happy Birthday!

Dear E,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! Can you believe you have lived through two decades of this heartbreakingly beautiful thing called life?

I hope that in your first year of being twenty years old you kiss people you love and make the best of all situations. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you make wonderful new friends and become even closer with old ones. I hope that every day is a sparkling, shimmering wonderful day, and I hope that if it’s not, you know that tomorrow will be better. I hope you read books that make you cry and that you watch tv shows that make you laugh until you can’t breathe. I hope you dance and drink tea and paint and eat as much chocolate as your heart could ever desire. I hope you run as fast as you can and fly as high as you can and achieve all of your wildest dreams. I hope you know I will always be here for you, forever and ever as your best friend, your biggest cheerleader, and your sister soulmate. As Eric Roth says, “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over.”
E, I’m so glad I have a best friend like you. I’m so glad I met such a beautiful, caring,and intelligent soul. You are a love letter to the universe. You are a shooting star in the shape of a girl. I love you more than words can express and skyping with you this morning rocked. Have an awesome rest of the day and enjoy ACL.

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Much Love,

 

20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years

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(E circa 1997)

Dear P,

Good morning, P! Today I am 20! I have entered into a new decade and the future looks very bright. To help myself to embark upon this new adventure of adulthood I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned so far. A lot of these may seem like oft-repeated platitudes, but I don’t care, because:

1. Things are repeated for a reason.

AND *drumroll* the biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far is:

2. All you need is love.

And here are the 19 runner-ups, one for every year I was measured in more than months:

3. Change is hard, but our brains crave it. Also, it’s inevitable, so you might as well embrace it.

4. If you’re in a bad mood, run, eat, sleep, and laugh. Not necessarily in that order.

5. Even though there’s always going to be stuff in your way, like brothers, hunger, and homework, keep creating. It adds up over time.

6. People really just want you to listen to them and reinforce their right to feel and think things. This is the key to most human interaction.

7. Loss aversion messes with your mind in a lot of ways. You started with nothing. You will return to nothing. Try to worry less about losing the stuff you gain in between times.

8. Shame kills the living. Watch this video by Brené Brown to learn more about the harmful effects of shame in our lives. Push through it and be vulnerable, friends.

9. Most people act first and then justify their actions. For example, if you give someone a pencil, you will be likely to think that they’re a cool person, because you gave them a pencil and you’re an excellent judge of character. If you didn’t do your homework, it was stupid and your teacher is ridiculous anyway. Moderate for this tendency in yourself and take advantage of it in others.

10. A lot of things that are supposed to be fun are not actually very fun. Don’t be disappointed. Cherish and recognize things that are fun.

11. Gratitude is the only way to stop from comparing yourself to others and start living a happy life.

12. If you decide to skip piano, soccer, or horseback-riding lessons, your kids will be fine. A parent can definitely mess a kid up, but constant, exhausting over-stimulation is just stressful for the both of you and doesn’t benefit your kid in the end. If your kid doesn’t love something, it’s all right if you don’t continue it. Listen to your kid to see what he or she wants to do. My parents gave me the gift of autonomy from a young age and it’s the reason I’m the person I am today.

13. Humans learn through stories. Your memory is very efficient- it gets rid of boring information. Stories are not boring. Tie everything into a story.

14. Don’t constrain yourself according to limitations that do not yet exist. For example, do not put a damper on your career ambitions because you want to have kids. This hearkens back to number twelve: the imaginary kids are going to be fine.

15. Don’t listen to people who criticize our generation. They would probably be singing a different tune if they were in the thick of it. Today’s twenty-year-olds have skills and mindsets that our parents lacked. We understand social media, and how to portray ourselves through the internet. We understand that we can communicate and sell to people all over the world: we don’t need a middleman organize things for us. We, the generation that evolved the internet, know that we are in charge of our own destinies, and all the responsibility and risk that goes along with that statement. We were seven when Clinton lied about his infidelity, nine during 9/11, fifteen in the ’08 crash, and seventeen when Bernie Madoff was revealed as a fraud. It’s pretty hard to pull one over on us. We’re an interesting mix of the cynical and optimistic, and we’re going to change the world in ways not imaginable now.

16. Rules don’t always exist for a reason. Sometimes it’s just because people are too lazy to change them. Don’t follow stupid rules, stated or implied.

17. People are going to judge you for what you wear no matter what you wear. Therefore, wear what you want.

18. Chocolate is a natural aphrodisiac, pain-killer, and elevates serotonin levels. Eat dark chocolate throughout your day. It helps your brain’s reward system work at it’s maximum potential.

19. Eat breakfast. Also, Benjamin Franklin was right most of the time. His autobiography comes highly recommended.

20. Reading can help you become a better person, but a lot of people are not able to read with their eyes. Listening to books on tape, watching documentaries and listening to lectures are just as valuable. My man Ben Foss invented the intel reader, a device that reads out loud when put over a page. His book also comes highly recommended. Never talk down to someone who listened to a book on tape: just because they learn differently than you doesn’t make them less intelligent.

It was lovely skyping with you this morning. I love you loads and I’m so glad you’re here to weather the next couple of decades with me. I’m going to go watch Wilco and Kings of Leon at ACL now.

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Hugs and kisses,

E

Dear P,

It’s day two of P’s awful exam week. In addition, the U. S. government shut down today. Here‘s an excellent video about this issue. Thankfully, this has little influence over our everyday life. Besides embarrassment, the only thing we have to feel about the shut-down is grief about the Smithsonian Zoo’s “panda cam” being shut down. It was especially insensitive of Congress because you have so many exams this week, P. Since you can’t look at the panda cam any more, here’s some pictures to get you through.

Happy studying!

E