Now that I’m 29, I’ve been coming back to the old (Hindu?) saying, “You spend your first 30 years making your habits. For the last 30 years, your habits make you.” Unhappily, I find this concept disturbing as I’ve spent the whole of my life embracing habits that were, at best, entirely unproductive and at worst, completely unsavory. If this random quote from the internet is to be believed, that means I have less than a year to come up with a completely new set of habits that will define the rest of my life.
Of course, you could say that what I do in my last 12 months before turning 30 wouldn’t be enough to counteract the other 29 years of less-than-successful living. And to that, I say, bullshit. This is America, not France. We gambled on a dream, stole a whole, very well-appointed continent from its native population and built the best damn country in the world on it. We’re doers. If I say I can turn my shortcomings, bad habits and compulsions around in the space of year, then god help me, I can do it.
Whether they’ll actually hold for my 30s through 60s, well, that’s on the Hindus, right?
And so, I’d like to introduce a list of habits I intend to break down and shape up within the next 9 months. (Obligatory wait-I turn-30-in-9-months f-bomb: FUCK).
Number 1: No more eating like an asshole.
From hereon out, I’ll eat like a gentleman who is well aware that that plate of chilaquiles has enough calories, sodium and saturated fats to last 2 days, so I probably shouldn’t have it for second breakfast.
Number 2: If I start something, I’m going to work on it until it’s done.
A problem many creative lay-abouts such as myself (and probably you) have is not finishing what we start. We have a great idea for a tv show, say, about hipsters who drive around in a food truck and solve mysteries (It’s called “The Big Freeze” and it’s mine. Please don’t steal it). We get halfway done with the treatment for the first episode, and then, we put it off saying, “Oh, it’s pretty much lined up. We’ll work on that later.” And then the idea gets older and older, like a plate of left over chicken wings in the back of the fridge, until eventually, you look and it say, “Oh yeah, this thing. I guess I should just throw it out.”
So, I’ve established the only way for me to do anything, is once it’s begun, to not stop until it’s done. I don’t need anymore half-finished screenplays, stories, blogs or blueprints for a new kind of watch that tells time with 3D bubbles (it would have been great, trust me) weighing me down.
Number 3: Brush my teeth every night
The fact that I even need to put this in here is a sign that I’m just not a serious person (yet). What can I say? I get lazy/drunk.
Number 4: Stretch everyday.
This is another simple habit that, for someone who has thrown out his back and twice dislocated his knee from dancing, should be a no brainer. I spend 8-10 hours a day in a chair, looking at screen. Is it really that much of an imposition to spend 20 minutes a day working on a few core exercises and loosening my legs? I mean, apparently it is, because I haven’t been able to comfortably sit cross-legged on the floor since I was 15.
But no longer. For my years 30-60, I intend to be a slightly more flexible version of the current Hank model.
Number 5: Just know how much money I have.
A good habit I have is I’ve always set monthly budgets. The thing is, once I set said budget, I promptly go about disregarding it, spending money like a teenager with their parents credit card, and find myself over budget by halfway through the month and dipping into my savings to help cover my drinking/eating-at-restaurant/comic-book/sneaker habits. If I could just know I don’t have the money to spend on that $75 sushi dinner, maybe I wouldn’t do it. Maybe.
Number 6: Turn the internet off if I have work to do.
In fact, I should turn off the internet unless I have reason to be on the internet, which I never do.
This one is gonna be tough. Is there rehab for internet addicts, yet? Sign me (and everyone I know) up. Immediately.
Henry Goldman is founder of yr an adult. He knows. He’s working on it.
Photo by flickr user Mao_Lini used under CC license.