Thirty Nine


As in the previous two years, I’ve compiled a list of things that I’ve learned this year, my 39th. Some are things I've just realized about myself, others are things I aspire to be.

  1. For the most part, adding cream and sugar is only necessary with mediocre or bad coffee.

  2. I am an absolute creature of habit. Food, clothes, curmudgeonly stubborn habits.

  3. When you stop riding your bike to work everyday, it’s a lot harder to not gain weight.

  4. I used to only be a social runner, but that somehow changed. Now there is something centering about getting out there at 6:30 am a couple times a week.

  5. Photography is about light. The difference between an interesting photo and a throwaway is almost always about the light.

  6. It is harder to pick one of each thing to own than you would think. Multiples are sort of built into our western world.

  7. I almost never use things I keep as a backup.

  8. Batteries. Those are an exception. Stock up.

  9. I’ve had an iPad for almost 4 years, but this year it just felt like a thing so I got rid of it.

  10. A scarf is really useful and often negates the need for a coat. I never owned one before and then when it snowed this year I found one at a 2nd hand shop on my way back from lunch. Blue, Merino wool, fantastic.

  11. I have a lot of books that are about 3/4 finished on Amazon’s servers. I forget about them.

  12. I don’t mow my lawn anymore. I was always late getting to it and my wife found some great guys that knock it out in 10 minutes consistently instead of my 45 sporadically.

  13. I always bring too much stuff.

  14. Eating a good breakfast always makes my day better.

  15. This year, saving money felt rewarding for the first time. Sad that it took this long.

  16. I have no use for Radio.

  17. Watching the way my kids view and respond to commercials is disturbing.

  18. I used to think I had the Predestination/Freewill thing figured out. Now I’m not so sure.

  19. Marketing becomes more obvious and annoying to me the older I get.

  20. My 30+ year old Film camera will still work as well 30 years from now, but my newest digital camera probably won’t even power on 15 years from now. Think about that.

  21. Things that use software have a shorter life span.

  22. It’s easy to see selfishness in others, but hard to see it in myself.

  23. Lens caps are pretty useless except for storage and shipping. They make me miss shots and always get lost. Put a high quality glass filter on the front of your lens and call it good.

  24. Lens Hoods keep rain, waterfall spray and perhaps most important, fingers off the glass on the front of your lens.

  25. I don’t like the business model of streaming music services. I’d rather pay a few musicians I really like to own a copy of their art.

  26. I’m happy that computers are less about CPU speed and cameras are less about megapixels. Those wars were stupid.

  27. Though it sounds snooty, I won’t buy another computing device without a retina class display.

  28. I prefer a wool sweater over synthetic fleece. Breathability is priceless.

  29. Though it has been many years since I met my wife, her smile hasn’t changed and still says “home” more than anything else to me.

  30. Always dark chocolate.

  31. Many of my traits are amplified in my children.

  32. Life is too short to put up with horror movies or artsy films.

  33. I’ve always understood endurance intellectually, but the more of life that I experience, the more I feel it in my heart.

  34. Politics seem more and more pointless over time.

  35. There is an alive-ness that I feel when I’m creating something.

  36. In terms of weather, I’m happiest at the juxtaposition of cold air and bright sun.

  37. Few people are willing to endure early, cold and awkward to get a photo. I’m one of them.

  38. I hope that with age, my words will come more carefully and thoughtfully.

  39. Most wisdom comes from personal struggle and mistakes. I’m trying to pick some of it up by watching and listening to the stories of others too.