Thoughts from Gemini author Fernando Pessoa: “The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd – the longing for impossible things; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else.”
Contrary to popular opinion, crime fiction author Arthur Conan Doyle never had his character Sherlock Holmes say, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” For that matter, Humphrey Bogart never said “Play it again, Sam” in the film Casablanca. Star Trek’s Captain Kirk never used the exact phrase “Beam me up, Scotty.”
Someone on Reddit.com asked, “What have you always been curious to try?” Many replied that they wanted to experiment with exotic varieties of sex and drugs they’d never tried. Other favorites: eating chocolate-covered bacon, piloting a plane, shoplifting, doing a stand-up comedy routine, hang-gliding and deep-sea diving, exploring the Darknet and the Deep Web, spontaneously taking a trip to a foreign country, turning away from modern society and joining a Buddhist monastery.
The Appalachian Mountains span 1,500 miles from Newfoundland to Alabama. They are the seventh longest range in the world. And yet they have shrunk over the eons. Their average height is 3,000 feet, but when they were young they were probably twice that high. What happened? There has been constant erosion caused by rivers, glaciers, wind, tree roots, lichens and oxidation.
Here’s your assignment: Get more organized and purposeful about having fun. Think harder about what makes you feel good, and plan more aggressively to bring those feel-good experiences into your life. I’m not advocating irresponsible hedonism. You will become a better servant of those you care about by boosting your commitment to pleasure. You will carry out your duties with more aplomb and effectiveness. Raising your joy quotient is actually a formula for becoming a better human being.
When Evan Lattimer’s 92-year-old father died in 2007, she inherited his large collection of odd relics. It included a cigar smoked by W.C. Fields, Greta Garbo’s driver’s license, Abraham Lincoln’s shaving mirror, a bearskin coat owned by Gen. George Custer, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s penis.
Ancient people knew about Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn because all of those planets are visible to the naked eye. From the second millennium B.C. until the late 20th century, only three additional planets were found: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. (Pluto was later reclassified as a dwarf planet.) Then in 1992, astronomers began to locate planets orbiting other stars. On one spectacular day in February 2014, NASA announced it had identified 715 new planets. I foresee a similar uptick for you in the next seven months. Your rate of discoveries is about to zoom.
“Sex is like pizza,” said comedian Mel Brooks. “Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” That’s a generalization, of course. I’m sure you can think of times in your past when mediocre pizza and mediocre sex were just plain mediocre. But work with me on the overarching principle: Some of the finer things in life just can’t be spoiled. They are always at least moderately pleasurable and interesting and lucky – and usually more than just moderately so. Your immediate future will be filled to the brim with these finer things.
“To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.” Winston Churchill said that, and I’m passing it along to you with one caveat. I don’t expect you to be perfect, and never will. To shoot for perfection is risky. It may set up unrealistic expectations that lead to bad mental hygiene. It tempts you to avoid messy experiences, some of which might be essential to your growth.
Poland’s most renowned ghost hunter is frustrated. Having invested a fortune in spectral detection equipment, Piotr Shalkevitz finds that there are fewer and fewer spooks to investigate as the years go by. I’m not qualified to speak about whether or not the whole world is experiencing a decline in the ghost population.