“Write a 15 bullet point list entitled ‘How to be _______’.”
How to be a Better Person
- Read – Not just stuff you know you like…more of everything.
- But, you know, if you want to read The Kingkiller Chronicles and endlessly theorize about it with me, I’ll think you’re a good person, probably even if you suck.
- Go outside – We preserve what we love and I need you to love the planet right now.
- Also, spending time outdoors has been scientifically proven to make you happier and healthier; and we all want that, don’t we?
- Listen to music – Not just the shit that was popular when you were in high school or college either. You can listen to that, no one’s stopping you, but listen to old music like Bach and brand new music like The Arctic Monkeys or freaking Taylor Swift.
- I don’t care; just listen to things you don’t usually listen to. If you’re looking for suggestions I’m currently obsessed with 21 Pilots and Fidlar
- Watch some independent film.
- Bonus points if it has Jason Segal or Ryan Reynolds in it.
- Talk to new people – This one is hard for me, and I’m telling you to do it even if it’s hard for you.
- Stagnation=Bad. If it’s bad for water, it can’t be good for you. You’re mostly water, you know.
- Make some art – paint, draw, sing, take up an instrument, write a novel or a poem, write pithy little haikus on sticky notes and leave them in random places for some stranger to find.
- Expressing what’s inside of you, even if when you begin you do so with faltering steps, unlocks something that can’t be explained, but will definitely make you better.
- Make friends that don’t live in the same area, have the same religious (or in my case lack of) or political views, or even the same interests – You’ll be better for it.
- And hey, you might change someone’s mind, or have yours changed.
- Go to the Farmer’s Market – You’ll probably make some friends, you’ll definitely have fun, and fresh delicious food and meeting the people who grew it is a net good for body and soul.
- Also, in case you didn’t know, there’s always tons of free samples. Of everything. You wouldn’t believe how buzzed you can get for free if your local market has wine and beer people at it.
- Cook – From scratch. Preferably with your partner, if you’re one of us lucky people who have one. If you don’t and you want one, take a cooking class.
- You’d be amazed the kind of intimacy that can be developed over a cutting board or a hot stove. Communication, cooperation, sharing the rewards – cooking is everything a good relationship should be. I recommend a bottle of wine and feeding each other bites along the way. But don’t get distracted. Something will catch fire.
- Play – Soccer, videogames, checkers, cards. For fun. No unhealthy competitive crap. Competition can be good, but fun is important. The older you get, the more often you should have it.
- Do you want to be that dried up old guy in the retirement home yelling at CNN or do you want to be like the granny who’s outside in the sunshine rollerblading with her earbuds in, broken hips be damned?
- Laugh – Whatever it is that cracks you up, do that.
- I, personally, can be cracked up by damn near anything. It’s a funny old world when you think about it.
- Move – Whatever way you like to; just get your body in motion.
- It makes you happier and healthier. I like doing Tai Chi. It makes me feel like a supreme ancient warrior badass and the video I have cracks me up because of how the instructor tells you to “Sink the Chi”. He’s just so earnest about it.
- Travel – You don’t have to have a big pile of money and go on a grand tour of Europe (although that would be freaking awesome). Going to new places and meeting new people, trying local food, getting out of your neighborhood will change your perspective.
- Just get in the car and go. Drive to a town you’ve never visited, hit up your state’s historical sites. If you’re broke, go for a hike and take a picnic. But if you can still see your house, you’re doing it wrong.
- Get excited – Jump up and down, have enthusiasms! Get into a fandom. Start a collection! Go adopt a pet! Do something that you can be psyched about.
- Fair warning, if you go the fandom route, beware of tumbler. The internet is basically one big sexy briar patch and you might not be ready.
- Stretch yourself everyday – Literally and figuratively.
- It’s good to be able to touch your toes; it’s even better to be able to hold a new thought in your head.
I’m not making this list because I think I’m a better person than you. I’m making it as a reference for how I want to get better. But I really think it will work, so if you want to join me, I think the world will get a little better, too. I really do.
Categories: Writing Challenges