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robertogreco : regret   12

How do you start to live your life at (nearly) 40? — Medium
"It was the accretion of a thousand small choices made out of fear that led me here, not some cataclysmic mistake. That’s the thing about avoiding life: each tiny evasion builds upon the last, gradually calcifying into a kind of defensive crust so that, from the outside, you appear to have the same patina of wear and tear as everyone else, but underneath, you are hollow, brittle, incomplete. What I am primarily left with now is regret, which comes in waves of self-reproach, each missed opportunity or refusal playing out in my memory in excruciating detail.

Still, I haven’t yet abandoned hope. Undoing a lifetime of evasion will be no easy task, but I’m not resigning myself to this misery and nothing more. (Therapy is helping.) It is a strange thing, though, to start thinking about what you actually want from life at an age when, inevitably, it dawns on you it has an end, too. Though I lived for far too long in an extended adolescence, with it came the persistently hopeful idea that it wasn’t too late to change. Now, the time I have left to become the kind of person I want to be is, in a way that feels strangely sudden, running out."

*

My dissertation was on something I called The Holographic Self. In it, the eponymous hologram is an expression of a desire to exceed the limitations of subject position, and I located that yearning in the logics of digitality. As a piece of writing, it is plodding and too earnest by half, but as is the case with much academic work, it is also surreptitiously autobiographical. There I was, spending years in front of a laptop, letting my life slip by, while writing about how we project the desire for our idealized selves into the digital.

So in this particular, rather long-winded narrative, this is where I think I’m supposed to tell you that I’ve made peace with my wasted life, and I’m ready to become that new person — to actualize my holographic longing. But I can’t. There is, unfortunately, always a naively optimistic dimension to writing about How One Is Going To Make One’s Life Better™. It often ends up being a performance of the way you want things to go, and in reality, they never quite work out in so neat a manner. (I still haven’t had that coffee.) [https://medium.com/hack-grow-love/the-trouble-with-pleasure-867f729a9d29#.gm7ekw2kh ]

One thing I am clear on, though? I don’t regret finishing that godforsaken PhD. I still don’t know about starting it, mind you; you’ll have to check with me on my deathbed. But I stuck to it, and at the end I had a glass of something sparkling and I felt like I deserved it. I felt great, in fact. I think that’s an equation I’m actually pretty happy about: write 400 pages over five years and at the end, you get a single flute of Crémant d’Alsace, and for once, a feeling like you actually fucking did something.

I don’t quite know how to start living at 40. I mean, obviously I have some rough ideas, and not all of them succumb to the aggressively “normal” version of life I’ve laid out thus far; I don’t really care that much about brunch. I do know, however, that the next step is not as simple as merely accepting that I have lived the life I have lived. That isn’t enough. My regrets are still too large, yet too numerous for me to simply lay them to rest.

But when you’ve spent a lifetime hiding from everything, beginning and then finishing something hard — and then enjoying the rewards — is at the very least, a step in the right direction. And the PhD took the form of one of the few things that gives me comfort and (fine, I’ll say it) that I’m good at: taking ideas, and shaping them into sentences and paragraphs that, sometimes, other people find interesting to read.

At the very least, one can take that life, those aimless, spent years, and put an aesthetic frame around both them and the ideas and perspective they have produced — and hopefully, occasionally say something pretty or profound. It’s not much. And in truth, it may not be enough. I guess I just like the self-reflexivity of it all: write out how you’re trying to make things better, and you end up making things better by writing it out. So, with few other options, I will put one word in front of the other, and see what happens.
And here at the end, after choosing for so long to barely live at all, isn’t that, if nothing else, a start?"
navneetalang  2016  writing  regret  life  living  accretion  hope  avoidance  evasion 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Grammar, Identity, and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive: Phuc Tran at TEDxDirigo - YouTube
"Phuc Tran is in his second decade as a Classicist and Tattooer. He has taught Latin, Greek, German, and Sanskrit at independent schools in New York and Maine and was an instructor at Brooklyn College's Summer Latin Institute. In 2010, he served on a committee to revise the National Latin Praxis exam for ETS. Phuc currently teaches at Waynflete School in Portland."
phuctran  language  english  subjunctive  refugees  2012  identity  indicative  reality  presence  future  imperative  perspective  immigration  immigrantexperience  grammar  depression  regret  creativity  imagination  experience  optimism  philosophy  via:juliarubin  french  vietnamese  france 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Defies Measurement on Vimeo
"DEFIES MEASUREMENT strengthens the discussion about public education by exploring why it is so important to address the social and emotional needs of every student, and what happens when the wrong people make decisions for schools.

For information on how to screen this film for others and for resources to learn more and take action, visit defiesmeasurement.com

By downloading this film, you are agreeing to the 3 terms listed below:

1) I will only use portions of Defies Measurement or the whole film for educational purposes and I will NOT edit or change the film in any way. (Educational purposes = viewing a portion or complete version of the film for an individual, private or public event, free of charge or as a fundraiser)

2) I will post a photo or comment about the film and/or screening on the Defies Measurement Facebook page

3) I will spread the word about the film to others via social media and word of mouth. Follow us @defymeasurement #defiesmeasurement"

[See also:
https://www.shineonpro.com/
https://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/115791029088/defies-measurement-via-will-richardsondefies ]
testing  standardizedtesting  nclb  rttt  schools  education  middleschool  chipmanmiddleschool  lindadarling-hammond  alfiekohn  martinmalström  socialemotionallearning  poverty  iq  assessment  policy  howweteach  howelearn  learning  competition  politics  arneduncan  jebbush  measurement  quantification  inequality  finland  us  edreform  tcsnmy  community  experientiallearning  communitycircles  morningmeetings  documentary  film  terrielkin  engagement  meaningmaking  howwelearn  teaching  sylviakahn  regret  sellingout  georgewbush  susankovalik  lauriemclachlan-fry  joanduvall-flynn  government  howardgardner  economics  anthonycody  privatization  lobbying  gatesfoundation  marknaison  billgates  davidkirp  broadfoundation  charitableindustrialcomplex  commoncore  waltonfamily  teachforamerica  tfa  mercedesschneider  dianeravitch  davidberliner  publischools  anationatrisk  joelklein  condoleezzarice  tonywagner  business  markets  freemarket  neworleans  jasonfrance  naomiklein  shockdoctrine  karranharper-royal  julianvasquezheilig  sarahstickle  ronjohnson  alanskoskopf  soci 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Great Escape: How to tunnel your way out of HS and into college | : the readiness is all
"High school can be a prison-of-war like experience for many.You’re stuck in it for a specific time, you don’t get to choose your prison camp leaders (teachers), you don’t get to choose your fellow prison campers etc…

but what can make high school the most prison-like, is this constant push for college readiness. When you make school about what you need to get ready for you do the following:

• You make kids feel that nothing special or important happens until AFTER they graduate.
• You make teachers feel that the purpose of their classroom is to get students ready for something special that happens later.
• You show kids that the end is more important than the means- Immanuel Kant and others are disappointed in this idea."



"How about making school less like practice for something amazing coming up later and more like a performance, a production, or a game? Kids would go crazy if they practiced for four years on the football field in the hopes of making a college team without ever getting to play in a game. Let’s make school fun and meaningful NOW rather than just an endless series of preparation: preparing for tests, college and careers."



"Every year I spend time at back-to-school and in class talking to parents and students about how to make the most of their high school experience in preparation for what comes next. I’m writing this blog post as a permanent resource for both parents and students to make sure they won’t miss a thing. I will update this blog post as needed to include the information that you need to maximize the pursuit of your goal.

IMPORTANT FACT: “Approximately 58 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2004 completed a bachelor’s degree at that institution within 6 years.” (From The National Center for Educational Statistics)

Some universities have even LOWER graduation rates and obviously some school have higher graduation rates. The trick isn’t to get INTO a college, it’s to ultimately graduate from a college. People drop out of college for many reasons

• Money
• A lack of academic endurance (either on specific tasks, or just getting through four+ years of a task without their parents bugging them every night… PS dear helicopter parents you aren’t teaching your son/daughter this crucial skill by hand-holding your child through high school- I too struggle with letting my son fail and succeed on his own- let’s all work on that together.)
• Picking the wrong college"

PICKING THE RIGHT COLLEGE:

First of all know this- whichever college you choose, even if it’s not your first or second choice will end up making you happy. Don’t believe me? Just watch this TED talk on the surprising happiness of not getting your number one choice fulfilled."

[Dan Gilbert: “The Surprising Science of Happiness”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q1dgn_C0AU ]



"I think many parents pick colleges based on either what schools they went to, what schools they are familiar with, or what schools they hear about. Kids pick their colleges for many reasons, but the number one reason is this: they want a school that is good enough that their parents will let them leave home. Very few of my students want to go to local college and live at home unless money is a MAJOR issue."



"JUNIOR OR TWO YEAR COLLEGE ADVICE:

There is nothing wrong with going to a Junior College before transferring to a four-year school. I did it and it saved me a ton of money and gave me the time and flexibility to find my passion. There are some pros and cons to the experience- I’ll start with the negative first.

CONS:

• If you pick a JC near your home and show up on the first day surrounded by your former HS classmates you will feel like you never left HS. Depending on who you are this can be disappointed at the least.
• JCs do not have the resources that a four-year university has. They don’t have the same libraries, facilities, access to internships, notable researchers etc…
• When you do go to transfer it will take you at least a quarter to get used to your new school. Everyone else in your upper-division classes will know the ins and outs of the school.
• You won’t have as many friends and won’t have the same connection with your classmates who have been there all four years.
• About four weeks into class half of the students will have dropped the class. Student motivation can be low at a JC and that low motivation can be contagious, trust me I know.

PROS:

• Professors who like to TEACH often find a home at a JC- there is no pressure to do research or constantly publish so they can just teach. That is not to say that there are not published teachers at a JC. My photo teacher Professor John Upton at OCC wrote the photography book that every university used in Photo 101 and Professor Dennis Kelley is pretty famous in his own right, heck I took two classes with the amazing Arthur Taussig and spend a summer with him in the photo developing lab hallways watching Akira Kurosawa films on a TV and VCR that he would wheel in on a cart- that was an awesome summer.
• It’s cheaper so there is less pressure when you make a mistake and need to drop a class or change a major.
• You won’t get stuck with a TA/Grad student teaching your class or running the discussion.
• Most JCs have a community college honors program. With just a 3.1 (your mileage may vary depending on the college) High School GPA and a letter of recommendation you can join their honors program. Many honors programs have a pathway to get you right into a competitive four-year university. Take advantage of this.
• How about getting the experience of living away from home WITHOUT the cost of a four-year. I’ve had friends, family, and students move away from home and attend a JC in the city of their future four-year university. What a great experience without the burden of a $10,000+ tuition charge."
2013  davidtheriault  colleges  universities  admissions  highschool  juniorcolleges  communitycolleges  choice  fulfillment  regret  dangilbert  happiness  education  highered  highereducation 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Agony of Perfectionism - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
"The fortress of classic economics was built on the slushy marsh of rational consumer theory. The once-popular belief that we all possess every relevant piece of information to make choices about buying fridges, TVs, or whatever, has since given way to a less commendable, but more accurate, description of buyers, which is that we basically have no freaking clue what we're doing most of the time. Prices, marketing, discounts, even the layout of store and shelves: They're all hazards strewn about the obstacle course of decision-making, tripping us up, blocking our path, and nudging us toward choices that are anything but rational.

Today, rather than consider consumers to be a monolith of reason, some economists and psychologists prefer to think of us as falling into two mood groups: maximizers and satisficers. Maximizers are perfectionists. They want the best of everything, and they want to know they have the best of everything. Satisficers are realists. They want what's good enough, and they're happy to have it.

The trouble with perfectionists is that, by wanting the best, they aspire to be perfectly rational consumers in a world where we all agree that's impossible. It's a recipe for dissatisfaction, way too much work, and even depression.

In "Maximizing Versus Satisficing: Happiness Is a Matter of Choice," published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that maximizers are more likely to be have regret and depression and less likely to report being happy, optimistic, or have high self-esteem.

To be a maximizer requires an "impossible" and "exhaustive search of the possibilities," that invariably ends with regret when the person realizes, after the purchase, that there might have been a better choice. This regret actually "[reduces] the satisfaction derived from one’s choice." The paradox of caring too much about having the perfect version of everything is that you wind up feel dissatisfied with all of it.

A new paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research further illuminates the onerous woe of perfectionism. Maximizers apply for more jobs, attend more job interviews, spend more time worrying about their social status, and wind up less happy, less optimistic, "and more depressed and regretful" than everybody else.

In a battery of tests designed to prime subjects to act like maximizers and satisficers, the researchers validated just about every stereotype about perfectionists: They work harder, search more deeply, and perform better in their jobs, but the emotional byproducts of their accomplishments are regret and dissatisfaction. (You might say that hard-earned success in life is wasted on the people least likely to appreciate it.)

Both papers concluded that the Internet is a briar patch of misery for maximizers. Not only does it allow them to more easily compare their lot to the sepia-toned success stories of their peers on Facebook and Instagram, but also it makes comparison shopping hell. From the first paper's discussion section:
The proliferation of options [online] raises people’s standards for determining what counts as a success, [from] breakfast cereals to automobiles to colleges to careers. Second, failure to meet those standards in a domain containing multiple options encourages one to treat failures as the result of personal shortcomings rather than situational limitations, thus encouraging a causal attribution for failure that we might call “depressogenic.” [ed: had to look that one up.]

In short: The Internet doesn't have to make you miserable. But if you insist on comparing your choices and your life to every available alternative accessible through a Google search, it will.

For consumers, this means embracing the limitations of classical economics. We don't know everything. We don't have everything. And that's okay. Pretending otherwise is, in fact, anything but rational."

[See also: http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bschwar1/maximizing.pdf ]
choice  choices  paradoxofchoice  perfectionists  satisficers  economics  rationality  reason  2014  unhappiness  happiness  depression  jobhunting  perfectionism  optimism  regret  worry  anxiety  possibilities  satisfaction  caring  self-esteem  realism  derekthompson  advertising  internet  infooverload  information  comparison 
march 2014 by robertogreco
From the Abundance of the Heart… — This Happened to Me — Medium
"And yet many have been my idle words over the years. I wonder how much harm they have done to others, and even to me. I did not publish my first book until I was nearly 40, and while I used to regret that late start, I now am thankful that I didn’t get the chance earlier in life to pour forth yet more sentences to spend my latter years regretting. A handful of times over the years I have drafted essays only to realize, before submitting them, that I did not want to say what I had written there; and a few other times I have had cause to thank editors for rejecting pieces that, had they been published, would have brought me embarrassment later.

In some cases the embarrassment would have been because of arguments badly made or paragraphs awkwardly formed; but in others because of a simple lack of charity or grace. An essay begins with an idea, but an idea begins with a certain orientation of the mind and will — with a mood, if you please. We have only the ideas that our mood of the moment prepares us to have, and while our moods may be connected to the truth of things, they are normally connected only to some truths, some highly partial facet of reality. Out of that mood we think; out of those thoughts we write. And it may be that only in speaking those thoughts do we discern the mood from which they arose. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” — a terrifying judgment, when you think of it."
alanjacobs  words  power  regret  speech  2013  communication  time  embarrassment  slow  idlewords  thinking  truth  change  aging 
september 2013 by robertogreco
The Referendum - NYTimes.com
"Yes: the Referendum gets unattractively self-righteous and judgmental. Quite a lot of what passes itself off as a dialogue about our society consists of people trying to justify their own choices as the only right or natural ones by denouncing others’ as selfish or pathological or wrong. So it’s easy to overlook that hidden beneath all this smug certainty is a poignant insecurity, and the naked 3 A.M. terror of regret."

“It’s tempting to read other people’s lives as cautionary fables or repudiations of our own.”

"One of the hardest things to look at in this life is the lives we didn’t lead, the path not taken, potential left unfulfilled. In stories, those who look back — Lot’s wife, Orpheus and Eurydice — are lost. Looking to the side instead, to gauge how our companions are faring, is a way of glancing at a safer reflection of what we cannot directly bear, like Perseus seeing the Gorgon safely mirrored in his shield."
adulthood  aging  children  life  living  decisions  tradeoffs  2009  timkreider  judgement  unschooling  cv  comparisons  choices  self-righteousness  certainty  undertainty  insecurity  regret 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Top five regrets of the dying | Life and style | guardian.co.uk
A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. …

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.


3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. …

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. …

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier."

[See also: http://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/ and later http://www.paulgraham.com/todo.html

"Don't ignore your dreams; don't work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy."]
2012  philosophy  dying  relationships  expectations  happiness  yearoff2  yearoff  self  corage  friendship  balance  work  wisdom  living  life  death  bronnieware  regret 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Positively Terrified | The Do Village
"The discrepancy of being good at something & having a passion for something are immense. A lot of the time realising that there is a difference between the 2 seems even harder. Yet once it creeps up in the back of your  mind, there is no getting rid of it. The feeling grows until you have to take action of some kind.

Which is why having the integrity to quit something, to explore alternatives – to figure out what I’d enjoy more – is the easiest & the hardest thing at the same time…

I’ve taken the plunge in favour of personal motivation & aspiration. I am trading a reliable job…for a 4 week placement…Reality has sunk in, & I am left feeling that I am doing the right thing – not because it’s sensible, but because I believe in it, & feel that I need to do this for no one other than myself.

I am much looking forward to what is to come. If I fail, I will figure it out once I am in that position. If I succeed, it might have been one of the best decisions I have taken for myself."
change  passion  talent  yearoff  cv  fear  risktaking  failure  success  regret  struggle  fulfillment  life  localmaximums  motivation  decisionmaking 
march 2011 by robertogreco
The Referendum - Happy Days Blog - NYTimes.com
"The Referendum is a phenomenon typical of (but not limited to) midlife, whereby people, increasingly aware of the finiteness of their time in the world, the limitations placed on them by their choices so far & the narrowing options remaining to them, start judging their peers' differing choices w/ reactions ranging from envy to contempt. The Referendum can subtly poison formerly close & uncomplicated relationships, creating tensions between the married and the single, the childless & parents, careerists & the stay-at-home...The problem is, we only get one chance at this, with no do-overs. Life is, in effect, a non-repeatable experiment with no control. In his novel about marriage, “Light Years,” James Salter writes: “For whatever we do, even whatever we do not do prevents us from doing its opposite. Acts demolish their alternatives, that is the paradox."...One of the hardest things to look at in this life is the lives we didn’t lead, the path not taken, potential left unfulfilled."
happiness  life  psychology  culture  marriage  parenting  choices  relationships  via:kottke  regret  time  limitations  limits  options  children  perspective  choice  philosophy  aging  emotions  love  midlife  careers  families  health  referendum  envy  contempt  decisions  competitiveness  jealousy 
october 2009 by robertogreco

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