Thanks to Ricky for the alert.
Thanks to Ricky for the alert.
Saffy had dental surgery two weeks ago. We noticed that she’d been swatting her face and snarling, and figured she had a toothache. The excellent vets at Makati Dog and Cat Hospital extracted five rotten teeth (Saffy is 15 and has never brushed her teeth in her life, being a cat). Saffy has recovered completely and is slightly nicer than she was when she was in pain, though she could still be the reincarnation of Josef Stalin. She’s even started eating hard kibble again, after having demanded paté-type cat food for the last year or so.
If we had a “normal” work schedule and went to the office everyday, we might not have noticed that our feline overlord needed medical attention. The great advantage of being freelance, i.e. living by our wits, is that we can decide how we’re going to spend our time. In the 21st century, time is a luxury that even the rich and powerful can barely afford. They’re over-scheduled and have to hoard their holidays. As long as we finish our assignments, we can go to the movies in the middle of the afternoon.
In our observation, people who live by their wits are less stressed than people with high-paying jobs or successful businesses. We don’t have real financial security, and we’re always aware that periods of liquidity can suddenly give way to penury. We’re accustomed to uncertainty and chaos, so we’ve learned to ride out the lean periods. This does not mean we’re lazy. Freelancers who are lazy cannot pay the rent or buy cat food. We toil, but we get to decide when to toil, usually in intense bursts.
Living by your wits isn’t for everybody, but if you know how to improvise and you don’t have ten children to buy braces for, we recommend it.
Walter B., an affable, outgoing man of forty-nine, came to see me in 2006. As a teenager, following a head injury, he had developed epileptic seizures—these first took the form of attacks of déjà vu that might occur dozens of times a day. Sometimes he would hear music that no one else could hear. He had no idea what was happening to him and, fearing ridicule or worse, kept his strange experiences to himself.
Although boredom is essential for human development it’s been given a bad rap. “Boredom has traditionally been associated with a range of negative outcomes, both within the workplace and outside it,” Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman of the University of Central Lancashire write in their 2014 paper. Mann and Cadman examined the relationship between boredom and creative potential on a range of tasks in two studies.
In the first study, 80 eager volunteers visited their lab only to be given the dull, monotonous chore of copying out lengthy lists of telephone numbers, or to be excluded from it (this was the control group), followed by the creative task of thinking of as many possible uses for a pair of plastic cups.
In the second study, a further 90 volunteers were split into three groups, each group being assigned to various types of boring activities (copying numbers, reading the numbers, or being excused from the whole thing – again, a control), followed by a creative task.
“Results suggested that boring activities resulted in increased creativity and that boring reading activities lead to more creativity in some circumstances,” the authors write.
In a lab experiment, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love. Yeah there are variables that were not considered, and we don’t like to think that humans are so easy, but let’s say it worked. Basically the subjects sit face to face in a quiet place and answer 36 increasingly personal questions. Then they stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes.
Disclaimer: Embark on this experiment at your own risk. We are not responsible for any foolishness that ensues.
Here’s the first set of questions.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Read To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This in the New York Times.