13 Reasons Why (Living is Great)

13 reasons why (living is great)

This is not research related, but I think it’s important. And if I post this on my website I will be more likely to follow through with what I promise to do.

I just read the book (made popular by Netflix) 13 Reasons Why. It really struck a chord with me. (Don’t worry – I’m not suicidal by any means.) It left me with a strong reflective mindset, asking myself whether I have at any time in my life acted similarly to one of the characters in that story; have I been someone’s reason why?
I thought back to my early days in high school, where my friends and I, who really didn’t understand the gravity of what we were doing, picked on others in our class. I sincerely hope that our words did not cause anyone long-term suffering, and wish that someone had been there to convey to us 12-year-olds in a meaningful way that words really can hurt and have a lasting impact.
If I have the power to save even one life, literally or figuratively, why am I not devoting my entire existence to this single cause? The only reason I could come up with was selfishness. I have to admit that this is the case.
But we do what we can. So I’m not going to drop out of my PhD to pursue a life of charity, but I’m proposing a set of 13 resolutions that will both improve my mental discipline and convince me that 2018 a is year that is exciting and worth living in every day. By doing so, I hope that I can inspire others to do the same in the future, so that they too can broaden the boundaries of their lives in a positive way.
These resolutions are actually somewhat tangential to the above discussion, but this monologue is what inspired them.
Here is my mathematical formula for happiness:
6 months + 7 things = 13 reasons why

6 months

For 6 months of this year (I didn’t want to burn myself out with all 12) I have a theme. I chose these themes to expand on practices that I generally already observe to some extent, and hope that these practices will improve my mental discipline as well as my mental and physical health.

Junk-free January No artificial sugarNo chips or friesNo fast food
Mindful March Meditate each dayYoga 2x per week
Move-it May Exercise every day
Dry July No alcohol
Slow September No caffeine
No-suffering November Vegan

7 things

The 7 things are discrete actions that I can take at any point in the year. I hope they will make 2018 memorable.
  1. Run a sub-90 minute half marathon
  2. Brew beer
  3. Volunteer for charity
  4. Go on a date
  5. Do a triathlon
  6. Have a singing lesson
  7. Learn to do pistol squats
None of my 13 reasons relate specifically to research or work. This is because I have a tendency (like all of academia, it seems) to let work take over my life. I enjoy doing research etc., but I want to remind myself to enjoy myself independently of how my work is going.

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