Showing all posts tagged: lifestyle

An extremely simple way to detect potential late bloomers

5 June 2024

Colonel Sanders founded KFC at age sixty-two. Anna Mary Robertson Moses AKA Grandma Moses, started painting when she was seventy-six, and had an illustrious career spanning twenty-five years. American actor Kathryn Joosten began her Hollywood career aged fifty-six.

These are just a few examples of people who are considered to be late bloomers. Those who found their calling in life at around the same time their contemporaries were either retired, or gearing up to cease working. That potentially means if you’re of a certain age, someone in your peer group may be about to step into the starting blocks.

But who might that be? According to London based writer and speaker Henry E. Oliver, there a few tell-tale signs:

  • Look for people who have been successful in the past
  • Look for people with secret lives
  • Look for the people who don’t fit in
  • Look for loners and those who are happy to change their context
  • Put up a beacon

Yah, put up a beacon is an obvious one (actually, I have no idea what that means). But forget the beacon. If you’re looking to find a would-be late bloomer among your friends and acquaintances, look-out for the ones with secret lives. Shouldn’t be too hard. Oh wait.

If someone has a secret life, that means — or is supposed to mean — no one else knows about it. While that may sound like a problem, it’s in fact only a detail. All we need do now is work backwards to identify the late bloomers in our lives. Start with the beacon. I assume that’ll stand out. Then pick out the loners, and those who don’t fit in. After that, anyone who has been successful previously.

Once you have four out of five, it’s just a case of finding out if they have a secret life. And that’s a simple matter of posing a discreetly worded question. You could say something like, “Oh hey, did I tell about an old friend of mine, [insert name of fake friend here]? Turns out they’ve been living a secret double life for a couple of decades.”

If your acquaintance seems startled, it might mean you’re onto something. Then you could follow-up, by saying “But that’s nothing you’d know anything about, right?” If their immediate response is a hasty successions of no’s, that it’s as good confirmed: your friend has a secret life, and could well be a late bloomer in the making.

Spotting potential late bloomers is easy when you know what you’re doing…


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Minutes to hours, hours to days, this is how you spend your time

16 May 2024

A breakdown of how people, Americans in this case, spend their time, by each decade of their life. Things like sleeping, eating, working, caring for others, and socialising. The crunch is definitely on in our thirties, forties, and fifties, when time for sleep and socialising, for instance, is reduced.

Kurzgesagt also did a presentation a few years ago on how we spend the years of our lives. It does make you stop and think. Once you leave home, your parents place, and here Kurzgesagt offered twenty-five as an average age for this, you will likely see exceedingly little of them thereafter:

If you are making an effort to be with your parents for two full weeks each year for the rest of their lives, which covers the main holidays, birthdays and a bit extra, you still have already spent more than 90% of the time you will ever spend with them, even if they grow pretty old.



It is a mistake to think all mistakes have a silver lining

1 May 2024

Social media is awash with motivational quotes extolling the virtues of making mistakes. I probably glanced sideways at some quote or other on Instagram — like, five years ago — because now my search tab is full of the things.

Daily I’m reminded that experience is simply the name we give our mistakes, or remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.

Mistakes and missteps are a part of life, but spend too much on social media, and anyone would think errors are roads paved with gold. After all, mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before. That’s comforting.

Except it may not be the case. Janan Ganesh, writing for the Financial Times, says that while people can bounce back from some mistakes, others can have a profoundly negative impact:

A mistake, in the modern telling, is not a mistake but a chance to “grow”, to form “resilience”. It is a mere bridge towards ultimate success. And in most cases, quite so. But a person’s life at 40 isn’t the sum of most decisions. It is skewed by a disproportionately important few: sometimes professional, often romantic. Get these wrong, and the scope for retrieving the situation is, if not zero, then overblown by a culture that struggles to impart bad news.

We err, but we go on. Getting it wrong with the big calls in life doesn’t mean someone will be doomed to an existence of abject misery. There’s always a plan B. It may not be as alluring as plan A, but it might still be pretty good. As for the social media mistake-advocates, they’d serve more good if they instead advised people not to wallow in their errors.


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When you learn your housemate died via social media

22 April 2024

Mohamed Aboelez recently learned his roommate, a person he shared a residence with, had died. But no one called to say so, instead Aboelez read the news on Facebook:

I froze. I hadn’t seen Paul in about two days. I had assumed he’d been with his friend. But not dead. Of course not dead.

What a terrible thing to happen, and what an awful way to find out: through social media.

If I found out today, via social media, that someone I lived with, in the same apartment/house had died, something would be seriously wrong. People would be asking, quite rightly, what planet I thought I was living on.

But dial back to my days of share house living, and that may not be quite so bizarre. I resided in a number of share houses, and it was not unusual for housemates to be absent for several days at a time. Nor was it unusual — in the normal course — for anyone to say they’d be away either.

It wasn’t that anyone was being aloof or evasive, because often their absences were not — initially at least — intentional. Someone would leave the house in the morning, likely planning to return later that day, but end up getting, perhaps, side tracked. And remain that way for a day. Or three.

Back then, I think someone would need to go unseen for a good week, or their share of the rent had gone unpaid, before concerns were raised. But there was also the point that determining a period of an absence could be tricky. Let me illustrate. Flatmate A is away for two days. I (unknowingly) end up being away for three days afterwards, but leave before Flatmate A comes back in. When I return three days later, Flatmate A has been in the house for a few days, but again gone walkabout for a few days, by the time I arrive back. And so on.

Twenty-somethings, hey?

Unless Flatmate A left all the dishes unwashed, or some such, I might have no idea they’d been back. Equally, I’d have no way of knowing that they hadn’t. Confusing, much? To make matters (sort of) worse, we often didn’t have each other’s mobile numbers, or emails, because, you know, there was no need: we lived in the same house. We could obviously communicate face-to-face.

In these sorts of circumstances then, it may not be entirely strange to learn that a housemate had met with misfortune, on a social media channel. In my case though, all, thankfully, turned out to be well. My flatmates were absent precisely because they wanted to be. Sadly, this was not the case for Aboelez’s roommate.



The people we spend time with changes throughout our life

8 August 2022

A breakdown of the time we spend with the people in our lives: parents, siblings, friends, partners, colleagues… and ourselves, put together by Our World in Data. The findings are based on surveys conducted between 2009 and 2019 in the United States.

  • As you age you tend to spend more time alone. This does not necessarily mean you’d be lonely though
  • Once you leave home the time spent with parents and siblings plummets
  • Once settled in a career, time spent with friends also decreases
  • In fact the only person you spend more time with, excluding children if you have any, is your partner


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I doubt that our lives are merely the sums of our possessions

12 December 2013

This piece I read on Kottke last week had me wondering about the way we… measure someone’s achievements, success, or net worth, upon their death. In October US comedian and author David Sedaris wrote about the suicide of his youngest sister, Tiffany, earlier this year. Judging from her will, Tiffany appeared to have become estranged, to some degree, from her family, but it was Sedaris’ reference to his late sister’s possessions, or lack thereof, that caught my eye:

Compared with most forty-nine-year-olds, or even most forty-nine-month-olds, Tiffany didn’t have much. She did leave a will, though. In it, she decreed that we, her family, could not have her body or attend her memorial service. “So put that in your pipe and smoke it,” our mother would have said. A few days after getting the news, my sister Amy drove to Somerville with a friend and collected two boxes of things from Tiffany’s room: family photographs, many of which had been ripped into pieces, comment cards from a neighborhood grocery store, notebooks, receipts.

In response, Michael Knoblach, a friend of Tiffany’s, chastised Sedaris in an article he wrote for the Wicked Local Somerville. Among other points, Knoblach wished to make clear that Tiffany’s estate amounted to more than just two boxes of belongings:

I found David Sedaris’ article, “Now we are five,” in the Oct. 28 New Yorker to be obviously self-serving, often grossly inaccurate, almost completely unresearched and, at times, outright callous. Some of her family had been more than decent, loving and kind to her. “Two lousy boxes” is not Tiffany’s legacy. After her sister left with that meager lot, her house was still full of treasures. More than two vanloads of possession were pulled from there and other locations by friends.

Tiffany may have been troubled, but it is clear her life had value far beyond her possessions, regardless of their quantity.

Originally published Thursday 12 December 2013



Workafrolics work harder but live longer

29 October 2008

And following on from the workafrolic piece last week, comes news that hard working, conscientious people, may live a little longer than other people, according to a Marie Claire article. Why? Mainly because they are so busy working they have little time for excesses and taking life threatening risks.

Nearly 9,000 took part in the study to analyse personality and lifespan and lead researcher Dr Howard Friedman concluded: “Highly conscientious people live on average two to four years longer.” “There is evidence for several sorts of reasons. Conscientious folks are less likely to smoke, drink to excess or take too many risks.” He added: “But it is also true that conscientious folks lead life patterns that are more stable and less stressful.”

New Scientist subscribers can view the original source article here.

Update: The Marie Claire article is no longer online.

Originally published Wednesday 29 October 2008.


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Is Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a workafrolic?

22 October 2008

Workafrolic is the latest buzzword of a neologism to pique my curiosity and it will no doubt lead to an obsession in due course. Richard St. John author of Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky and Rich defines a workafrolic in a recent interview with The Telegram

Successful people work hard, but they love it. They’re “workafrolics”, St. John says, because they have fun working.

Australian graphic designer Sonya Mefaddi provided a slightly more real life definition in an article in the SMH MyCareer liftout last weekend (18-19 October 2008, page 3):

If I am out at a club with friends, I often think I’d rather be at home working.

Never thought I’d say this, but her words strike a definite chord with me. At this point in time anyway.

Update: The Telegram article is no longer online.

Originally published Wednesday 22 October 2008.


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