Questions to Ponder

I found these questions on Imgur and they set me thinking. Although it may become obvious that the questions annoyed me a bit, they are useful for taking stock, working out if I am living how I want to live. I thought I’d share in case you too find them useful to think about. If you like, add your own thoughts in the comments, or even write a blog and link, depending on how the inspiration takes you. There are fifty of these questions, so I’m going to break them up a bit and post ten at a time.

The questions for today:

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

 

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

I don’t entirely understand this, because I wouldn’t still be the age I am? If the question means How old do you feel? Then somewhere between nineteen and a thousand, I can feel like both. In most ways I’m less jaded than I was as a child, but I also feel ancient, haunted, inept and childish. The older I get, the more I don’t care about the number I am, but how well I can physically and mentally deal with situations.

  1. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Failing is a short term horror, but something you have to go through to get to longer term wonder. Never trying is a short term comfort, but a lifetime of emptiness. I tend to go for trying and failing, because the emptiness has always scared me. However, I’ve known people for whom trying is permanently uncomfortable, they are happy in their lack of effort. I guess we each have to find what works best for us.

  1. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

Survival for the first one. Time for the second one.

  1. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

I’ll have done plenty of both. I have a rule: I only talk about something when I definitely intend to do it, and I only abandon this plan when a better plan comes along. Not saying I always follow this rule, there are plenty of good ideas I’ve abandoned due to laziness or fear, but laziness and fear have their uses also.

  1. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

I would like to shift emotion and reason so that they are in better proportion – individuals sometimes ruled by emotion to the point that they do terrible things, but most systems (ie government, corporate business, healthcare) seem to be so without empathy that they treat individuals terribly. So just a more evenly spread balance of the two.

  1. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

This is a complicated question. I believe that my job (gardener) keeps me sane, physically healthy and calm. The things that make me happy are writing, laughing with friends and eating, but if I did these things for eight hours a day, I wouldn’t be sane, physically healthy or calm. And probably not happy either. I also fear that if doing those things was a duty, I’d soon stop enjoying them. It’s probably an old-fashioned view, but I think we need difficulty, responsibility and boredom in our lives, if we got to do things we enjoyed all the time, it wouldn’t make us happy at all; we wouldn’t feel fulfilled because we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good things we had.

  1. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

I think my job matters, but it has many flaws that annoy me – so in some ways I settle, while also doing what I believe in. Writing is the same, I love it (‘believe in it’ is an ambiguous phrase) but it is flawed. Life always has a few compromises.

  1. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

I would already be dead.

  1. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

Illness, injury, and disaster aside, I’ve made most of my choices. Often badly. I’ve never been good at doing what I’m supposed to be doing (and I’ve tried, I promise) so I’ve had to figure out my own way of doing things.

  1. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

I believe that both matter. My tendency is to focus on doing the ‘right thing’ while not paying attention to the details, and as a result I often fuck it all up and have to start over again, doing it properly. I know other people who get very bogged down in carrying out a task to perfection, while other tasks get neglected completely. I think this is one of those situations where you need a balance of the two ways of thinking.

24 thoughts on “Questions to Ponder

  1. Ooh, Qs. I love Qs. I’ll answer here this time. Interesting answers from you, Petra, but you totally chickened on the “average lifespan 40 years” Q—it’s hypothetical! 😛

    1) How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

    I am always 23. Old enough to do everything that counts regardless of where I go, but still young enough that I don’t worry about permanent and debilitating injury if I have fun doing it.

    2) Which is worse, failing or never trying?

    Never trying, for sure. Failure is part of the learning process. It can be harsh, but it can be a main driver. An incentive to *do better next time*. I hate it when people who’ve never tried talk down to people who’ve tried and failed. Pet peeve (along with lazy spaceship engineers).

    3) If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

    Because human beings are contrary creatures. We all need to earn money (unless we’re lucky enough to be born into it) and sometimes that means doing jobs we don’t like just to pay the rent. Other times, we feel obligated to do things we don’t like (wash the car and/or spaceship, hang out with the mother-in-law) because of social (and vehicle) obligations. There may be other reasons I haven’t thought too deeply about.

    4) When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

    I’m a writer, so I do, to some extent, live vicariously through my characters. I’ve written about a parachute jump but never actually done one (yet). I’ve also never been to some of the mysterious and exotic places that I’ve written about (like Chichen Itza). But I like to do new things (often on impulse), so when all’s said and done, who truly knows whether I’ll have said more than I’ve done?

    5) What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

    How it’s ruled. I would make it ruled by women for 10 years. Then ruled by men for 10 years. Then ruled by women for 10 years. I like to think that it would increase empathy and compassion, to know that soon, the folks you rule will be the folks ruling you. I’m also happy for the world to be ruled by people who don’t identify with either gender.

    6) If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

    Writing.

    Also being a marine biologist.

    But mostly writing.

    7) Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

    In my hobbies and interests (including writing), I’m doing what I believe in. In my spiritual life, I’m doing what I believe in. With friends and family, I’m doing what I believe in. In terms of work, I settle because I’m familiar with what I’m doing and because it allows me (for now) to keep doing the things I believe in when I’m not pimping my time out for peanut.

    8) If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

    I would have tried every drug going at least once, instead of limiting myself to alcohol and the occasional drunken cigarette. I would also have travelled extensively from the age of eight.

    9) To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

    About 90°

    10) Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

    I don’t worry, I just do.

    Like

    1. Fantastic answers! Many lols! My nonchickening ( 😛 ) out answer to number 8 would be the Tallulah Bankhead quote “I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” Or become a marine biologist – because I’m with you on that, it’s incredible stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Terrific questions and want to answer but about to lose ISP access for routine maintenance of system. So will need to do this later. This is a case of need more time! Kat

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That first question threw me for a loop momentarily, too. It kind of goes hand in hand with the 40 year life span question since I’m going to be 37 this year. I have some health problems so I often feel like I have the body of someone much older, but I’m a writer, gamer, a creative, and open minded, though I’m a bit jaded/cynical with what I see. I also apparently “look” younger than I actually am since I’ve been mistaken for being in my 20s. I think I’m exactly the age I am, and if human lifespan was 40 years, I’d cash out my 401k so that I’d have enough money to survive the next three years without working so I could write as much as I possibly could in the hopes of leaving some legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that feeling of age when you’re ill, so I’m really sorry you’re going through that. Hopefully you’ll get to do all that writing anyway, if a little more spread out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very intriguing questions! Loved your answers, as well.

    How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
    I feel like I’m 25 but I also feel like I have a soul that has experienced eternities.

    Which is worse, failing or never trying?
    Never trying! I always regret things I don’t do. Plus, failure can be fun if you take it as a learning curve.

    If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
    To survive and because there are limits to what each person is able to do.

    When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
    No, my goals have changed through the years but I have done all I’ve wanted. I was on Neighbours, I’ve published a poem and an anthology, I’ve written a novel (not published), I’ve traveled the world, etc. I’m happy with what I have done.

    What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
    There would be less fear and uncertainty, more open hearts and arms and more logic.

    If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
    Anything that helps people or animals. Working with books (have done, will again) and taking care of animals (aside from adopting them, more to come in this area I hope). And if I could get paid to read books!

    Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
    In life I am doing what I believe in. Jobs are jobs and they’re not always what you want but what you need to do what you wanna do in your own time.

    If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
    I don’t think I would. No matter what the life span is, people take time to learn and to get to know themselves. Some things you can’t speed up.

    To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
    Completely. I have always been given the freedom to make choices.

    Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
    Doing the right thing in the right way. I think they go hand in hand.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. 1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
    I’d still be my same age, unless I could get my younger physique back. ~ Grin ~ I’m in my 50’s.

    2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
    Never trying.

    3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
    On this one, I’ll pass.

    4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
    Honestly, I have probably said more than I’ve done.

    5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
    I would like to rid the world of greed.

    6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
    Working in the garden, of course.

    7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
    I’m doing what I believe in. I took control of my life 2 years ago and changed it drastically.

    8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
    I would have told my husband that I loved him 10 more times a day and I would have showed it more. He’s deceased. His life span was 46 years.

    9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
    That’s a hard question to answer. I’ve made some tough decisions where I’ve taken control, but I’ve also flowed with the river to some degree. Okay the answer is 50-50%.

    10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
    I think it’s more important to do the right thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sat down to finally answer you questions and found that they required a bit of thought. Your answers were terrific, Petra.

    1 If I did not know my age I would probably be ready for a nursing home so quite old.

    2 Never trying is worse. You can always come back from a failure.

    3 Life is short and there are things that I don’t enjoy but need to do or can’t get out of, like cleaning and tax returns. These eat up time when I would rather be doing something fun and creative. Life is full of compromises and trying to juggle time is often difficult, but I try to make the most of each day as much as possible.

    4 When it’s all said and done I have probably said more than I have done because I do like to talk a lot. But this is also how I work things out and get ideas so I can do more. I think it probably will balance out in the end

    5 Changing the world is a difficult question with no easy answers. I think the world would benefit from more tolerance in cultural, religious and gender issues. A bit of respect for “the other” would go a long way towards making this a better planet on which to live for everyone.

    6 If happiness were a national currency what kind of work would I do? Well I’ve had the boring safe job and the fun, exciting and creative job. The latter was often quite stressful at times. Neither were perfect or made me completely happy. I think that happiness comes from within and when you are not even thinking about being happy that is often when you find it. I’ll take it from wherever it comes.

    7 Now I am doing what I believe in or at least trying to. I don’t think that I have ever really settled in the past because as soon as I felt that I was in a rut I would take a risk and change direction.

    8 If our lifespan was only 40 years I would hope that I would learn to be more assertive at a younger age and say no to things that I do not really want to do.

    9 Have I controlled the course of my life? Well I am responsible for my own decisions and actions. Sometimes I have made things happen by pure persistence and hard work. But there are things that I cannot control, like health issues and other people’s actions and interests. Life is a full of give and take, ups and downs and I try to live it the best way I can.

    10 Doing things right or doing the right things? I like to do things well and I also like to be fair and kind to others. I get worried if I think I have hurt someone unintentionally and am also not happy if I think that I could have done something a bit better. Probably not doing the right things in human interaction would make me more worried. This is a tricky one where you can get bogged down with the meanings of the word right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fine pondering there, I definitely agree with a lot of it – especially with regards to tolerance and finding happiness in a job. I’m really glad I posted these questions, I’m getting further ideas to ponder! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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