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Lade Tawak’s A Couple of Things – Letter #017: Living & Dying

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Lade Tawak's A Couple of Things
Welcome to a new week. Is it me or is January going by faster than usual. 

Sometime since the last letter, I facilitated a session to help people create Digital Vision Boards (digital over paper, save the environment and save yourself time). One of the participants already got some great news since the class and I’ve gotten messages from a couple of others about how helpful the exercise was in clarifying their goals and next steps.
Thing #1: Living with yourself

Something I wanted to do when I was a child was be an OAP. I don’t talk about it a lot because it seems very random. Recently, that dream has transferred into the desire to host a podcast (without the attendant worries of pre and post production). So, I tweeted this and got the opportunity to do a Women in Design series for The African Tech Woman Podcast.  

I’ve been doing this over the past week, and a common theme from most, if not all, of the interviews is that it’s important to figure out why you’re doing something before you even start.

Before you start a career step or move in one direction over another, be clear to yourself about your expectations. Are you in it for the money? Are you trying to develop a new skill? Switching careers? etc. This will help guide the decisions you make: whether to go freelance or combine a full time gig with a side hustle; whether to take a pay cut for a job with greater responsibility or stick to your better paying job; whether to work with this client or that client and so on and so forth.

Something to note though is that purpose can shift. So, say I took a lower paying job because I believed I could gain some new skills or it’s in a new field. Once I have achieved what I came for my purpose can change to making a lot of money because I want to save money for a long term goal like going to grad school. Or it could be work at company or on project that will increase chances of working with Professor Y at School Z.

The point is that what’s important to you at certain points in life will always change. But with all of that in mind, there should be core personal values that you have that are almost unshakeable, and it’s up to you to decide whatever that it.

The best thing about doing this is that for every decision you make you can give (yourself) a clear justification for it and you’ll be happy with yourself.
Thing #2: Living with others 

Human beings do not exist in isolation. Even if you live alone and you have a remote job that allows you work from home, you interact with people in different ways, whether online or offline.

For “living with others”, I want to narrow down on romantic relationships or sharing a flat with others.

Every other day, there’s some weird argument on twitter about what would you do if your partner presses toothpaste from the middle but you like to press it from the bottom or what if you like to sleep with the lights off and the other person likes to sleep with it on and so on and so forth. Majority of the responses/advice always tends towards *gasp* this is no way to live and you must break up. Now, I don’t know how (un)serious these people are about these takes, but it’s starting to get on my nerves. These are really simple issues that can be compromised on.

For the toothpaste issue, give everyone their own tube. For the light issue, sleep in different rooms, get a night light thingy, or turn off the lights in your room, but leave on the light in a corridor or bathroom (for example) that brings in some light to your room. If you like to relax while on vacation and the other person is basically Dora the Explorer, then split your holiday into two, use the first half to explore while you relax for the second half. 

Obviously, if differences are on fundamental core values like being a generally good versus generally shit person OR integrity/honesty over crookedness OR holding racist/tribalist/sexist/homophobic/bigot beliefs versus not, then get the hell out (and these even for friendship) but for all these other simple things, there’s definitely some compromise that can be reached that suits both your personalities. Even if it means living in separate houses
Thing #3: Designing your own death

A note before reading this section. This section isn’t necessarily about suicide resulting from mental illnesses, but more about whether people should be able to choose when/how they want to die.

________________

I was reading this Aeon essay on choosing how we die  and it got me to think about something that I do on and off. I often think about at what age I want to die. Mostly because I don’t want to be a burden on other people in my old age and also because I don’t want to suffer from the “indignity” of having to be taken care of and not being able to do things for myself due to slow but certain ageing. 

It’s possible that you could lose your major functions even before old age: a car crash could leave you immobile, a family history of some illness, a rare disease etc. But all things being equal, and life being particularly fair to me, then it’s old age that’ll get me.

Anyway, I’ve always thought somewhere between 75-80 years would be the perfect time to die. Hopefully in my sleep without any major illnesses or disturbances. I think that age range is perfect because I’d have done all the exploring I want to do. I don’t plan on having kids but should that change (through adoption), they’d probably already have their own children by the time I’m 80. Again, with God and luck on my side, I’ll be in great health. So, what else is there.

Sometime ago, I stumbled on an article in The Atlantic that perfectly summarizes my thoughts on dying at 75.

At the end of the day, death itself doesn’t matter because that the end of life as is it now (whether you believe in resurrection or not). What matters is living a worthwhile life (whatever that means for you) while you have it.
Reflect and/or ReplyWhat’s your current guiding light for your career decisions?How do you handle differences in behaviour with/from your partner?Have you ever thought about at what age you’d like to die?
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