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Children today reach puberty earlier and adulthood later. The result: A lot of teenage weirdness. Alison Gopnik on how we might readjust adolescence.
“What was he thinking?” It’s the familiar cry of bewildered parents trying to understand why their teenagers act the way they do.
How does the boy who can thoughtfully explain the reasons never to drink and drive end up in a drunken crash? Why does the girl who knows all about birth control find herself pregnant by a boy she doesn’t even like? What happened to the gifted, imaginative child who excelled through high school but then dropped out of college, drifted from job to job and now lives in his parents’ basement?
Adolescence has always been troubled, but for reasons that are somewhat mysterious, puberty is now kicking in at an earlier and earlier age. A leading theory points to changes in energy balance as children eat more and move less.
At the same time, first with the industrial revolution and then even more dramatically with the information revolution, children have come to take on adult roles later and later. Five hundred years ago, Shakespeare knew that the emotionally intense combination of teenage sexuality and peer-induced risk could be tragic—witness “Romeo and Juliet.” But, on the other hand, if not for fate, 13-year-old Juliet would have become a wife and mother within a year or two.
Our Juliets (as parents longing for grandchildren will recognize with a sigh) may experience the tumult of love for 20 years before they settle down into motherhood. And our Romeos may be poetic lunatics under the influence of Queen Mab until they are well into graduate school.
What happens when children reach puberty earlier and adulthood later? The answer is: a good deal of teenage weirdness. Fortunately, developmental psychologists and neuroscientists are starting to explain the foundations of that weirdness.
Photos: The Trials of Teenagers
The crucial new idea is that there are two different neural and psychological systems that interact to turn children into adults. Over the past two centuries, and even more over the past generation, the developmental timing of these two systems has changed. That, in turn, has profoundly changed adolescence and produced new kinds of adolescent woe. The big question for anyone who deals with young people today is how we can go about bringing these cogs of the teenage mind into sync once again.
The first of these systems has to do with emotion and motivation. It is very closely linked to the biological and chemical changes of puberty and involves the areas of the brain that respond to rewards. This is the system that turns placid 10-year-olds into restless, exuberant, emotionally intense teenagers, desperate to attain every goal, fulfill every desire and experience every sensation. Later, it turns them back into relatively placid adults.
Recent studies in the neuroscientist B.J. Casey’s lab at Cornell University suggest that adolescents aren’t reckless because they underestimate risks, but because they overestimate rewards—or, rather, find rewards more rewarding than adults do. The reward centers of the adolescent brain are much more active than those of either children or adults. Think about the incomparable intensity of first love, the never-to-be-recaptured glory of the high-school basketball championship.
What teenagers want most of all are social rewards, especially the respect of their peers. In a recent study by the developmental psychologist Laurence Steinberg at Temple University, teenagers did a simulated high-risk driving task while they were lying in an fMRI brain-imaging machine. The reward system of their brains lighted up much more when they thought another teenager was watching what they did—and they took more risks.
From an evolutionary point of view, this all makes perfect sense. One of the most distinctive evolutionary features of human beings is our unusually long, protected childhood. Human children depend on adults for much longer than those of any other primate. That long protected period also allows us to learn much more than any other animal. But eventually, we have to leave the safe bubble of family life, take what we learned as children and apply it to the real adult world.
Becoming an adult means leaving the world of your parents and starting to make your way toward the future that you will share with your peers. Puberty not only turns on the motivational and emotional system with new force, it also turns it away from the family and toward the world of equals.
The second crucial system in our brains has to do with control; it channels and harnesses all that seething energy. In particular, the prefrontal cortex reaches out to guide other parts of the brain, including the parts that govern motivation and emotion. This is the system that inhibits impulses and guides decision-making, that encourages long-term planning and delays gratification.
This control system depends much more on learning. It becomes increasingly effective throughout childhood and continues to develop during adolescence and adulthood, as we gain more experience. You come to make better decisions by making not-so-good decisions and then correcting them. You get to be a good planner by making plans, implementing them and seeing the results again and again. Expertise comes with experience. As the old joke has it, the answer to the tourist’s question “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” is “Practice, practice, practice.”
In the distant (and even the not-so-distant) historical past, these systems of motivation and control were largely in sync. In gatherer-hunter and farming societies, childhood education involves formal and informal apprenticeship. Children have lots of chances to practice the skills that they need to accomplish their goals as adults, and so to become expert planners and actors. The cultural psychologist Barbara Rogoff studied this kind of informal education in a Guatemalan Indian society, where she found that apprenticeship allowed even young children to become adept at difficult and dangerous tasks like using a machete.
In the past, to become a good gatherer or hunter, cook or caregiver, you would actually practice gathering, hunting, cooking and taking care of children all through middle childhood and early adolescence—tuning up just the prefrontal wiring you’d need as an adult. But you’d do all that under expert adult supervision and in the protected world of childhood, where the impact of your inevitable failures would be blunted. When the motivational juice of puberty arrived, you’d be ready to go after the real rewards, in the world outside, with new intensity and exuberance, but you’d also have the skill and control to do it effectively and reasonably safely.
In contemporary life, the relationship between these two systems has changed dramatically. Puberty arrives earlier, and the motivational system kicks in earlier too.
At the same time, contemporary children have very little experience with the kinds of tasks that they’ll have to perform as grown-ups. Children have increasingly little chance to practice even basic skills like cooking and caregiving. Contemporary adolescents and pre-adolescents often don’t do much of anything except go to school. Even the paper route and the baby-sitting job have largely disappeared.
The experience of trying to achieve a real goal in real time in the real world is increasingly delayed, and the growth of the control system depends on just those experiences. The pediatrician and developmental psychologist Ronald Dahl at the University of California, Berkeley, has a good metaphor for the result: Today’s adolescents develop an accelerator a long time before they can steer and brake.
This doesn’t mean that adolescents are stupider than they used to be. In many ways, they are much smarter. An ever longer protected period of immaturity and dependence—a childhood that extends through college—means that young humans can learn more than ever before. There is strong evidence that IQ has increased dramatically as more children spend more time in school, and there is even some evidence that higher IQ is correlated with delayed frontal lobe development.
All that school means that children know more about more different subjects than they ever did in the days of apprenticeships. Becoming a really expert cook doesn’t tell you about the nature of heat or the chemical composition of salt—the sorts of things you learn in school.
But there are different ways of being smart. Knowing physics and chemistry is no help with a soufflé. Wide-ranging, flexible and broad learning, the kind we encourage in high-school and college, may actually be in tension with the ability to develop finely-honed, controlled, focused expertise in a particular skill, the kind of learning that once routinely took place in human societies. For most of our history, children have started their internships when they were seven, not 27.
The old have always complained about the young, of course. But this new explanation based on developmental timing elegantly accounts for the paradoxes of our particular crop of adolescents.
There do seem to be many young adults who are enormously smart and knowledgeable but directionless, who are enthusiastic and exuberant but unable to commit to a particular kind of work or a particular love until well into their 20s or 30s. And there is the graver case of children who are faced with the uncompromising reality of the drive for sex, power and respect, without the expertise and impulse control it takes to ward off unwanted pregnancy or violence.
This new explanation also illustrates two really important and often overlooked facts about the mind and brain. First, experience shapes the brain. People often think that if some ability is located in a particular part of the brain, that must mean that it’s “hard-wired” and inflexible. But, in fact, the brain is so powerful precisely because it is so sensitive to experience. It’s as true to say that our experience of controlling our impulses make the prefrontal cortex develop as it is to say that prefrontal development makes us better at controlling our impulses. Our social and cultural life shapes our biology.
Second, development plays a crucial role in explaining human nature. The old “evolutionary psychology” picture was that genes were directly responsible for some particular pattern of adult behavior—a “module.” In fact, there is more and more evidence that genes are just the first step in complex developmental sequences, cascades of interactions between organism and environment, and that those developmental processes shape the adult brain. Even small changes in developmental timing can lead to big changes in who we become.
Fortunately, these characteristics of the brain mean that dealing with modern adolescence is not as hopeless as it might sound. Though we aren’t likely to return to an agricultural life or to stop feeding our children well and sending them to school, the very flexibility of the developing brain points to solutions.
Brain research is often taken to mean that adolescents are really just defective adults—grown-ups with a missing part. Public policy debates about teenagers thus often turn on the question of when, exactly, certain areas of the brain develop, and so at what age children should be allowed to drive or marry or vote—or be held fully responsible for crimes. But the new view of the adolescent brain isn’t that the prefrontal lobes just fail to show up; it’s that they aren’t properly instructed and exercised.
Simply increasing the driving age by a year or two doesn’t have much influence on the accident rate, for example. What does make a difference is having a graduated system in which teenagers slowly acquire both more skill and more freedom—a driving apprenticeship.
Instead of simply giving adolescents more and more school experiences—those extra hours of after-school classes and homework—we could try to arrange more opportunities for apprenticeship. AmeriCorps, the federal community-service program for youth, is an excellent example, since it provides both challenging real-life experiences and a degree of protection and supervision.
“Take your child to work” could become a routine practice rather than a single-day annual event, and college students could spend more time watching and helping scientists and scholars at work rather than just listening to their lectures. Summer enrichment activities like camp and travel, now so common for children whose parents have means, might be usefully alternated with summer jobs, with real responsibilities.
The good news, in short, is that we don’t have to just accept the developmental patterns of adolescent brains. We can actually shape and change them.
—Ms. Gopnik is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author, most recently, of “The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life.” Adapted from an essay that she wrote for www.edge.org, in response to the website’s 2012 annual question: “What is your favorite deep, elegant or beautiful explanation?”
Here begins my long overdue attempt to blog about this trip. Yes I had originally meant to give a short update every day or two, but, well, sometimes time is not yours on vacation. Luckily I’m about an hour and a half into a 3.5 hour train ride to Switzerland with a window seat. So the scenery is good, the music is playing, and a nap’s been had. I.e. I’m going to attempt to get some thoughts down on fake paper.
Small note about this trip in general, I’ve been a little obsessed with Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saint’s album, particularly “Obvious Child” which, according to Pandora, “did for Brazilian drumming as Graceland did for South African music.” We’ll call it the Paul Simon bump. (reference to the Colbert bump). So if you’d like to know a portion of my mindset in this blog post, that may be a good place to start.
And we said these songs are true
These days are ours
These tears are free
Friday, January 13
The day it all started. I went to work in the morning originally because an intern interview was scheduled but that was canceled earlier in the week. So I just went in to finish up everything and have one last check-in with all accounts. I also needed to get to a bank, make copies of my passport and print out my itinerary (which I subsequently forgot on my desk). Oh well.
I also had a mid-year check-in with my manager and EVP. Things are going well but there’s always more to work on. But the big news before I left for vacation was I got a promotion!! Mostly excited, partly nervous because I don’t want to disappoint. Luckily it doesn’t take effect until February 1, so this two week vacation doesn’t count against my performance. We discussed what my next step of goals should be in the coming six months so when I get back from this trip I’ll have to plan out how I expect to accomplish this. It’ll be some combination of: read more, write more, attend events, build relationships; all of which I’m fine with.
After the meeting and the running of these small errands complete, I grabbed my bags and I was on my way!
A little about what I packed. During Christmas I went shopping through the luggage collected by my family of four over 20+ years of traveling together and many more years of my parents traveling before that. Picked out a kind of hefty leather bag (a gift of some sort from WB studios to one of the parents from way back when). It is a little heavy even when empty but it’d be fine if there was rain or snow, had wheels and I could wear it as a backpack for short spurts as needed. I figured I probably over packed then, but being ten days into this trip I know I did. Not too bad though, one pair of tights too many, one pair of pants too many, and one dress I probably won’t need. If I had to, I could have lots a pair of shoes as well, maybe. Not terrible, but all makes a difference in packing, and buying souvenirs. My shoulder bag was also jam packed and didn’t close properly, I’ve since changed how I pack it and things are doing much better, but still, it made me a little nervous for my two nights/ three days of quick travel in Switzerland. I’m just hoping a positive attitude and a constant reminder of “Hey the Swiss alps!” will be enough to get me through any rough patches. I made it through the no escalator Paris metro, so already off to a good start.
So it was 2 p.m., my flight was at 5 p.m. and I was off to the airport. I met a stressed out Courtney in the lobby and we had a big laughing hug as a way to sort of shrug off some of the work we were leaving behind. She had a big assignment due Friday that she had to leave in the hands of someone else to finish, something my generation of professional women is not good at (or at least my group of professional female friends).
The BART ride and check in was pretty uneventful. Our only slight snafu was we were both used to entering our flights from one section of the international terminal, so we were a little turned around trying to find the “international” section of the “international terminal.” I blame it on travel instincts. We were at the airport with plenty of time to spare though (how we both like it) so I went to purchase an inflatable neck pillow thing (genius! Idea) and we settled at the terminal bar for a glass of wine before the flight.
One of my favorite things in life is sitting in airport terminals, listening to the flights being called, especially to ones all over the world. It gives me ideas of where I want to go next and lets my over active brain think about what everyone else is doing (which then gives me an excuse to listen in on peoples conversations). We saw some parents taking their college aged kids to study abroad somewhere (one girl had packed too much and they had to buy an extra bag for her shoes to not go over the weight limit), and two mates having a beer before returning to London, perhaps visiting someone on vacation (I wasn’t close enough to listen in and find out). Sitting there reminded me of Lain de Botton’s book about spending a week in the London Heathrow airport (aptly named A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow diary) after a new terminal was completed. He discusses the anticipation of the departure ticket gate, the odds and ends seen going through security, the flight anticipation, the almost magic (explained by physics) of flying, joy of vacations, sadness for leaving loved ones, all being experienced by millions of people at any given time around the world, and hundreds of thousands in Heathrow alone. It’s a good read for anyone of loves airports and flying.
They called us to board and Court and I went our separate ways. For two people who travel a fair amount together, we almost never sit next to each other. It is usually due in part because we book our travel details at different times and we get what seat we can, but a large part also has to do with both of us being window seat people. Besides, we were about to spend ten days together, a ten hour flight was not going to make a difference.
I got settled in and a nice elderly couple scooted in next to me. I believe the gentleman was sick, or really into decongestion drugs, so I made a mental note to not sleep with my face towards the aisle way. We actually struck up a conversation part of the way into the flight about our travel (surprisingly he started it.) They were visiting their eldest son who had married a Britsh lady and recently had a son together in London. They enjoy visiting their grandson when they can but, like most grandparents, wished they could see them more. I think he was curious about me traveling by myself and fairly obviously not for business (moleskin notebook and two cameras gave me away) so we chatted a bit about my trip plans, work and what to expect in London. Then he gave me a tube map which was GREATLY appreciated and that was about the extent of it, besides a couple polite nods in the security line after we landed. Kind of funny to exchange pleasantries with fellow passengers or people you know you’ll never see again. It makes me wonder if we passed each other sometime in London but out of the context of a three seat airplane row we couldn’t recognize each other.
Anyway, after a loooooong flight, we landed in London at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, January 14. It took us ten hours to fly eight hours into the future. Time sure is a funny thing.
Saturday, January 14
Ahh customs, and quite a line for non EU citizens. So we queued up and waited, and waited and waited. It probably wasn’t as long as it felt, but after a mostly sleepless ten hour flight, but still we trudged along and finally made our way to the booth once told to do so. They originally sent us up separately, but when the lady directing traffic realized we were together I had to scurry up behind Courtney to have the same customs guy take our passports. They had already started the conversation so a random person joining in the middle of the “why are you here, who are you staying with, what do you want with our city?” conversation wasn’t exactly appreciated. I thought since we weren’t family we didn’t go together. Wrong! The guy was relatively nice though, or perhaps just indifferent. Once he found out we had plans to leave London he just ran our numbers to make sure we didn’t have an international terrorist history and told us to move along. Onto the Tube!
Fun fact, London Heathrow, pretty far out of London. Thank goodness we only had to take one tube line to a bus stop to get to my friend’s place where we were staying. Courtney and I were just trying to hold on to our stuff and not fall asleep, luckily we both kept getting second winds at different points and could knock the other when we were close to exiting. After the underground we surfaced at King’s Cross. I held in my excitement to go find platform 9 ¾ until another day and we went to find out bus. Boarded, super crowded, we looked so lost I’m sure, but we were so close!
To recap, starting at 2 p.m. Friday, we had taken BART -> Plane -> Tube -> Bus and we finally arrived at our place on Oakley Road at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and rang the bell. Our host was still in Paris but her roomies had been instructed to take care of us. And that they did. We were welcomed by my friend’s two Greek roommates. I doubt they’d ever seen anyone so happy to have the front door opened for them as these two extremely jet lagged Americans.
Interest article about predictions that DID come true. And some that didn’t.
Ten 100-year predictions that came true
By Tom Geoghegan BBC News Magazine
In 1900, an American civil engineer called John Elfreth Watkins made a number of predictions about what the world would be like in 2000. How did he do?
As is customary at the start of a new year, the media have been full of predictions about what may happen in the months ahead.
But a much longer forecast made in 1900 by a relatively unknown engineer has been recirculating in the past few days.
In December of that year, at the start of the 20th Century, John Elfreth Watkins wrote a piece published on page eight of an American women’s magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, entitled What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years.
He began the article with the words: “These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible,” explaining that he had consulted the country’s “greatest institutions of science and learning” for their opinions on 29 topics.
Watkins was a writer for the Journal’s sister magazine, the Saturday Evening Post, based in Indianapolis.
The Post brought this article to a modern audience last week when its history editor Jeff Nilsson wrote a feature praising Watkins’ accuracy.
It was picked up and caused some excitement on Twitter. So what did Watkins get right – and wrong?
10 predictions that Watkins got right…
1. Digital colour photography
Watkins did not, of course, use the word “digital” or spell out precisely how digital cameras and computers would work, but he accurately predicted how people would come to use new photographic technology.
“Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence, snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later…. photographs will reproduce all of nature’s colours.”
This showed major foresight, says Mr Nilsson. When Watkins was making his predictions, it would have taken a week for a picture of something happening in China to make its way into Western papers.
People thought photography itself was a miracle, and colour photography was very experimental, he says.
“The idea of having cameras gathering information from opposite ends of the world and transmitting them – he wasn’t just taking a present technology and then looking to the next step, it was far beyond what anyone was saying at the time.”
Patrick Tucker from the World Future Society, based in Maryland in the US, thinks Watkins might even be hinting at a much bigger future breakthrough.
“‘Photographs will be telegraphed’ reads strikingly like how we access information from the web,” says Mr Tucker.
2. The rising height of Americans
“Americans will be taller by from one to two inches.”
Watkins had unerring accuracy here, says Mr Nilsson – the average American man in 1900 was about 66-67ins (1.68-1.70m) tall and by 2000, the average was 69ins (1.75m).
Today, it’s 69.5ins (1.76m) for men and 64ins (1.63m) for women.
3. Mobile phones
“Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn.”
International phone calls were unheard of in Watkins’ day. It was another 15 years before the first call was made, by Alexander Bell, even from one coast of the US to the other. The idea of wireless telephony was truly revolutionary.
4. Pre-prepared meals
“Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishment similar to our bakeries of today.”
The proliferation of ready meals in supermarkets and takeaway shops in High Streets suggests that Watkins was right, although he envisaged the meals would be delivered on plates which would be returned to the cooking establishments to be washed.
5. Slowing population growth
“There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America [the US].”
The figure is too high, says Nilsson, but at least Watkins was guessing in the right direction. If the US population had grown by the same rate it did between 1800 and 1900, it would have exceeded 1 billion in 2000.
“Instead, it grew just 360%, reaching 280m at the start of the new century.”
6. Hothouse vegetables
Winter will be turned into summer and night into day by the farmer, said Watkins, with electric wires under the soil and large gardens under glass.
“Vegetables will be bathed in powerful electric light, serving, like sunlight, to hasten their growth. Electric currents applied to the soil will make valuable plants to grow larger and faster, and will kill troublesome weeds. Rays of coloured light will hasten the growth of many plants. Electricity applied to garden seeds will make them sprout and develop unusually early.”
Large gardens under glass were already a reality, says Philip Norman of the Garden Museum in London, but he was correct to predict the use of electricity. Although coloured lights and electric currents did not take off, they were probably experimented with.
“Electricity certainly features in plant propagation. But the earliest item we have is a 1953 booklet Electricity in Your Garden detailing electrically warmed frames, hotbeds and cloches and electrically heated greenhouses, issued by the British Electrical Development Association.
“We have a 1956 soil heater, used in soil to assist early germination of seeds in your greenhouse.”
“Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.”
Watkins foresaw cameras and screens linked by electric circuits, a vision practically realised in the 20th Century by live international television and latterly by webcams.
“Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of today.”
Leonardo da Vinci had talked about this, says Nilsson, but Watkins was taking it further. There weren’t many people that far-sighted.
9. Bigger fruit
“Strawberries as large as apples will be eaten by our great-great-grandchildren.”
Lots of larger varieties of fruit have been developed in the past century, but Watkins was over-optimistic with regard to strawberries.
10. The Acela Express
“Trains will run two miles a minute normally. Express trains one hundred and fifty miles per hour.”
Exactly 100 years after writing those words, to the very month, Amtrak’s flagship high-speed rail line, the Acela Express, opened between Boston and Washington, DC. It reaches top speeds of 150mph, although the average speed is considerably less than that. High-speed rail in other parts of the world, even in 2000, was considerably faster.
…and four he didn’t
1. No more C, X or Q
“There will be no C, X or Q in our everyday alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary.”
This was obviously wrong, says Patrick Tucker of the World Future Society, but also remarkable in the way that it hints at the possible effects of mass communication on communication itself.
2. Everybody will walk 10 miles a day
“This presents a rather generous view of future humanity but doesn’t seem to consider the popularity and convenience of the very transportation breakthroughs [moving sidewalks, express trains, coaches] forecast elsewhere in the article,” says Mr Tucker.
“All hurry traffic will be below or above ground when brought within city limits.”
However, many cities do have pedestrian zones in their historic centres. And he correctly forecast elevated roads and subways.
4. No mosquitoes or flies
“Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been exterminated.”
Watkins was getting ahead of himself here. Indeed the bed bug is making a huge comeback in the US and some other countries.
Maybe the end of the mosquito and the house fly is something to look forward to in 2100?
And I don’t want anyone to be confused. Please view instructions here
By Jessie Rosen
- Before you status update, Tweet, Tumble or Instagram, pause and say to yourself, “is it entirely necessary that I share this morsel of thought with my entire social network?”and if the answer is not, “yes, I absolutely must,” then step away from the Internet.
- Know which candidate you’re going to vote for in the upcoming presidential election, and know why.
- Enough with the 14-day juice cleanses. If you want to lose a little weight quickly, eat less and exercise like crazy. If you want to lose a lot of weight slowly, do whatever Jennifer Hudson did.
- If you really like the person you’re hooking up with and would like them to be your boyfriend/ girlfriend, find a way to tell them, and hope for the best. If you don’t and wouldn’t, stop.
- Find a way to save approximately 300 dollars and spend it on a flight to see a friend or family member who lives far away.
- Please stop liking the Kardashians, all of them. It’s not helping anyone, least of all the Kardashians.
- Spend less than or equal to the money you earn each month.
- Wear clothes that fit you, especially to work.
- Call someone on the phone at least once a week, and speak to him or her for at least ten minutes.
- Start preparing now to get over the fact that Facebook is probably going to change again in six months. You’re not going to deactivate your account. You don’t know how.
- Wait 30 seconds before you look up a fact you can’t remember on your phone, and try to remember it using your brain. This is what the olden days were like.
- Replace one terrible reality show you’re currently watching with one wonderful scripted show currently available on television. Swap suggestion: Real Housewives of Anywhere for HBO’s Enlightened.
- Try that food you think you don’t like but have never actually tried, unless it’s brussels sprouts. They really don’t need any more attention.
- Cut one person out of your life who you truly do not like and add one person who you truly do. Note: not on Facebook, on Earth.
- If you’re still blacking out regularly, you should stop.
- Volunteer once over the next 90 days. You’ll feel really good about it, and probably end up volunteering again over the next 275.
- Tell someone who you love that you love them on a more regular basis. To their face, not in a text.
- Back up your entire online life onto an external hard drive, especially your photos.
- Crap or get off the pot. This applies to whatever thing you’re not doing that you should just sack up and do already.
- And in the eternal words of Tom Haverford, “TREAT YO SELF!”