My answers to “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”

Free your mindI’ve been wanting to answer this list of questions for a while and the start of a new year feels like the right time to do so. If you’ve answered these 50 questions on your blog in the past, please feel free to post a link in the comments section below. And if you’d like to answer the questions yourself, you can find the complete list at http://www.marcandangel.com/2009/07/13/50-questions-that-will-free-your-mind/.

1.How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
As I answer this question, I’m 41 but I think most people who don’t know me would think I’m in my upper 30s. I like to be 40 something actually so I don’t feel I have to lie about my age.

2.Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Never trying. Well, unless failing involves death. That would be a lot worse.

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 of fear, laziness, and procrastination. Mostly fear.

4.When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
Probably not. When I say something, I usually do it. I’m more of a doer than a talker.

5.What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
I wish everyone in this world would actually give a crap about our planet and take better care of it. Hopefully this would lead to more respect for other people’s lives too. What can I say, I’m an idealist.

6.If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
Anything creative. Writing, taking photos, drawing, painting, …

7.Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
At this stage of my life, I’m mostly doing what I believe in. I’ve never had a settling personality and try to do what I really want to do.

8.If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
Well, since I’m 41, I’d be dead by now and wouldn’t be able to answer this question. I can’t change the past and I hate looking back.

9.To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
I believe I’ve made most of the course of my life happen because of my actions. I believe I’m 90% in control of what happens to me. As for the remaining 10%, I’m still in control of how I react to it.

10.Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
Doing the right things. Perfection is great, but opting for good enough assures that more things will get done.

11.You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
Quickly switch the subject. Gossip bugs me.

12.If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
What Sting sang so simply in An Englishman in New York, “be yourself, no matter what they say.”

13.Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Absolutely.

14.Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
I have a very narrow definition of “insanity” so I don’t think it would be associated with creativity. But I see how some people can view some forms of art as so different from the norm, they just can’t understand it.

15.What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I eat ketchup with many foods, including all sorts of vegetables, pasta, rice, etc. I also eat Nutella by the spoonful. And I never put ice in my drinks. If you’re European, you understand me but this is a rarity in the US.

16.How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
What a boring world we’d live in if the same things made everyone happy.

17.What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
Write a few books I already have subjects picked out for. Making time for it is my biggest struggle. There are so many things on my wish-to-do list, I just can’t get to them all.

18.Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
Probably not, since I’m the opposite of a hoarder. I get rid of stuff all the time, mentally and physically.

19.If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
The U.S. North East, close to Boston, or closeto Washington D.C. because I just love these two areas. But I hate the snow and the mosquitoes, so I would need a lot of convincing to move back East.

20.Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
Of course!!! Doesn’t it?

21.Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
I’m a worry worm. Does that make me a genius?

22.Why are you, you?
Because there’s only one me (I don’t think I have a twin). I’ve gone through my own life experiences, and it makes me who I am (good, bad and ugly).

23.Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
I try. Most of the time.

24.Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
Losing touch with a friend who lives close by. It can make for awkward moments during unexpected encounters.

25.What are you most grateful for?
My beautiful boys.

26.Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
Lose the old ones since I don’t look back and live in the past. I have very few old memories anyway, so it wouldn’t be a great loss.

27.Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
No. I always challenge everything I see and hear. Well, almost everything. But know it can drive other people nuts.

28.Has your greatest fear ever come true?
Since my greatest fear is dying, I’ll answer no.

29.Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
Actually it does. Every action has a reaction and its consequences and can affect relationships positively or negatively.

30.What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
This has to be the toughest question for me to answer on this list. I actually have very few childhood memories and I can’t think of any I would qualify as the “happiest.” Even though I’ve been thinking about my answer for a week now. Sad but true.

31.At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
When I gave birth to each of my boys, and then breastfed them for the first year of their lives. My body gave life to two human beings. How cool is that?

32.If not now, then when?
I’ll let Mark Twain answer this one: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow just as well.” Funny guy.

33.If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
I have nothing to lose, except sleep to do everything I want to accomplish every day. Did I say I was tired?

34.Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
Yes, but it’s been very rare.

35.Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
Because religions are used to exerce power and control over people. We don’t want to learn from history, especially when power is involved.

36.Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
No. It’s all relative, and there’s a lot of grey in between.

37.If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
Come on, not for a million dollars, especially when half of it goes to taxes! $10 million, maybe. $100 million, absolutely! Maybe I should start buying lottery tickets to find out.

38.Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
I really enjoy my work so I can’t complain. But I could use more free time.

39.Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
Every day is different and I never know how things will go. Quoting Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” It’s OK, I like chocolate and I do eat some every day.

40.When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
Often, actually. I like trying out my ideas, even if they fail. How else would I be able to find out for sure?

41.If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
My boys.

42.Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
Now, this question implies I’m not extremely attractive or famous, how rude. OK, let me think this through. If I’m going to live a long time, I probably won’t be very attractive by the end, so I’m not sure how much attractiveness I’d really be buying myself. As for fame, it’s never been a turn-on. So I choose to live long, live well.

43.What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Two words: carpe diem.

44.When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
Every time. Just do it.

45.If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
Because schools, our parents and society in general has made us doubtful and fearful.

46.What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
I’d take more photos, draw and paint more and would actually put the results for sale. And hope some people would buy them.

47.When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
Every day, at least for a few seconds. But I wish it was for a few minutes.

48.What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
I love my creative side but it’s been choking inside me for too long. I need to make the time in my everyday life to let it out.

49.In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
If it’s something worth remembering, I’ll remember it. Otherwise I don’t have room for it in my memory. If it involves something fun with my kids, I’ll have plenty of room for that.

50.Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
It’s been a very long time since I’ve let someone make a decision for me, at least for something important. I don’t expect other people to decide my fate and I don’t let them.

Feel free to answer some of the questions for yourself below or link to your blog post if you already have answered them.

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6 responses to “My answers to “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”

  1. How very revealing….

  2. Nice job with these questions. Your philosophy of life and mine overlap in many ways.

    These are good questions to contemplate, but I wonder . . . does your mind feel “freer” as a result of answering them?

    All of them seem to be things I’ve pondered at one time or another in some shape or form. I’m not sure that answering them would “liberate” me (but maybe that’s because I’ve already decided that I’m FREE to be ME.)

    • It was worth taking the time to think about these questions and answer them but I didn’t find a freeing aspect to them. I think I would have had a very different experience if I had answered the same questions in my early 20s. They may even have provided food for thought. But overall I’ve always been a hard to influence person so I often feel free to decide on my own. I’m sure many people could benefit from this exercise though.

  3. Some quite interesting questions. And very interesting answers.

    It’s clear from your answers that you have a very strong sense of yourself. I like that.

    • Thank you for your honest feedback. I really believe a strong sense of self helps you go through life’s challenges but it also bugs a lot of people who try to influence you. My five year old is a lot like me in that aspect and he drives me nuts when he’s so free spirited he refuses to do what I ask him to do, just for the principle! It’s a tough skill to balance…

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