A Slightly Improved Life

1 Exercise on a Monday night
(nothing fun happens on a Monday night).

I exercise six days/week. Are there six Mondays?

14 Buy a cheap blender and use it to finely chop onions
(it saves on time and tears).

Or just buy sweet onions.

17 Don’t be weird about how to stack the dishwasher.

Shut. Up.

What are we doing? Reviewing the Guardian’s 100 Ways to Slightly Improve Your Life Without Really Trying.

Most of the ways seem pretty straightforward, but appearances can be deceiving.

28 Always be willing to miss the next train.

Um, not good advice in most parts of Canada.

Some allow opportunities for silly word play.

38 Sleep with your phone in a different room
(and buy an alarm clock).

Um, I like to sleep without my phone
and in my bedroom.
Pretty sure sleeping with my phone
and in a different room
would not be an improvement.

Some don’t generalize well.

48 Buy secondhand.

Tried this with indifferent results
when buying disposable cups for the bathroom.

Some are time sensitive.

73 Thank a teacher who changed your life.

Oh, gosh, pretty sure they’re all dead now.

Some are too subtle for me.

85 Don’t get a pet/do get a pet.

Um . . .

Some can be acted upon almost immediately; some, not so much.

91 If in doubt, add cheese.
98 Make a friend from a different generation.

Some don’t account for my colouring.

100 For instant cheer, wear yellow.

Some might improve my life, but not the lives of those around me.

67 Sing!

But here’s the thing: Not every idea has to work for me. That’s a big relief.

Here’s the other thing: Details aside, it’s a great macro idea – looking for little, low-effort things to improve my life. I can, in fact, make my own list. And in that spirit . . .

101 Whenever possible, quibble.

After all, it might be annoying, but it’s better than singing.

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12 Responses to A Slightly Improved Life

  1. Marilyn Smith says:

    This was a fun read, Isabel! On the advice to “Sing!” and your subsequent comment about singing, and considering it’s Sunday, I thought I’d share this advice from John Wesley (1703-1791) (Anglican clergyman, evangelist, and founder, with his brother Charles, of the Methodist movement in the Church of England) on “Directions for Singing”. (Came across this yesterday and it is in the United Church of Canada’s ‘Voices United’, page 720, and elsewhere.)
    Directions for Singing. That this part of Divine Worship may be the more acceptable to God, as well as the more profitable to yourself and others, be careful to observe the following directions.
    I. Learn these Tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.
    II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.
    III. Sing All. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.
    IV. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.
    V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
    VI. Sing in Time: whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can. And take care you sing not too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
    VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your Heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve of here, and reward when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.
    A couple of interesting google hits led me to the London Singing Institute, which offered this encouraging note that “[f]or a 150 pound person, 1 hour of singing whilst standing up burns around 140 calories”.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marilyn – Delightful! We can edit the “sing” exhortation thusly: Sing! (It’s good exercise.)

  2. barbara carlson says:

    #102 — Read Isabel’s blog. “slightly improved life” — I’d say more than.. 😀

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Aw, shucks. 🙂 Many thanks. I’d say, “Engage with commenters” so I guess that’s fair.

  3. Tom Watson says:

    About: 17 Don’t be weird about how to stack the dishwasher.
    In every relationship, there’s one person who loads the dishwasher like a Swedish architect, and one who loads it like a raccoon on meth.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Hahaha. Where’s that “eyes wide open” emoji? I didn’t expect that, but I can’t argue with it.

  4. Jim Taylor says:

    Re #101, you just proved that you are indeed an editor — that’s what we do. A former colleague was wondering how to define her function as an editor. Her daughter said, “That’s easy, Mom. An editor is someone who never says ‘whatever’.”

  5. Mary Gibson says:

    Really liked this one and I agree (a) about any of we siblings singing so as to be heard. Every year I ask my children if they would like me to sing happy birthday to them, and every year they decline; and (b) about the advice. Seems like a very wise list of suggestions; I’ll have to go look it up. Does it include anything about doing for someone else?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Mary – It’s a good thing to have raised polite children. Talk about ways to improve a life! Although it’s hardly a small thing. As for “doing for others”, there are some: 30 – Be polite to rude strangers – it’s oddly thrilling (although this may not count); 45 – Text to say thank you; 54 – Always bring (they mean “take”) something to dinner parties; 56 – Call an old friend out of the blue; 63 – Volunteer. And so on.

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