25 Things I Know at 55 that I Didn’t Know at 25

This is a guest post written by Penny, a regular reader of our blog.  Inspired by a recent article my father wrote entitled “What I Know at 64 that I Didn’t Know at 24”, Penny decided to write a list of her own.  Here are 25 things she has learned over the last 30 years.

I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.
– Eartha Kitt

  1. Life Lessons at 55Competition against individuals is really competition against the teams that support them.
  2. People become brainwashed by the media in the most basic ways.  For instance, think about gender roles.
  3. Having good credit is crucial, because otherwise you will be bled to death by lenders when you need to borrow money.
  4. Medical doctors can be ill-informed, incompetent morons.  They are just people.
  5. I get better scientific research done when I sleep more, calm down, and think less about social “motivators” and more about having fun.
  6. Adults are just older children.
  7. A great deal of history is eventually proven to be inaccurate.
  8. Many self-proclaimed experts are not experts.
  9. Any quick-fix scheme for relationship and social utopia is a scam.  True happiness involves the long-term.
  10. Trusting your emotions can be dangerous.
  11. Life is not a video game, a play by Euripides, a short story, a TV episode or movie.  It’s what YOU make of it.
  12. Gilding the lily leads to insanity.
  13. I may never be a great chess player, but I love it, so I should never stop playing.
  14. Bad schooling is a root cause of adult social problems.  Misguided minds alter social reality.
  15. There are many times when popular science gets it wrong.
  16. If a book on physics doesn’t have more equations than text, throw it out!
  17. Common sense is baloney.  What you really need is uncommon sense, often the product of uncommon experiences, ideas, or interacting with uncommon intellect.
  18. Many inventions and discoveries are credited to the wrong people.  For example, Telsa didn’t invent the “Tesla`Coil”.
  19. Linux beats the sox off of Windows… and yes, Virginia–sometimes there really is a free lunch.
  20. Even if you can read it at 2000 wpm, you shouldn’t.  Your mind cannot effectively absorb information at that pace.
  21. Discrimination is pervasive, insidious and real.  Having an open mind and an open heart is vital to the progression of humanity.
  22. Beware of being seduced by overly “sensible” and “reasonable” sounding ideas or solutions.  All angles must be evaluated first.
  23. Logic and arithmetic do not commute before breakfast.
  24. Doomsday never comes.  Nor does absolute Utopia.
  25. I still haven’t a clue.

40 Practical Tricks for an Ordinary Rubber Band

Cool Tricks for the Rubber BandMy father always carries a couple rubber bands with him wherever he goes.  You can find them in his car, wrapped around pages in his planner, or simply hanging around his wrist.  Recently, I asked him why he always seems to have a rubber band at his disposal.  He said, “They’re damn practical, that’s why!”

This got me to thinking… What are some interesting, practical applications for the ordinary rubber band?  I got a few tips from my father, wandered around my house on a rubber band experimentation mission for an hour, and did a little research online.

Here’s the full bag of tricks:

  1. Keep Food Fresh – Simply wrap a rubber band around a bag of chips, salad, or baking flour to seal in the freshness.Rubber Band Lunch
  2. Act as a Reminder – Wrap a rubber band around a specific page in your planner (and also around the front cover to prevent bending) or around your wrist as a reminder to get something done.
  3. Rubber Padding – Wrap a couple rubber bands around a TV remote or ash tray to prevent it from sliding and scratching the table’s surface.
  4. Hold Various Objects Together – …like pencils or index cards.  This one is obvious.
  5. A Bookmark – Wrap a rubber band around the front cover and through the middle of the book to whatever page you finished on.  Next time you pick up the book the first page that isn’t rubber-banded will be the page you left off on.
  6. A Hair Tie – Perhaps you could make a ponytail.Rubber Band Hair Tie
  7. A Paper or Poster Scroll – Roll it up and put a rubber band around it.  It’s ready for storage.
  8. A Safety Strap for Eye Glasses – Break a rubber band in half and tie each end to the part of the glasses frame that sits over your ears.  You can secure the glasses to your face if you make the rubber band short enough.
  9. Finger Exercises – Bunch all your fingers together and place them through the center of a rubber band.  Spread your fingers out and let them contract.  Or, wrap a rubber band from your index finger to your pinky and move your index finger away from the other fingers.  Repeat this process for the other fingers.Rubber Band Finger Exercises
  10. A Handle Grip – Wrap several rubber bands around the end of a pole or stick to create a handy grip.
  11. Secure a Lid onto a Container – If you don’t want the contents to spill, put a rubber band around it.
  12. Quick Tagging – Are these batteries at the bottom of my bag charged or uncharged?  Tag your batteries with rubber bands so you never have to guess.  You can differentiate between various groups of objects by tagging each group with a certain color rubber band, or a specific number of visible rubber bands.
  13. Stress-Relieving Rubber Band Ball – If made soft enough, a rubber band ball can make for a perfect stress relieving squeeze toy.  It helps out when you’re in a fidgety mood.
  14. Mark the Level of Liquid Remaining in a Solid Color Container – Take a paint can for instance… before you pound the top back on, wrap a rubber band around the outside of the can at the same level as the paint remaining in the can.  Next time you need it you’ll know exactly how much you have left in a single glance.Stress Relieving Rubber Band Ball
  15. Slingshot / Catapult – Every kid’s favorite thing to do with a rubber band, but if you think hard enough, I bet there are some practical uses for making one of these.
  16. Simple Art – Take a pegboard and stretch different color rubber bands in various shapes until every peg has been used at least once.  Fun, creative and simple.
  17. Strap an Injured Finger – Use a rubber band to strap an injured finger to a firm stick or piece of cardboard until it can be properly casted.
  18. Melt and Use as an Adhesive – It’s not glue, but a melted rubber band does make a darn good adhesive.
  19. A Distraction – Pull the famous rubber band gun trick and shoot a rubber band across the room.  Try to hit something that makes a sound, or just catch your victim’s attention.  As soon as they look the other way, make your move.Rubber Band Tie Dye
  20. Tie-Dye – The style may have died in the seventies, but who really cares… a DIY tie-dye project can be a blast.  If you have kids, it’s a cheap, creative way to entertain.
  21. Prevent the Mixing Spoon from Sliding into the Bowl – Wrap a rubber band around the upper part of the spoon’s handle just above the point at which the spoon touches the rim of the bowl.  Now the spoon can’t slip and slide in.
  22. Insulate Electrical Current – Rubber bands can act as insulators for low wattage electrical current.  Wrap a rubber band around an exposed region of a wire (before the wire is live).
  23. Design Fancy Easter Eggs – Wrap several rubber bands in different directions around the eggs before dunking them in the Easter egg dye.  This will create interesting designs on the dyed eggs.
  24. A Pencil Eraser – Fold a rubber band in half a few times and use it to erase pencil markings.  It works surprisingly well.Rubber Band Easter Egg
  25. Keep those Files IN the Manila Folder – Manila folders are a great tool for filing papers until you accidently drop a one.  Since a manila folder is nothing more than a sleeve, the files will spill out everywhere.  A rubber band can fix that problem in jiffy.
  26. Kitty-proof or Puppy-proof Your Toilet Paper – Kitties and Puppies love to shred things.  Toilet paper is one of their top 10 favorites.  Wrap a rubber band around the roll of toilet paper to avoid the dangling temptation.
  27. Grip that Jar Lid – Place a thick rubber band around the rim of a jar lid and use it to grip the lid while you twist it off.
  28. Limit Soap Dispenser Output – Put a rubber band around the neck of pump-style soap dispensers to limit the amount of soap dispensed per pump.Rubber Band Soap Dispenser Limit
  29. A Car Visor Receipt Holder – Wrap a few rubber bands around your car’s driver-side sun visor.  Conveniently slip all your miscellaneous receipts, parking stubs, etc. under the rubber bands until you have time to sort them out.
  30. Keep Wires or Yarn Untangled – Wrap a rubber band around it before the mess gets out of control.
  31. Toddler-proof the Cabinets – Stretch a few rubber bands tightly between the left and right cabinet knobs to lock them in place.
  32. Rubber Band Motor – Create Kinetic energy with a rubber band.  I’ll let PBS explain this one: The Rubber Band Motor
  33. Draw a Straight Line – Stretch a rubber band out and trace that perfectly straight line.
  34. Paint Brush Wiper – Stretch a rubber band around an open paint can from top to bottom so it crosses over the opening just above the paint.  Wipe the excess paint off on the rubber band instead of getting the side of the can all messy.Break-in a Baseball Glove with a Rubber Band
  35. Break-in a Baseball Glove – A brand new baseball glove is stiff.  First, it must be broken-in to be an effective tool for catching balls.  Bend the leather, beat on it with a rubber mallet, apply shaving cream all over the glove, put a ball in it and wrap a rubber band around the whole glove.  Let it stand for awhile to mold the shape of the ball.  Repeat every few days as necessary.
  36. Keep a Sliced Apple Fresh – This one may seem bizarre, but I tried it and it works fairly well.  Slice and apple into wedges.  Then place all the wedges back together and wrap a clean rubber band around them so the apple looks whole again.  It will keep the apple wedges from browning about 50% longer than just tossing the wedges in a standard sandwich bag.
  37.  Cure an Overbite – When stretched between opposite ends of the upper and lower jaw over a period of time, the force of a rubber band can correct a minor overbite.  Orthodontists typically employ this method in conjunction with braces.Simple Rubber Band Wallet
  38. A Wallet Replacement – Is you wallet always bulging out of your pants pocket?  Get rid of it.  Instead, wrap your cash around your ID and credit card and then wrap a rubber band around the outside of the cash.
  39. Revive an Old Broom – Are the broom’s bristles a bit worn?  Tighten them up.  Wrap a thick rubber bands halfway up the broom’s bristles to hold them in place.
  40. Create Traction Between Two Flat Surfaces – Spread out several rubber bands between two flat surfaces to create traction between them.

Also, check out these best selling books for more handy lifehacks:

20 Things The Millionaire Next Door Does NOT Do

The Millionaire Next Door Does Not Do...The millionaire next door does a lot to get ahead, but you can be pretty sure the list excludes the following 20 points.

The millionaire next door does NOT:

  1. Pay for Lawn Service – You could save $150 a month, get some healthy exercise and maybe even a bit of a tan just by mowing your own yard.
  2. Go to a Hair Stylist – Even the cheapest barber shops charge men $15 – $20 for a haircut these days. If you’re a woman, it may cost well over $50 a visit. Dying your hair? You’re broke!
  3. Use Time as a Measurement for Success – The millionaire next door measures success based on output quality, the results. The amount of time spent on something means nothing if the results do not meet the expectations.
  4. Buy Brand New Cars – Why would anyone pay the full retail price worth half a year’s salary for the fastest depreciating assent on Earth? We are brainwashed!
  5. Carry a Monthly Credit Card Balance – Carrying a monthly credit card balance only makes sense if you enjoy poverty. Monthly interest payments can add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. Do not buy “stuff” right now that you cannot afford to pay for in cash right now!
  6. Eat Out on a Regular Basis – With the recent price increases in corn, wheat and dairy products, preparing your own food is already expensive enough. If you eat out you will pay triple the price. If done on a regular basis you will waste a few thousand dollars a year.
  7. Think He Knows It All – People who think they know it all stop learning and thus become unaware of new opportunities. Once you lose awareness, you lose.
  8. Socialize with People Who Waste Money – The people you socialize with influence your habits. It is impossible to save money if you constantly hang around people who blow it all.
  9. Desire Instant Gratification – You have to think long-term to attain long-term success. The millionaire next door desires long-term deferred compensation over instant gratification.
  10. Pay Retail for Name Brand Clothing – You can easily save hundreds of dollars a year on clothing purchases by waiting for sales or shopping at discount retailers like Marshalls. Better yet, avoid name brand clothing all together.
  11. Keep His Money in a Checking Account – If you want to increase your wealth you have to set your money up to make more money. Most checking accounts yield little to nothing in interest. Think long-term (5 years +). Invest in quality stocks, bonds and mutual funds, especially those with high yield dividends and interest. Or buy some land in an area with growth potential.
  12. Replace What is Not Broken – The millionaire next door fixes things. Fixing something is usually significantly cheaper than buying a brand new replacement, especially if you fix it yourself.
  13. Visit the Tanning Bed – $25 a month for skin cancer? Where do I sign up? If you want a tan, move to Florida. For those that live in Florida and still go to the tanning bed… WOW!
  14. Impulse Buy – Impulse buying wastes money and leads to a cluttered house full of “stuff” you don’t need or use. If you see something you like at the mall, walk away. Think on it for a day or two. If it still holds value in your mind, maybe it’s worth buying. Never buy something the first time you see it.
  15. Waste Time on Senseless Activities – They say time is money. In actuality, time is far more important than money. Time is your life. If you waste it, you will fail.
  16. Focus His Attention on Negative Obstacles – If you focus all your attention on negative obstacles, you will lose sight of the finish line. You can’t get there if you can’t see it.
  17. Bet The Farm – The millionaire next door takes evenly weighted, calculated risks on long term investments. If you go “all in”, you’re gambling, not investing.
  18. Fly First-class – Would you pay $400 to sit in a leather chair for a couple of hours? That’s exactly what you do when you fly first class. Huge waste of money!
  19. Rent – The millionaire next door has a long-term mindset. In the long-term, owning something is always more cost effective than renting it. The key is to purchase quality products for long-standing use.
  20. Earn Every Dollar He Makes at His Day Job – Two words: Passive Income. You can be sure the millionaire next door invests his money wisely. These investments create a solid passive income stream that grows over time. If your money isn’t making you more money, you’ll never be wealthy.

Check out these great books for more ‘Millionaire Next Door’ tips:

What I Know at 64 that I Didn’t Know at 24

This is a guest post written by my father, Drew.  He is a wise man.  I am honored by his decision to contribute to our blog.  In his own words, here are 10 life lessons he has learned over the last 40 years.Life Lessons at 64

  1. Key to a Happy Marriage: Listen to the story, then listen some more, then listen even more. Don’t try to offer brainy solutions. Occasionally state in a quiet, respectful tone the words, “Yes, Dear”.
  2. You are what you eat. Read about nutrition – certain foods agree with you, others don’t. Experiment with your own body chemistry. I try to avoid coffee and sugar.
  3. The French have an aphorism that you don’t appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore. In 40 years from now what is it that you will regret not having accomplished, appreciated or attempted?  Do it, appreciate it, attempt it NOW!
  4. The greatest “adventure” is the ability to INQUIRE, TO ASK QUESTIONS. Sometimes in the process of inquiry, the search is more significant than the answers.  Answers come from other people, from the universe of knowledge and history, and from the intuition and deep wisdom inside yourself.
  5. Physical exercise is important at any age to reduce stress and optimize well being. Include the full range of cardiovascular, muscle building and stretching –yoga. Join a health club with a swimming pool.  When you can’t get to the health club, take 30 minute brisk walks, breathe and be in the moment.
  6. Life gives and takes away. During difficult times, be committed to resolving problems, but also lighten up and ride the waves of impermanence. What is a monster problem today will be a forgotten thought in the future.
  7. Achievements are the result of preparation.
  8. Supporting, guiding, and making contributions to other people is one of life’s greatest rewards. In order to get, you have to give.
  9. Time is of the essence. You are born and you will die. Don’t waste the time in between. Use a time management system to control events, rather than have events controlling you.  Read Getting Things Done by David Allen.
  10. Shakespeare’s character Hamlet tells us that “nothing is good or bad as thinking makes it so”.   As a problem solver, or at any point to gain clarity with your own mind and emotional state, try this inquiry from the author Byron Katie: What is the “story” that is going on in my mind at this moment?  Is it true?  How do I know  that it is true?  What is the situation like with this story?  What would my life be like at this point without this story?

A Simple Living Guide to Buying “Stuff”

Simple Living Guide to Buy StuffI’m an advocate of simple living, clutter free environments and resource conservation.  I always choose quality of quantity, clean over complex, and sunlight over lamp light.  When I’m alone in my house during the day, I typically turn off all the lights, open up the blinds and blog or read in the glow of the natural light shining through the windows. 

In these moments of blissful relaxation all of the “stuff” I own means nothing.  Everything I need, I have.  This doesn’t mean the “stuff” I own is useless.  I’m just aware of its true level of importance in the grander scheme of my existence.  These moments act as my reminder. 

Buying “Stuff”

Of course, I do buy “stuff”.  And I don’t only buy things I need.  On occasion I will buy something, not because I need it, but because I want it.  Even for an advocate of simplicity, I don’t see any shame in buying “stuff” you like and want.  So long as you make sound decisions on your purchases and avoid impulse buying, there is nothing wrong with a little splurging.

“Stuff” Cannot Create Change

However, you should never buy “stuff” in an attempt to mold yourself or your lifestyle (unless it’s a book).  Likewise, you should never buy “stuff” to become accepted in any kind of social circle.  It is impossible to change or improve yourself by buying physical “stuff”.  Real change happens in the mind, the physical world simply follows suit.

My “Stuff”, a Reflection of Me

Although my house is fairly organized and not overcrowded, there is a noticeable amount of “stuff” on the walls, shelves, and countertops.  My office has bookcases with books stacked from floor to ceiling and miscellaneous sculptures and trinkets I’ve collected over the years.  My pool table room has several framed photographs and paintings on the walls and a few napkin holder sized bar signs on the counter tops.  A similar pattern can be seen throughout the rest of the house.

I certainly don’t need this “stuff” for survival.  I could live without it, and I’m mentally prepared to do so if necessary.  But these items are not impulse purchases from the local shopping mall.  Many of these items are a reflection of my past, such as items purchased during my travels, those representing my accomplishments, or photos from standout moments in my life.  They are the byproducts of great memories.  My memories do not rely on this “stuff”, but this stuff holds meaning because of these memories.

The “stuff’ in my house creates a sense of familiarity, and familiarity can be very relaxing.  My “stuff” is a reflection of me, where I’ve been, and what I’ve done with my life.  I never purchase “stuff” to feel a certain way.  I purchase “stuff” because I already DO feel a certain way.  Because of this, the items I own hold personal value, a value far greater than any monetary measurement.