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The Five More Commandments

It’s a big job, thinking about the “ought tos” of life. But that’s exactly what Rob asked of us F5ers last weekend:

The Ten Commandments are shaking at the knees for want of a zimmer frame. They’re punchy and in need of a spit and shine and I’ll stop mixing metaphors there; or similies? What Five, because friday ten doesn’t rhyme, new guidelines, who listens to commands, would you suggest the Western world should prop up it’s faltering morality with?

I’m not sure I’m up to this task at this point, with my banking minidisaster—I’m finding everything I write connected to it, in fact—but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

  1. Always carry a backup form of access to your bank account, or have backup money or access to it. I know, I know. I’m stupid for not knowing this already but I swear, I’ve learned my lesson. I would have done so, if I’d not had to leave so early on the 17th on a plane (the 17th is my regular payday, you see, but noon is the time and my sister marrying on the 19th made it hard for me to wait till then), and if only I’d been able to get a credit card. But I’ll find a way, before next trip.
  2. Never take stuff too, too seriously. I think for some people, despair is the worst sin. I am beginning to learn that it’s not such a crazy way of thinking, really. Freaking out, despairing, is not the right solution to a problem. It’s far better to think creatively and do your best unclouded by panic or worry. I once heard an old woman who was asked how she would change her past say something like she’d simply worry 70% less. Sounds like good advice for someone like me.
  3. Don’t be too trusting of machines. Okay, this is me thinking of my bank card again, but I also mean machines in the larger sense: systems, organizations of over 20 people, cities, corporations, networks. They’re not bad things, they’re just prone to errors, messups, problems, and the need of a lot of repair. Use them, benefit from them, help them to benefit others if you can, but don’t put so much trust in them that when they collapse, malfunction, or simply stop doing their job, you’re left high and dry. It’s better to avoid that situation altogether.
  4. Always try find a way to make the best of everything. If you temporarily have very little money, enjoy things that are cheap or free. If you’re single and want not to be, spend the time improving yourself and making yourself more enjoyable to yourself. So many things that are feeply enjoyable are outside of the whole consumer-experience anyway. Seeing the way houses look in a foreign city; playing with dogs; looking through a friend’s collection and reading comic books for the first time. Even writing your Friday Five post.

    Hell, when I was a student that’s basically how I lived; I read books as buying books was the cheapest entertainment available; I ran some RPG games and I began to work on a novel because I found writing fun and that my own creativity was free for my entertainment at all hours.

  5. Be thankful for what you’ve got, appreciate it and don’t just see the bad part of things. Sure, I lost my bank card in a foreign country. But I’m, staying with friends, I have a couple of hundred dollars, and as Lime pointed out I’m going back to Korea really soon—it’s relatively late in my trip that this happened. One of the things about every situation is that a somewhat worse situation is always imaginable. It’s important to remind yourself of that.

Okay, as predicted I stayed on-topic, about my lost bankcard. But ah well, I think all those rules make a lot of sense, from the personal-happiness side anyway. They’re not so much edicts from on high, though. I’ll have to think about edicts and see if I can come up with some but I think they’d mostly be the type that demand that people refrain from things like issuing edicts, so… it might be an ironic exercise.


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