50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind

1.)  How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
If I, myself, happened to be stricken with amnesia, with no birth certificate, and had to take a guess?  Based on my position in life and the ages of my friends, I feel about early 30’s. I’ve always been pretty older in my mind. My lifestyle is that of a woman who is settled down and family oriented.

If I were to take a gander in the mirror without knowing anything about my life?  Early 20’s.  Nature has been kind to me in the respect of aging.

2.)  Which is worse, failing or never trying?
A person who never tried is a person who never lived.  I would prefer to fail thousands of times rather than never having the experience.  It is the experience that shapes ourselves and our lives.  Why even live?  You cannot expect to win if you do not take the chance of failure.

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?
Many people do things out of obligation, or because someone forced their hand. And other times, it’s because we have to earn an income. Those have been the reasons for me.

For every pleasure comes an equally painful experience. The yin and the yang. Life’s balance. That is the natural function.

4.)  When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
I will have spoken an incomprehensible number more words than I could put an action to.  I talk.  Big talk, little talk, tough talk, smooth talk – all of it.  I am not a house of cards in terms of words.  The words that slip from my tongue have just as much meaning as my actions.  Actually, maybe more so.

I am extremely careful about what I say, as there are certain things that could never possibly be unsaid.  Words can have different meanings to the recipient.  Therefore, there is a saying, “Choose your words wisely.”, not, “Choose your actions wisely.”  Actions are typically straightfoward and rarely can be misinterpreted.  Although I am mindful of my actions, I am probably careless in comparison.

5.)  What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
I want so much to be an active participant in mental health awareness.  I would like to join with others in the effort to erase the stigma attached to mental illness through education. Everyone needs to shed their own preconceptions and stereotypes.  If the whole world could see each person as a unique individual, then we would have greater understanding.

6.)  If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
A person does not become rich through their bank account.  People who think that are deprived of the true meaning of rich.  Rich has a duel meaning.  I am rich.  In spirit and in happiness.  I am a lucky woman to have struck gold so early in my life.

My job is a vocation, not just a career path.  I teach music to socioeconomically disadvantaged children living in a city neighborhood.  First, I am a vocal instructor.  Music, my passion.  Lady luck has smiled upon me to have put this opportunity right in my lap.  And best of all, I work with children who really need my guidance.  I culturally enrich their lives, while providing the nurturing and support that they need throughout the early course of their development.  For that, I am wealthiest woman alive.

7.)  Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
Mostly, I am participating in activities that I believe in.  In Question 6, I explained the immense joy of working with inner-city children.  These children are America’s future.  They deserve all of the opportunities afforded to children in other areas.  I help to provide that same education and opportunity.

I am involved with charity events.

My most recent endeavor has been my blogs.  I have sought out a voice for mental health awareness.  Chronicling my own experiences is my way of giving first hand account to a life with bipolar disorder.  Through that, I have sought to develop an online community for mental health bloggers, and feel as if I have gotten the ball rolling on future media attention to this issue.

8.)  If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
I would have made it a priority to make every single moment count.  Most people aspire to leave a great imprint of great accomplishment on this planet.  I am among them.

Fruitless efforts would have been discarded the moment I realized them to be so.  A top priority would have been to follow my passions and made more of myself.  I would have taken more chances, instead of erring on the side of caution.  If my life were that short, there wouldn’t be a moment to spare!  All of my life’s aspirations would have been reached for in double time.

9.)  To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
In my teens, many things were not my choice.  I had found myself participating in activities forcibly.  The most terrible aspect of that cruel practice is that I couldn’t manage my own life once I became an adult.

My hands remained off of the wheel for much of my early 20’s.  Too many friends and lovers were making decisions for me.  This is why I found myself in abusive situations involving drugs and alcohol.  I felt as if I were too incompetent to steer my own life.  Sometimes, I was so deluded that I wasn’t even aware that I had other choices.

It took some time to open my eyes to the situations that I let myself get dragged into.  It’s not as if I didn’t go willingly.  It also took the love and support of C.S. to allow me the room to have these realization.  He nurtured me back to reality, and gave me the room to grow.  I owe a lot to this man.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but those things are not regrettable. They got me to where I am today. They were exactly the things I wanted at the time. It isn’t likely that there was much that could have changed my mind.  Now, I’m exactly where I want to be.

10.)  Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
I have a strong moral compass, but a penchant to obsess over perfection. I am very concerned about doing things accurately. I want incredible results for my hard work.

Then, there’s the harder, less defined aspects that do not have a definitive right or wrong. Motherhood, marriage – do I do right by my family?  Am I doing everything I can to be the best person I can be?

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?
How close is the friend? If we’re very close, then I will cease respecting and admiring them. Anyone that behaves in such an inhumane manner doesn’t deserve my respect. I would defend him / her, and politely excuse myself. I would not hear it any longer. You can’t change people, but you can choose to be in their company.

12.)  If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would tell the child, “You are one of a kind. And don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Because you’re wonderful, just the way you are.”  That piece of advice applies to adults, as well.  The worst ailment anyone can suffer is lack of self-esteem.  If a person has to question their worth, chances are they are a diamond in the rough.

13.)  Would you break the law to save a loved one?
This is highly contingent upon the situation.  What kind of offense is it? If it was life and death, I would commit murder / assault to keep my family safe from harm. I would commit theft to see that my family has essentials for life.  I may consider prostitution if we were in some very dire straights.

If I am saving a loved one from prosecution, that’s a different thing entirely.  Did they actually commit the crime, and how heinous was it? Murder, rape, incest, and crimes against children, disabled, and the elderly are not cool. I can’t let those things slide.

14.)  Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
Oh, how couldn’t I?!  That’s like asking a person with bipolar disorder if they have ever experienced a mood swing!  For me, mood shifts and creativity are almost symbiotic beings.  In the worst of my states, I have crafted my best work.

15.)  What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I don’t tie my shoes. I have it set up so I don’t have to. I don’t brush my hair hardly at all anymore. It actually looks better that way. I spend way more time with my husband than most couples. My relationship with my husband is more than that. It’s a friendship. And I put pickles on every sandwich, except peanut butter.

I have a number of quirks.  In fact, I have them listed under The 99 Quirks of Lulu.

16.)  How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
First, and foremost, because everyone has a unique biochemistry.  Therefore, each person experiences sensory stimuli differently.  Different people have individualized experiences, so their brains record them differently.  Simply put, people are unique, their experiences are unique and personalized to them, therefore they will take different pleasures from different things.

For instance, I am particularly sensitive to auditory stimuli.  It stands to reason that I am an auditory learner.  Music is an auditory experience; it makes me happy.  Contrastingly, too much volume or auditory sensory stimulation makes me upset, whereas it may be soothing to another person.  That’s just one example.

Other things that are unique to me are as follows: writing is therapeutic and a method of communication to convey ideas.  Role-playing games create a sensation of happiness, because there is an emotional response to the story within and a craving for action.  TV shows are much the same.  Finally, keeping the sensory stimuli going to increase my cognitive activity to better my intellectual pursuits.

17.)  What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
If I set my mind on something, it’s going to happen one way or another. So, I can say that there really isn’t one thing I’ve been dying to do. There’s a whole lot of things that I would like to do, but there’s really no pressure.

The things I’d like to do? I’d like to have another child. Live in a bigger house. Finish my education through a Ph.D. Start a side business where I make money from my crafting and artistic hobbies. Learn the piano. Learn the guitar. See the Grand Canyon. Take a roadtrip down the East Coast. Learn Spanish. And probably a few other things.

18.)  Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
Aren’t we all? Not in the traditional sense. I’m not really holding it – it’s latched to me. I have a lot of anger, pain, and fear concerning events that have happened to me. I have let go, but it just doesn’t fly. Weights don’t fly. But, they do sink.

Instead, I have to think differently. I have to become stronger, but lighter. I have to learn to fly.

19.)  If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
Suppose the state of Pennsylvania is evicting me, because, other than a huge promotion (where a person does not typically have a say), I am not inclined to leave the greater Pittsburgh Area.

Hmm. I could be a smart-ass and say that I would move just across state lines in either Ohio or West Virginia. It’s only about a 45 minute drive. But, I don’t believe that’s what we’re going for.

I love the Eastern Seaboard. My favorite places are Ocean City, Maryland, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Morehead City, North Carolina, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Daytona Beach, Florida. I have the fondest memories of all of these beaches. I’d probably choose to live in Myrtle Beach, SC, because it’s right in the middle.  I could travel up and down the East Coast for the rest of my life.

20.)  Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
If I push the elevator button at all, no.  First, if I was in a serious rush and it’s less than four flights of stairs, I could likely make it down faster on foot.  Second, I am highly claustrophobic.  I would rather take the stairs.  However, if I’m forced to use the elevator, I typically press the button and stand back, as if something threatening were to emerge from those doors.

21.)  Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
When I was hardly an adult, a parishioner from my local congregation got into a terrible car accident that rendered him mentally retarded. I thought that to be the worst fate imaginable. Especially for anyone reasonably bright.

I’ve often joked that the creator didn’t give with both hands when I was brought into this world.  The only advantages I had was my incredible voice, in both volume and quality, and my intelligence.  If either of those were taken away from me, I would never cease mourning the loss.
Perhaps, if I had never been intelligent to begin with, I’d never know.

22.)  Why are you, you?
I adore this question.  It’s so vague!

First, we have to establish who I am in the first place.  Now, the concept of self is more philosophical than any other concept.  Who am I?  I don’t believe that I could tell a person that with any accuracy.  They’ve already built a certain concept of me, and any information that contradicts that would be immediately dismissed.  Honestly, I am not positive I could even answer that question with any accuracy.  I am rather partial to myself, therefore I could never give an objective answer that would be substantial in terms of subjective realities.

Does your brain hurt yet?  If not, continue!  Suppose we’re going off of my own subjective definition of self.  I am the sum of my own experiences and more.  I have lived in my own flesh and seen the world through many lenses.  My emotions color my world would give different meaning to an event if it could be experienced repeatedly.  I find myself experiencing life through proxies.  Stories of others, passenger seat witness type of experience.  I’m along for the ride, sometimes in my own car.

It’s a combination of biology, psychology, pharmacology that creates my own anthology that will never be complete.  That’s the kind of person I am.

23.)  Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
I would answer no, but not on the expected grounds.  I would not want to maintain a friendship with myself for a variety of reasons. Friends operate on a lower level than lovers in terms of chemistry, but the element is still present.  People that are too alike without enough contraversy get bored.  Why do you want someone like yourself?  They don’t challenge you, or put new ideas on the table.  It’s batting the same ball around, endlessly.  But, if they are of a volitile nature, then they would find themselves constantly at odds.

I see myself in both capacities.  The company would be a snooze and when a situation were to arise, it would be like detonating a nuclear device.  I would never know the right things to say to comfort someone like myself.  In fact, I’d be likely to make it worse.  And worst of all, I’d be most likely to abandon or neglect myself.  Not exactly intentionally, either.

My capacity for a mutual friendship is great.  I embody many of the traits that I would enjoy having in another being.  I am accepting, empathetic, open-minded, intellectual, and conversational.  But, I am by no means dependable.  I am always a person that will react in a crisis situation.  If my phone rings at three AM, I’m on it.  If the person is close enough, I will faithfully attend every birthday party, wedding, and baby shower.  But, it’s unlikely that I’ll be found in any New Years Eve parties at the bar.  And as for the more mundane, I’m even less likely to be found.  I have no need to arbitrarily hang out at a friend’s house on a Thursday night.

24.)  Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
The obvious choice is the latter.  Either way, in this scenario, a person is going to lose touch with that friend.  The friendship will never be the same.  But, in the instance that I fall out of communication with a friend in my immediate vicinity, I would feel worse.  You know that person is around, and yet, there’s some sort of disconnect.

In my own experience, this happens frequently.  With my single friends, I have no interest in “boy chasing”, going to the bar / club, or doing any of those single people things.  This is one of the major reasons I got married.  Because I don’t share of love of those activities, then my time with a friend is seriously minimized.  Without that quality time, two people grow apart.

I don’t have many friends that are married.  Those that are have their own families.  It is hard to find time to dedicate to a friendship when you are dedicated to your family.

25.)  What are you most grateful for?
I’m beginning to fail to see how these question will free my mind.

This is a no brainer.  However, because I want to keep the answers interesting, I will skip the whole Thanksgiving speech about how I’m so grateful for the blessings of my family, friends, and all of the material goods that make my life so fulfilling.  It’s been done to death, and we already know these things.

Blackberry smartphones have changed my life.  The internet has given me an opportunity to be myself through an anonymous outlet.  Children are always a blessing.  I really enjoy being a woman. Psychiatric medicine keeps me functional.  Garnier styling products keeps me looking good by taming my mane.  The Bill of Rights and the American Constitution guarantee certain freedoms for me.  Spell check.  Snow hats and boots.  Computers.  Technology in general.  Pleasant and competent health care professionals.  Contact lenses.

Eh, I could probably go on all day just by looking around my room.

26.)  Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.
Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
Has your greatest fear ever come true?
Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
If not now, then when?
If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

2 thoughts on “50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind

  1. 27.) If you were born on February 29th, a leapyear–when would you celebrate your birthday?–would you?–would you actually be as old as you should be?–or would you only be as old as how many February 29ths you’ve been alive for?

    • True, 27. I don’t broadcast, because I’ve always been subject to a lot of age discrimination.

      I feel bad for the people who are born on Feb. 29th. Biologically, they would be as old as everyone else in their birth year. Chronologically, no, they would be a quarter as old as everyone else in their birth year.

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