My friend Kevin Kelly turned 70 today. Here are 103 bits of wisdom he wishes he had known when he was young

Originally published at: My friend Kevin Kelly turned 70 today. Here are 103 bits of wisdom he wishes he had known when he was young | Boing Boing


Happy birthday, Kevin, from one of the millions who merely like you.


The biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I don’t need to write this down because I will remember it.”

Oh, that’s good. Very relevant for me. I’ll remember it!


Efficiency is highly overrated; Goofing off is highly underrated.

But…my efficiency is what allow me time to goof off!

The biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I don’t need to write this down because I will remember it.”

Ugh. So true. And don’t think it matters how amazing the idea is, how much it is resonating in your brain at the moment, or how detailed the idea is. It can/will be 100% gone, and never come back.

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looney tunes kiss GIF by Looney Tunes World of Mayhem

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• Take the stairs.

Especially these days! :grimacing: :mask:


• Aim to die broke. Give to your beneficiaries before you die; it’s more fun and useful. Spend it all. Your last check should go to the funeral home and it should bounce.

Ah, well. They’re only handling your remains…



“Efficiency is highly overrated; Goofing off is highly underrated. Regularly scheduled sabbaths, sabbaticals, vacations, breaks, aimless walks, and time off are essential for top performance of any kind. The best work ethic requires a good rest ethic.”
I could not agree more. Breakthroughs often occur when the conscious mind is occupied with a relaxing task. The unconscious mind does its best work when the rest of the body is otherwise occupied.


Some good stuff in there, but this one…
“To keep young kids behaving on a car road trip, have a bag of their favorite candy and throw a piece out the window each time they misbehave.”
How about replace that one with some variation of “Don’t litter”?

Also missing the most important thing I really wish someone had warned me about when I was young: as you get older, time passes more quickly. One year at age 30 is the equivalent of four months at age 20.


…or you can’t remember the second thing but you remembered the first…
that usually makes me fail to write a list… kar-ching

that’s quite poignant as we have a power price cap but the bill is climbing ever higher

You may mock it but it’s better than the alternative we came up with:
Every time you say “are we there yet” a kitten dies.
Time passes
Are we there yet?
Sad wailing miaow sound. We then discuss just how cute the fluffy kitten was (a ginger with socks!) and invent new, and absurd, ways to kill the kittens.

I guess it passed the time for us too.

Please don’t follow this one. The nice folks at the funeral home just helped us through a pretty fucking traumatic time (funerals in lockdown are really shit) but fortunately my parents, even though death was sudden and unplanned, had planned for that and the cheque for the funeral home was sorted. And the details.
If you love people, don’t leave them to clear up your mess when you die, if you can. It’s hard enough already.


I’m on a in-cubicle sabbatical right now!
(Well, goofing off in the archives. And we don’t have cubicles. But still.)



Season 5 GIF by The Simpsons

I wish Mr. Kelly many more!

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Yeah, a lot of these embody a very particular kind of experience of life, which I’m sure was honestly come by, but as “unsolicited advice” from a person touting their acquired wisdom it takes on a really hostile edge for people who have had different experiences.

To take just one example, “It’s thrilling to be extremely polite to rude strangers” is baffling until you remember that there are people for whom this is a choice in their lives.

Here’s my own contribution to the genre, with apologies for phrasing it as a microaggression, but that’s the style:

  • Be wise and humble enough not to make these lists.

Happy birthday to you Kevin !
Issue #1 of recomendo and CoolTools led me to the “KK” wonder…which led me to a much, much, higher level of curiosity.
Mark, you’ve been one of my favorite discoverer and treasure opener. Be thanked!


• If you loan someone $20 and you never see them again because they are avoiding paying you back, that makes it worth $20.

This one is hilarious because I’ve done exactly that! Many years ago, and it was exactly $20 too. The person was very annoying and I actually thought “that was worth it, $20 well spent”


This is exactly what he should have advised. That and making sure the funeral home is going to follow your wishes and not let the family change things after you die. :man_shrugging:


Yeah, but to be fair to the intention of Kevin Kelly above, I read the entire list and I found it mostly wonderful. So thanks for that Kevin.

In this specific bit of wisdom I think the key is that you are to give money to people when you are alive, if you have excess, rather than store it up. The one who dies with the most toys wins style. And he’s right. I think that his point was that the money should be given away to your heirs earlier maybe when it can do more good. He’s probably right. I don’t think I really live in the world of passing on an inheritance that isn’t mostly cultural.

Happy birthday, and many more healthy and happy ones to follow.