I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
There are no soul mates. In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”)
WORKING TOO MUCH? No big city in this country works as hard—or at least as many hours per week on average—as San Francisco, where people log more than 44 hours at the office each week. People in Washington D.C. and Charlotte work the second longest work weeks, tied at 43.5 hours, followed by several cities in Texas.
Meanwhile, New York City, the city that supposedly never sleeps, ranks 12th on the list, at 42.5 hours per week. However, people living in the Big Apple spend more than 6 hours each week heading to and from work, nearly an hour more than that endured by dwellers of any other large city.
Cities Where People Work the Most (New York City Comptroller, WAPO)
BECOMING A LEADERS: Millennials are interested in becoming leaders — for different reasons. This ranged from 8% in Japan to 63% in India. Half of respondents from Central/Eastern Europe chose high future earnings as a reason to pursue leadership, while only 17% of Africans did. African Millennials seemed to care most about gaining opportunities to coach and mentor others (46%).
MANAGERS: in North America, Western Europe, and Africa, at least 40% of respondents said they wanted managers who “empower their employees.” Yet only about 12% of Millennials in Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East chose that quality, instead technical expertise is the top pick.
WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Millennials strive for work-life balance, but this tends to mean work-me balance, not work-family balance. The dominant definition was “enough leisure time for my private life” (57%). Nearly half of respondents in every region said they would give up a well-paid and prestigious job to gain better work-life balance. Central/Eastern Europe was the exception, as 42% said they would not.
HOW TO FALL IN LOVE IN AN EXPERIMENT: Given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone by creating interpersonal closeness. Saying things like, “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you,” makes certain positive qualities belonging to one person explicitly valuable to the other.
Love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him. Love doesn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each make the choice to be.
The decline of sideburns and the spectacular rise of clean-shave men (American Journal of Sociology)
DECLINE OF SIDEBURNS, BEARDS, & MUSTACHES: To analyze changing modes in men’s facial barbering” from 1842 to 1972, the pictorial news magazine “The Illustrated London News” that featured mostly prominent British gentlemen was used. The men in the photos featured beards, moustaches, sideburns, any combination of those, or were clean-shaven.
European Discoveries: Actual European discoveries – that is land unknown to humans before the Age of Exploration.
First discovery was by Portugal in 1418 with the greatest current population on discovered land.
Russia has the greatest total area discovered of 74,634 square km.
Islands and Ice, Mostly (Bill Rankin, 2013)
Fields of Commemoration: World War I (1914-1918) claimed over 10.5M lives. World War II (1939-1945) claimed 50M lives.
Following the end of the First World War, the poppy became a symbol of commemoration. It was among the first plants to spring to life on Europe’s devastated battlefields. Its color, reminiscent of bloodshed, and its resilient yet delicate nature evoke the human relationship to war.
POLICE OFFICER WITH NO GUNS? In Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, officers are unarmed when they are on patrol. Police are only equipped with firearms in special circumstances. Police officers there have saved lives — exactly because they were unable to shoot.
Most of Ireland’s officers are not even trained in using firearms. Ireland’s police officers would not even know how to use a gun if they were threatened. Only 20% to 25% of Irish police officers are qualified to use firearms.
A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 13, 2014. (Jeff Roberson/AP)
MORE REASONS TO GET MARRIED: Those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as others.
Women benefit more from being married to their best friend than men do, though women are less likely to regard their spouse as their best friend.
The benefits of marital friendship are most vivid during middle age, when people tend to experience a dip in life satisfaction, largely because career and family demands apply the most stress then.
Those who are married have much shallower dips – even in regions where marriage does not have an overall positive effect.