4 playful life hacks for 2018 you’ll love

curious life hacksLife hacks, 2018 style — a playful list unlike any you’ve likely seen. Let’s transform! This year, I will eat more greens. THIS YEAR, lettuce change. 😉

I’ll put the list of life hacks right here and then explain in detail down below. In order, the list ascends with increasing power to rob you of your routines and hack you of your habits. Number 4 will scotch your pines for real. Advanced level.

4 life hacks for 2018

  1. Walk differently
  2. Trash stuff dear to you
  3. Suddenly like something new
  4. Change your name for a day

For some of you, these hacks will and should pass you by. You are content with who you are, don’t see any need to change, and are probably a younger or an older reader. Most likely, you don’t make resolutions at the turn of the year. You are solid. You don’t need life hacks.

There’s another set of you out there, though. Those who HAVE made a New Year’s resolution. Or those who are, say, in your middle years, which some say are so bad you have to get Medieval to survive them (link HT: JB). Or you wish you could change a few things about yourself here and there. If habits, addictions, and personality traits feel heavy. If you feel discouragingly set in your ways and — for all the Americans out there, me included, lol — you want to consume or buy something to make yourself feel better. For all of these reasons, read on.

Call me Ed

What can I tell you about these life hacks? Well, before 2002, I hated country pop radio. Also, I used to drink lots of coffee. And, there is an entire group of work colleagues from my past who think my name is “Ed.” How did this come to pass? Well, I changed. I tried certain tricks, including the life hacks listed here. As a result, surprising things started happening in my life. At the moment, I am — unexpectedly — living in Costa Rica. Before that, I started a coffin company. Did NOT see that coming.

Basically, all this happened to me after I decided on a fundamental level that I’m not who I’m cracked up to be. That is, I’m not who I think I am. Sure, there are reasons I do what I do, but those reasons are mostly arbitrary. There’s nothing sacred, for example, about my love of coffee or my preference for indie rock. There’s no ordained reason not to love Chinese food instead of Greek food. Or to prefer saving over spending.

So I took action, and it felt good. Good to be out of ruts. Great to know other possibilities were not eternally closed off. Radical to ransack the fortress of my ego, throttle the greedy bastard within, and knock him for a spin. Yeah, I cracked his crown.

Hack and crack

And you can crack some crowns too. Hack and crack.

You’re not who you think you are. Yes, there may be a reasonable connection between the by-chance by-products of your time on this magnificent earth and your, um, essence. But it’s a connection you keep alive by assuming it. And you can cut that connection. No, I can’t prove it, but just try the hacks. I think your spirit — your soul or essence — will like it. All of these tricks put zest and yeast back in your dough. The lift feels great. The rise feels great. Feeling spontaneous feels great. And spontaneity, good people — that’s a death hack, right there. Some of us — many of us — we’re dying for change. Spontaneity helps you tick your bucket list and follow your dreams.

Here are the 4 playful life hacks in detail.

1. Walk differently

This hack is a theater trick. In theater, part of getting in character is to change your manner of moving. So change! Be a new character! For example, a simple new walking posture is to throw your shoulders back. See what happens to your mood and ‘tude. Your chiropractor will love you for this one! Or pick something benign, like curling your hands a certain idiosyncratic way while walking. The whole point is to pick something, anything, that’s not associated with “you.” Advanced practicum: Pick something that doesn’t show you in a good light, like a limp. Your rat-fink ego will hate you for this one, and all the better!

2. Trash stuff dear to you

Except for one word, you’ve heard this one before. Remember, tiny houses are in, McMansions are out. Many of us already know about downsizing and “living simple.”

But that one word — “dear.”

This hack is not the same as cutting the clutter — though that one works a different wonder. No, this hack is about WHAT you trash. You have to pick something you like and HATE TO LOSE. The wedding set of china. Your elementary school report cards. A poster in your bedroom. You know what it is for you. For me it was photos plus a dictionary in a foreign language that I felt defined me in my college years. I dumpstered them. Into the heap!

You can probably already guess this hack’s effect. It loosens the ties that bind “you.” By this hack, you don’t let anything define you, because you want to be able to change into something more fluid. Essentially undefinable. (Here, I’ll pause and say: don’t worry about “losing yourself” or any nonsense like that. Anything important you will always carry in the biggest, safest treasury — your heart.)

3. Suddenly like something new

Radio station. Lentils. Tea. Jean shorts. Whatever it may be, miss no chance to exclaim about it. “Hey, my favorite new song!” Or “Oolong is awesome!” Or “Wrangler’s are the best!” (Bonus points for switching all your jeans from Levi’s to Wranglers, or vice versa, whichever chaps your arse worse!)  Be sure to exercise the physical acts paired with the emotions of loving something. Slap the table. Smile. Raise your eyebrows and nod your head. Mmmmm-hmmm! Talk to yourself out loud about it. “Leather jackets look so hot on me.” Talk to others about it.

Someone you know is sure to notice. “I never pegged you for a Brazilian jazz guy, Frank!” Like, tsk-tsk. Be ready for this. Have your comeback practiced. With enthusiasm, something like, “Yeah, but this one song really opened my eyes!” Negative feedback or side-eye from friends and family only prove you’re on the right track — to fluidity. Often it is precisely THE EXPECTATION FAMILY AND FRIENDS HAVE that pegs you in stasis. It’s why cults remove you from them and forbid contact.

This hack will surprise you. It’s like that trick where, to get happy (when you’re not), you force a smile, and smile again, and soon you’re laughing about something. For me, I now really dig the lyrics and the melodies of pop country music. And that’s because I forced a fist pump and put on a whoop while listening to America’s Hot Country 101.5 FM.

4. Change your name for a day

There is nothing dearer to your lily-livered ego than your name. This here #4 maximum life-hacksimum will make you feel light as goose down in a gale. Here’s how, and it’s remarkably simple. Go someplace where nobody knows you, and YOU CAN BE ANYONE YOU WANT for a day. If you feel like getting Daniel Day-Lewis about it, you can work up a whole character ahead of time. Or wing it, like I did in pizzerias and cafes and parks. Your job is to engage people, start conversations, and be a different person with a different backstory. (For me, even those first two parts — basically talking to strangers — that’s totally NOT me!) This hack kicks the crap out of your self-assumptions.

And there you have it! A weird list, no?

So I recently read about a guy’s online moneymaking pitch, something about a third way for a man that answers the need for grime and drinking from a bull’s horn. Renaissance. I didn’t pay. But whatever he was selling, I think these hacks are way better. These life hacks are actually death hacks, or else I wouldn’t be writing about them on a coffin blog. The ultimate goal of each one: Be at play in the fields of the Lord. So to speak. Play. Play like a child. Best life hack ever, bringing back spontaneous play.

Playful life hacks: “Leggo my ego!”

You may have noticed a lot of talk about ego, and dashing it. That’s because I’m a “monks” guy. I’ve always liked the monks’ and mystics’ project: the change of heart or change of mind — the metanoia I love writing about — that is a monastic specialty. It’s what the whole way of life for nuns, monks, and mystics is set up to achieve. They are so intent on personal transformation they make an entire modus vivendi out of it. And some of us out here in the world at large, monks or no, are, as I said, dying for such change.

Well, these 4 life hacks can help. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

(BTW, I took some ideas for these life hacks from a book called Journey to Ixtlan, the chapter about erasing your personal identity. Author and possible charlatan Carlos Castaneda may have been up to shenanigans. But some of his tricks hold up.)

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