She's like a female Tucker Carlson. Born with a silver spoon up her ass and dedicating her life to telling poor people why it's their fault they're poor and trying to make sure nothing ever gets better for them. Now she thinks that her 45 years of privileged living have imbued her with a wisdom that she should share with the rest of us who may not have her gift for understanding how to live our lives.
After 45 Birthdays, Here Are '12 Rules for Life'by Megan McArdle
Forty-five is somehow a very definite year; there is no question that you are middle aged.
At 45 one takes stock. The building years of your life are over, and what you are now is pretty much what you are going to be. Soon it will be what you were.
Wait. It can't be both. If what you are now is what you will always be, then it isn't going to be what you were. Oh, unless you mean you'll be dead soon, but Christ, you're only 45. You could easily have another 40-50 years left in you.
You can no longer tell yourself that you might move to Lisbon, learn Portuguese, and take up the guitar. You cannot learn Portuguese at your age. You can’t remember new words anymore; you can’t even remember where you have left your keys.
Really? I mean, I may not have the wordly experience of a Megan McArdle, but I know a guy who went back to school and became an architect in his forties. (And his name is Mark, so his designs are technically "Markitechture." - Yeah, he didn't think it was very funny either.) Dennis farina didn't take up acting until he was in his 40's. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of 45-year-olds who could learn Portuguese. My friend Lisa was pushing 40 when she moved to Mexico and learned Spanish
Okay, anyway, let's see these rules.
1. Be kind.
Oh fer fuck sake. It took you 45 fucking years to figure that one out? That is the most obvious, cliche, banal rule that you could have. It's the basis of most of the world's religions. It's fucking obvious.
Also, when the hell have you ever been kind? The first time I heard of you was when you were making the argument that stopping poor people from burning to death just wasn't worth the money.
2. Politics is not the most important thing in the world.
Yes it fucking is!
Politics is the reason that we have mass shootings every few days in this country and nobody will do anything to stop it.
Politics is the reason why Canadians can go to the doctor when they're sick without worrying about going bankrupt but we fucking can't.
Politics is the reason that working people aren't making a living wage while executives get wealthier by the minute.
Politics is why same-sex couples weren't allowed to marry for most of our country's history but now they are.
Of course politics is the most important thing. The only people who think it isn't are the people who are already getting their way. You can bet your bottom dollar that if we'd had a few decades of lefty presidents and senates and congresses the Megan McArdles of the world would have a pretty goddamm good idea of the importance of politics.
Politics is not the most important thing in the world. It’s just the one people talk about the most. That’s because everyone shares the government; only you are married to your spouse, and can knowledgeably expound on their habit of mashing up soft-boiled egg and ketchup into a disgusting paste; this makes it hard to have much of a dialogue with your friends on the subject.
If my wife regularly feasted on tomato-egg sludge, I'd never stop talking about it. I would be stopping strangers on the street and asking them "please tell my wife that mashed up boiled eggs and ketchup is freaking gross." And then I'd say "see? I told you it's freakin gross." Like every freakin day.
3. Always order one extra dish at a restaurant, an unfamiliar one. You might like it, which would be splendid. If you don’t like it, all you lost was a couple of bucks. If you can’t afford to order that one extra dish, then the restaurant is too expensive for your budget and you should find a cheaper one.
Oh My GAWD!
Yeah, we all have extra money burning holes on our pockets to order additional unwanted entrees that will likely go to waste. And God forbid we treat ourselves to the occasional nice meal in a pricey restaurant if we can't afford to buy three dinners. We should just drag our peasant asses to the local burger stand and be happy we get any food at all.
And this is one of your "12 rules for life?" You only get twelve and you're going to use one of them on "get extra food?"
4.Give yourself permission to be bad. You know what you’re really good at? Things you’ve done many times before. Mastery is boredom. Unfortunately, we like feeling like masters; we hate feeling like idiots. So we keep ourselves bored in order to protect ourselves from feeling stupid. This is a bad trade. (Trust me, I wrote the book on this.)
Honestly, I'm not 100% sure what you're saying here. You get paid to write, do ya? But it seems like you're saying to try new activities. Like maybe learning a new language, or taking up a musical instrument, or something else that you just said it's already too late to do.
5. Go to the party even when you don’t want to. Nine times in 10, you’ll be bored and go home early. But the 10th time, you will have a worthy experience or meet an interesting person. That more than redeems those other wasted hours.
No. I went to a party once I didn't want to go to. I only knew one person there, the friend who invited me. The experience I had with the interesting person I met there was that interesting person asking me where I was from, then swinging a bottle at my head before being tackled by another party-goer.
If you like parties, great. Go to parties. Go to all the parties. Some of us don't enjoy parties. Don't presume to tell us we should go to something that we won't like just because someone like you finds people "interesting."
6. Save 25 percent of your income.
Oh for the love of. . . do you have any idea how many people live paycheck to paycheck? Saving 25 percent of your income is a luxury most people can only dream of being able to afford.Most people spend the bulk of their income on keeping a roof over their heads. Especially if you live in an expensive city like New York or DC.
No, don’t tell me how expensive your city is; I have spent basically my whole life in New York and Washington, DC. You can save if you want to;Okay. Fair enough.
Oh, by the way, this is how you described your time in New York:
During that time, I was uninsured. I have a bunch of chronic health conditions, for which I had to pay cash. I was living in my parents' spare room, which was a bit of luck. But I was very broke and VERY scared.— (((Megan McArdle))) (@asymmetricinfo) February 5, 2018
YOU WERE LIVING IN YOUR PARENTS' PLACE RENT FREE! And you were still "broke!" Although, somehow you had enough money to be able to pay your medical bills in cash. Most people have to pay rent. You have no idea what real life is like.
Eventually I had a fantastic bit of luck: I went to a blogger meetup and met a woman who worked for the Economist's website. I said "If you ever have a job opening, please let me know". Six months later, she did.— (((Megan McArdle))) (@asymmetricinfo) February 5, 2018
Yeah, see, that's the sort of thing that doesn't happen to normal people. This is an experience that only people born to affluent, well-connected parents ever have.
So, first of all, I do want to acknowledge my economic privilege. My parents worked hard as hell to give me a nice home and a GREAT education: private high school, an Ivy League college. Those are amazing assets in the labor market. I was indeed born on third base.— (((Megan McArdle))) (@asymmetricinfo) February 5, 2018
So, yeah, you're the perfect person to give us guidance on how normal people should live their lives.
That's only 6 of the 12 rules, but I just can't take any more of this shit.