There ought to be more grants that go to people in their late twenties and early thirties. That's a crucial age, although it's very hard to judge who is worth supporting and who is not. Looking back on my own life, I see that was the period when I was closest to giving up as a novelist and when I most needed some encouragement.
My justification is that most people my age spend a lot of time thinking about what they're going to do for the next five or ten years. The time they spend thinking about their life, I just spend drinking.
At some point in every person's life, you will need an assisted medical device - whether it's your glasses, your contacts, or as you age and you have a hip replacement or a knee replacement or a pacemaker. The prosthetic generation is all around us.
At this point in my life - age 24 - I have chosen a fairly strange path that not many are walking. I am a professional spoken word poet who tours the world performing and teaching. I run an organization called Project VOICE dedicated to using this art form as an education and empowerment tool in schools and communities of all kinds.
One's age should be tranquil, as childhood should be playful. Hard work at either extremity of life seems out of place. At midday the sun may burn, and men labor under it: but the morning and evening should be alike calm and cheerful.
I didn't lead a very wise life, myself, but it was a full one and a grown-up one. You come of age very quickly through shipwreck and disaster.
The most audacious thing I could possibly state in this day and age is that life is worth living. It's worth being bashed against. It's worth getting scarred by. It's worth pouring yourself over every one of its coals.
You know, your first album is about really amazing things. Your first album is always about coming of age, first love, first loss, usually you suffer a first loss of someone that you love to death, even, you know, really big life lessons, things you learn from your parents' divorce or from the travels that you took.
If anyone thinks they'd rather be in a different part of history, they're probably not a very good student of history. Life sucked in the old days. People knew very little, and you were likely to die at a young age of some horrible disease. You'd probably have no teeth by now. It would be particularly awful if you were a woman.
I have led an unusual life. I have buried a father killed at age 50 and two brothers killed in the prime of their lives. I raised my children as a single mother when my husband was arrested and held for eight years without a conviction - a hostage to my political career.
At the age of 18, I made up my mind to never have another bad day in my life. I dove into a endless sea of gratitude from which I've never emerged.
There are three periods in life: youth, middle age and 'how well you look'.
I feel more grounded and more settled than I ever have. I don't know whether that is to do with my spirituality or whether I'm wiser about life, but as you age you become more selective about what you listen to, devote your time to and who you hang out with.
Don't allow old traditions to become permanent mental scripts for managing your life in the present. Reason: you will not be able to transform yourself to think differently and be better as you grow with age and maturity.
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