- I've studied art and found out that I am capable (obviously not impeccably - if there is such thing as "impeccable" in arts these days) to think visually and make my hands produce stuff other than writing.
- I have, consequently, learned to appreciate the work of artists in a way I have never, ever really done. Once you put yourself in the artists' shoes, you realise the extension of their geniuses. Museums and galleries' trips have never been more captivating.
- I've nervously toyed with the idea of plastic surgery, nurturing and subsequently sending to hibernation a slimmer and prettier image of myself.
- I have, as Richard Dawkins puts it, come out of the closet as an atheist, to the horror of my weirdly spiritual but not religious family.
- I've cut relations with all the people that made me feel bad about myself, thus reducing even more my already reduced social circle. Not that these people noticed my absence anyway.
- I have indulged in my on-off relationship with music, and decided to not let it define the person I am. Music can be the answer to all your problems one day, and the most annoying form of art the next. Who the f*** invented nu-rave, anyway?
- I have postponed indefinitely the pursuit of a journalistic career. Apart from the reading and writing, there isn't any aspect of this profession that appeals to the person I am. I am not extroverted or nosy, I have immense difficulty to verbalize my ideas in a coherent way, I'm anxious, insecure, with a self-esteem more unstable than the Brazilian economy, and I definitely, definitely HATE to shoot questions to people who have no wish or intention of answering them. Going out there chasing stories that are of no particular interest to me is one of my ideas of hell. And living in hell for a salary that can barely feed my cats is like ... fishing in the Dead Sea? You know what I mean.
- As a consequence of the previous decision, I have inevitably come across people from all sections of society asking me the legendary question: "So what the hell are you going to do with your life?" Variations are: "So what is your plan for the future?", followed by "Are you going to throw away all you've done so far?" If there is a thing all parents should teach their children, taking a leaf from the French book of habits, is to not ask these kind of questions to people. It's rude, period. People are never genuinely interested in your future achievements. All they really want to know is what are the chances of you screwing up badly, so they can continue to indulge in their judgmental tradition, thinking "thank god, at least someone is worse off than me." So, whenever this question pops out, I simply say "well, I don't know. What about you?"
- I've started to hear the tic-tac of my biological clock. Loudly.
- I've slapped myself in the face and hired a personal trainer, gave up (at least temporarily) alcohol, and started eating and sleeping better. Without any false modesty, I can't remember the last time I've felt this energetic and fit. Oh, yes, I do. That was 1998.
(to be continued...)
PS: By the way: "thank god, at least someone is worse off than I am"