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Take Two Trips

A couple years ago, the NYT columnist David Brooks published a story called “The Greatest Life Hacks in the World (For Now).” It was mostly a tribute to Kevin Kelly’s famous life advice posts, but Brooks added one of his own, and I’ve thought of at least once a week since:

…over the last few years I have embraced, almost as a religious mantra, the idea that if you’re not sure you can carry it all, take two trips.

Take two trips. Nothing serious, but of all the “life advice” posts I’ve read, this is the one that’s changed my own life the most. Anyone else have something from an advice list that really made it into their brains/lives?

The closest thing to a life advice aphorism I’ve ever come up with is maybe too gross to write down. And it’s running-themed, so it could be too specific. But maybe if I share it here, I will exorcise it from my brain: Sometimes you’re so worried about pooping your pants that you don’t realize you’ve already pooped your pants.

Discussion  22 comments

Ross Bell

As someone with a physical disabilty I have been making two trips for many years. I first heard the adage in an interview with Larry David (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) who was asked for his best piece of advice. My favourite is “A place for everything, everything in its place”. My mom told me that.

Aaron CohenMOD

"Floss the teeth you want to keep." Well, OK, when you put it like that.

Jeremy Latour

The one that's stuck with me the most probably started as a joke, but that hasn't made it any less applicable for me. In one recording of the 2000 Year Old Man, Carl Reiner is (as usual) asking Mel Brooks to what he attributes his long life, to which he replies, "Never run for a bus, there'll always be another." I think about it every day. It's exhausting treating every moment like you're desperately trying to avoid missed opportunities, especially for something as simple as a bus ride.

Samantha Bloom

My husband was hit by a car while running to meet a bus. So true! Literally and figuratively.

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Barbara Quinn

You'll never wish you'd had more alcohol, nor will you ever feel terrible about having gone to bed early, last night.

Sarah Post

I’ve heard trying to carry everything in one trip described as the “lazy man’s load”… it has stuck with me for years.

Louise Hornor

That's what my mother always called it!

Caroline G.

Your comment apparently stuck with me— I thought "lazy man's load!" as I awkwardly hauled all four bags of groceries up three flights of stairs today.

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Kitty G

OHIO - Only Handle It Once

Samantha Bloom

This reminds me of one that my friends and I came up with in high school, pertaining originally to learning to play the game of pool, but then more broadly:

HIHO - Hit It Hard & hOpe!

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Bruce Bowden

A (maybe) related one: On long car trips, you don’t have to push on. Stop for that break at this opportunity, not the one further down the road. Call it quits while you still have time to go for a stroll before dinner in the evening. Not only will your trip be much more enjoyable, you might actually live to appreciate the next one.

Richard Heppner Jr.

“There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything." – The Hagakure

This understanding really does extend to everything!

Edith ZimmermanMOD


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Lisa S.

If it can be done in less than a minute, just do it now, don't put it off. I saw this in some organization article or other, but it's stuck with me over time.

Louise Hornor

Never leave a room empty handed. Grab one thing that needs to be put away somewhere along your path. Even if it doesn't make it all the way to its destination, it's been moved along and one step closer at least.

Daniel Copeland

For people like me that can't remember why they walked in here, this can provide a backup task so the trip wasn't wasted...

Louise Hornor

Daniel: yes! I hadn't thought about that aspect before, but you're right. Sometimes I have to walk back into the first room to "recollect" the thought of what I was doing, which gives me another chance to pick up something else. It it becomes an endless loop, at least the house is clean?

Mike F.

I really do appreciate the sentiment, but.... for someone who can't remember where he put the sunglasses (on top of his head), finally digs out a second pair and only upon looking in a mirror sees the first set propped up on his head, this sounds like disaster.
I see something sitting "here" forever, know I should probably put it "there" I pick it up, it never quite makes it to "there" and then....who knows where it ended up. 🤦‍♂️

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Paul D.

If you are a father of young kids, go to your local amusement park (the one the kids are always asking to go to on super hot or crowded days) on Father's Day. Skip the sleeping in or the golf or the hike or whatever you would really like to do, and enjoy a place the kids will love and you probably will to because it will be virtually empty (seriously you will be able to go on the rollercoaster five times in a ow without waiting). On top of that, you'll be a hero. I discovered this accidentally so was a little grumpy to have to go but wish I had learned it earlier in my fatherhood.

Louise Hornor


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Logan Sholar

I learned this one from a friend who literally, physically operates this way, I love it: “Slower is faster.”

I can’t remember where I learned this one, but it stuck hard, and I don’t know why: “There’s no place like the right time.”

Angela C Corral

Always use the bigger mixing bowl.

If you're trying to decide between two sizes, choose the bigger one. You'll never regret it!

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