Rules For Life

(above: Djoniba Dance Centre’s 2012 spring show; Senegalese Sabar w/ Marie Basse-Wiles)

I ran across this list of advice, Rules for Life, when I was living in NYC between 2011 and 2012. I remember being struck by this list. So much so that I created a little art project for myself: I wrote each rule on a piece of card stock of various colors and sizes, in different colored pastel pencils, using different styled fonts, and then taped each rule all over my bedroom walls so that I could always see them when I was at home. It was a daily reminder for how to live life that added some color to my otherwise depressing, smaller-than-a-jail-cell, bedroom in a cramped Harlem apartment.

Back then, only a few of the rules truly resonated with me, in more lighthearted and superficial respects. Over these last 6 to 7 years, however, those that initially resonated, settled more profoundly, and the others that maybe didn’t mean as much or only generated an abstract feeling, have become paramount. With 30 on the horizon, what better time to revisit this list?

Stop waiting for the “right’ time/place/situation

Get good at something

Make mistakes

Love is all there is

Remember people’s names

Get fit!

Make music


Don’t let fear be all consuming

Be mysterious

Think positive thoughts

Learn to focus on the present/Live in the moment

Do what you love


Make art

Take an adventure

Work on making good first impressions

Learn to control your mind and your emotions

Start your day right

Visualize daily

Try to reduce your attachment to possessions

Set aside a specific time to worry each day

Learn to use your eyes to their full potential

Help other

Be honest at all times

Learn to lucid dream


Keep a journal

Utilize ‘the burning method’

Keep your brain sharp


Learn a language

Develop an endless curiosity about the world

Memorize something everyday

Get in the sun

Meditate everyday for at least 20 minutes

Read: something inspirational right before bed and after waking

Come up with a life mantra

Figure out what your goals and dreams are

Develop a charismatic personality

Drink water

Learn to use and trust your subconscious intuition

Don’t take life so seriously


Develop the ability to forgive

Be the person that makes others feel special

Learn to be unaffected by the words of others

Finish what you start

Choose your friends wisely

Do the most difficult things early in the day