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Advice and Observations

An ongoing effort

By Thomas DurbinPublished 3 years ago 4 min read

There is much more to be written. This is only the beginning.

Copyright Durbin 2014 All Rights Reserved

Observations About Life (this is a start) version 2014 JUL 10

Formulate a plan for a healthy life for you. Adapt when change is necessary.

The easiest mess to clean is the one never made.

Don't punish yourself too much. Accept constructive criticism. Set challenging, but realistic, goals. Don't listen to the haters, the bullies, and the negative types (and do not be like them).

You are not alone.

Share with your friends and family: feelings, fun, sadness, wants, dreams, goals, happiness, time. Be there for them and let them be there for you.

Exercise regularly and remain active. Mentally and physically.

When you are sick or stressed, take a break. Take care of yourself, body and mind.

Stand your ground.

Do something different occasionally. Break the routine and cross some boundaries.

Vote. Be an informed citizen. Read the U.S. Constitution. Minimal government is best if you want to be as close to being a free person as you can be. Help yourself and others.


Make your 'bucket list' and a plan to do those things.

Check all the pockets of all your articles of clothing before washing laundry.

You have all the temptations of the world before you. Everyone makes mistakes and if you need help, ask. Alcohol and other drugs aren't necessary.

Use protection, ear plugs, condoms, gloves, glasses, sun screen, moisturizer, etc. Your senses and your health are extremely important and age will take a toll. You can minimize that toll.

Do not text and drive. Do not mess with anything while driving.

Just Drive.

Responsibility. Take it when it's yours.

Do not play music loudly in the car or through headphones. You are damaging your ears and disturbing others.

Be aware of your impact on others and the world around you. Don’t be oblivious.

Cry. When you need to cry, it will happen. Dry your eyes and move along. Don't dwell there.


Get the education and training you need for the career field you choose.

If that doesn't work, re-educate and re-train.

If you spent more time this week playing (electronic) games and texting and on internet social sites than you did either at Work or at School or helping someone or improving yourself somehow, put the games away, turn the 'phone off, and get away from the computer. Read a book, visit friends, go for a hike, ride a bike, work more hours and save the money, do something "real" and you'll feel much better about yourself.

Read the Declaration of Independence. Declare yourself independent.

Pay the vehicle insurance every month. Have your vehicle serviced regularly. Pay attention to the inflation and wear of the tires and their alignment.

Essentially, take care of your investments.



Clean the house, the garage, your files (electronic and paper), and yourself regularly, but not too often.

Think about your appearance and be sure that's the image you want to project. Things like tattoos will last the rest of your life, think hard before you get them, I did.

Grow some plants in a garden, even a small window planter is enough.

Start retirement saving early, in your 20s, and learn about investing and compound interest earnings on savings.

Don't use credit, except maybe for a house or possibly a vehicle. It is much better to save and then buy than to ever pay interest. You get a lot more for your money paying forward (save then buy) instead of paying backward (loans).


Be honest. Always tell the truth. Even if it hurts. Lies will complicate your life, destroy your credibility, and one day haunt you.

Get through paying for your education and training and work on your 'bucket list' before starting a family (if you want to start a family). It is difficult to survive on your own in this world personally and financially.

Use your 20s as a time to learn the basics about yourself and the world. Never stop learning. Nothing stays the same, not you, not them, not government, not society, not industry, so be prepared to listen, learn, incorporate accurate information, and adapt. There is plenty of time for the 'raising a family' life in your 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Volunteer. Find something you enjoy and give to the community. Remember the opportunities provided for you and help the organizations you value provide that experience for the next generation. Scouting? Summer Softball? Relay for Life? Book Club? Science Club? Opportunities abound.

Do your best. Do what you can, when you can. That is all that you should expect of yourself and of others.


Best Wishes,

Thomas Durbin, P.E.,LEED AP

​ UIUC BSME 1989, MSME 1991


About the Creator

Thomas Durbin

Raised in rural east-central Illinois, I appreciate nature and the environment. I'm a father, grandfather, professional engineer-scientist, leader, scouts leader, coach, stoic, minimalist, costumer, historian, traveler, and writer.

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