One of Alan Watts’ best questions was, “What would you do, if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?”
The point is that you shouldn’t defer that until later – you should do whatever version of it you can do now.
I would advocate for the acceleration of commercial human spaceflight, because I believe that that would help to expand humanity’s imagination. I would also advocate for research in psychadelics, for the same reason. I would advocate for the adoption of electric cars and solar technology. A lot of people are doing those things already, so I’d need to figure out how my contribution could make a positive difference. I suppose a part of it would be talking about it with my peer groups.
I would expand my blog into something similar to WaitButWhy – but of course there’s no sense in doing something that somebody else is already doing, so I’d have to identify what the gaps are and fill in those.
I would do what I can to help Singapore have a more informed citizenry, because I believe that Singapore is a pretty cool place that has a lot of potential to be a great city of the world. It would be nice to grow old and see that Singapore is even greater than it was when I was born in it. I would make it a point to examine things like CPF, National Service and help ordinary people better grasp what our assumptions are, and our revealed beliefs/preferences. I would build stronger relationships with the people who I know are doing good work in this space. I would do this on my /sg/ blog.
I would share what I’ve learned about doing marketing for a startup, because I believe that marketing is an important business function, and that we could all be doing it a little better. The better we get at marketing, in a way that’s sane, sensible and ethical, the more we can accelerate the progress of technology. I would do this on my /marketing/ blog.
I would write a lot of reviews, to make sense of my favorite works of art – movies, TV shows, music, everything. I would revisit my recommendations and make them more valuable to people, so that I could share them with people I’m talking to.
I would re-examine conversations that I’ve had with old friends, look for old promises I made and fulfill them.
I would spend time listening to new music, making new playlists that suited my mood.
I would meditate regularly, clearing my mind. I would make it more of a proper practice, perhaps with music and incense. I would try sticking with it for 30 days or longer, and see how that affects me.
I would lift heavy weights regularly and get stronger than I’ve ever been before. I would run regularly, for enjoyment.
I would take better care of my body. I’d treat myself more, to massages and footrubs and other indulgences.
I would learn to draw, because I think it’s very important to be able to communicate thoughts and ideas visually. I would relearn how to hold a pen (I think my grip is overly tight.)
I would do proper sleep experiments and catalog my experiences. I would do experiments with caffeine, and nutrition. I would take more time to properly learn about hormones and the endocrine system, which I still don’t understand very well.
I would host dinner parties regularly, at least once every month. I would set aside more time to meet old friends and new ones, every single week.
I would learn to dance, because I think expressing yourself with your body is something that we should all know how to do to some extent.
I would make progress as a musician, and maybe consider getting lessons.
I would learn to cook. (I’ve been doing this!) I’d learn to cook chicken and eggs and fish and steak and pasta. I want to get to the point where I can walk around a supermarket and get ideas and start throwing things together. Learning to cook has helped me develop a more intimate relationship with my food and I enjoy that.
I would set aside time in advance to watch all the great classic movies and TV shows that I haven’t watched yet. It took me years to get around to watching Breaking Bad, and I find myself wishing I watched it earlier.
Also see Paul Graham’s thoughts on How to Do What You Love.