The Owner’s Manual for Humans

I heard a comment recently about how nice it would be if humans came with an owner’s manual. We are born as helpless little things and yet come without instructions. We spend our entire lives trying to figure out how to care for ourselves and others, how to manage our physical bodies, how to optimize our operating system. If we are lucky, over the years we start to figure some things out. How cool would it be if we actually created an owner’s manual for ourselves as we learned more about how we work?

Of course some people already do this. They are called journals. Or blogs. Or autobiographies. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that grand in scope. What if you just imagined that you were going to be left in the care of aliens and they needed instructions on how to care for you properly? What would one or two pages of instruction look like for YOU?

Here is what mine would look like:

Food: Please feed me a variety of meats and plant matter lightly cooked with fat and salt. Give me water to drink and hot coffee in the morning. Warning: any foods that are made in a factory, contain sugar, or have grains in them are likely to prevent me from performing optimally. Feed me twice a day, at roughly 11 and 5. Once in awhile, I should eat fat, meat, and greens only for 1-4 weeks and go without anything but water for 3-5 days. Once in awhile I should also have a 3-5 day binge on fruit or sugar. And once in awhile I will require a grilled cheese sandwich, a brownie, and a glass or orange juice.

Rest and Energy: I need 8-9 hours of sleep per night, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. If you require me to interact with strangers or perform novel tasks, I will need additional rest during the day, from 20-60 minutes. I will need a blanket and a pillow but can sleep on the floor or a mattress. I will perform optimally if I am allowed ample time outside in the sunshine and given time to meditate. I also need a 60 minute session of exercise most days in order to maintain my health and vigor. If this is done outside, you can kill two birds with one stone. I prefer yoga, running, and weights.

Socialization and Fulfillment: I need to be able to talk to others and have close relationships in order to work properly. But I also need to be able to separate and spend time alone when needed, so don’t put me in a room with a bunch of other humans all the time. Make sure I have jobs to do so I feel like I’m needed. Optimally, they will be meaningful to me and challenging (but not too hard). Give me lots of books to read and a notebook to write in. Tell me I am doing a good job once in awhile. Act happy to see me. A bathtub would be great. Or a sauna.

Other: I do not respond well to noisy environments. I need a pleasant living space that’s not cluttered. Let me wander around and travel and see all the stuff. I wouldn’t mind a pet cat if it’s nice and not needy. I’ll need some music but not all the time.

Pretty simple. I suppose if the aliens were going to keep me for a long time I might have to be more specific, but I think I could do pretty well with the above instructions, and they are less than a page long!