Today, I’m 40 and 1/365 years old. I’ve made it through growing up not-so-rich in a single-parent household, a fairly hard undergrad program while working at least one job, worked my way up from the bottom, through a very hard MBA program while watching my wife be very sick, been rich, been broke, been in love and held my wife in my arms as she died. If you think about it, as I have been lately, a lot has happened in the last 40 years and 1 day.
Rather than talk about how I avoided the emotional significance of my birthday and all that crap over the weekend, I felt maybe I could share a few things I’ve learned over this time.
Swallowing too many pills at once (of any kind) gives you the runs.
Surprise kisses are the best.
It’s ok to fight. It’s not ok to say mean things.
Babies and small children can be happier than you can. And angrier.
Kennel training is good for both pet and pet lover.
Future plans are about as dependable as writing on the sand.
There’s no such thing as a small water leak… or pimple.
A random stranger’s unsolicited compliment counts more than Mom’s.
It can get worse. It can also get better.
The choice to smile is yours and yours alone.
You get 30,000 days on this Earth. Live deliberately.
Installing a fancy custom stereo in your car is just inviting trouble of some kind or another.
Do something every once in a while JUST because it makes you nervous.
Every couple of weeks change which hand you use your mouse with.
If you want to have fun, be fun.
Wild squirrels are not for petting.
Smiles are fun to pass out.
People don’t trust people who smile too much.
Do good deeds often. Tell no one.
Keep a journal in some way. You’ll be amazed at how valuable it will be as time passes.
No, it’s not too late to <fill in your dream here.>
“Call me if you need anything” doesn’t help anyone.
Don’t kiss and tell. Ever. (Even about your wife.) It’s no one else’s business.
Backup your important files. Right now.
Write a will. Your loved ones will thank you. Trust me.
Having at least three or four definite goals working concurrently keeps life interesting and satisfying.
Always have at least one friend you can call without embarrassment or guilt late at night to bring you gas on the wrong side of town. And be prepared to do the same for them. Well, ok, it’s kinda hard not to be embarrassed.
The richer you are, the prettier you are, the bigger you are, or the sadder you are, the more you should be nice to other people.
Tell people what you want. Leave the mindreading to the mystics.
No one wants to be in a relationship with a mystic.
Money doesn’t make you interesting.
Love thyself but don’t be timid about self-improvement. Laser hair removal, eye surgery and balding cures are cheap these days. (If anyone needs any *cough* male enhancement pills, let me know. I get offers every day in my email.)
Celebrate often. Like every day. Seriously.
Make a big deal out of cool stuff. Pretend the not-so-cool stuff didn’t even happen.
Don’t fret about decisions you won’t remember making next year (or next month or tomorrow.)
Check Snopes before you forward email.
Don’t let ego get in the way of having a good time.
Don’t give the dog unfettered access to the cat’s litter box.
Blondes may or may not have more fun but they do get more attention.
Don’t get cancer. It’s not near as much fun as it seems.
Pick goals that involve other people so you can encourage each other when the going gets tough.
You really can only wear jeans about 3 or 4 times before they need to be washed again.
Giving people you care about permission to be who they want to be (or already are) is the nicest gift you can give.
A lot more people don’t wash their hands after they pee than you’d think.
Just because someone is educated doesn’t mean they are smart. Likewise, just because someone isn’t educated doesn’t mean they are stupid.
People tend to be a lot nicer than I anticipate.
I’m sure there’re many more that I’ll think of as soon as I post this but it’s a good start. It made me smile to think about these things over the last few days. I hope it made you smile, too.