31 Things I’ve Learned in 31 Years

My birthday gift to, me?

  1. There is something to be grateful for in every day. Find it and your day is instantly better.
  2. By nature, I tend to enjoy pleasure to excess. It’s a way I’ve (poorly) dealt with life’s anxieties.
  3. Related to above — delayed gratification can be sweeter.
  4. I used to need to be right. Now I just want to be. Actually, I’m happier asking “what is right?”
  5. Better to be known than liked. Best to be known and loved. (Took me 25+ years for that one)
  6. My dad wasn’t a villain — he just didn’t want to be a parent.
  7. Faith and doubt are not mutually exclusive. Also, God is not a monster.
  8. Often the thing you think is the real issue is not the real issue.
  9. Suffering won’t kill you. Avoiding it might.
  10. Know your biases. Keep learning.
  11. Cook. Keep it simple.
  12. All of my relationships are better when I tell the truth.
  13. People feel close to me if they know I am listening to them. I feel close to them if I trust them enough to listen to me. The former is easier than the latter.
  14. Choices are more important than feelings because you can control them.
  15. Politics is a good thing if it’s meant to do good.
  16. Fear rarely tells the truth.
  17. America would look different if we worried more about being good citizens than competing for power.
  18. Much of the things people like about me I learned from my mother. Many of the newer things I respect about myself I’ve learned from my wife.
  19. I used to apologize to get out of trouble or keep peace(sometimes I still do). That’s manipulative. Now I try to find and own where I’m wrong.
  20. Two reasons you’re lonely: you’re unkind or dishonest.
  21. Certainty is the drug of the fearful.
  22. Lose the grudge.
  23. If you want something, ask for it.
  24. “What would my wife do?” Not pandering, this gives me a second mind when problem solving.
  25. As a culture, I think we stigmatize the elderly/getting older because we are afraid of dying.
  26. Keep your word.
  27. In your work, give people something that helps them. This is different from “help people”.
  28. Confront “it” on your terms or “it” will confront you on its terms.
  29. The older I get the more I admire folks who do good work, keep their head down, and honor their commitments. Let Bono and Edge compete, I’ll be Larry or Adam.
  30. Being a good dad more than makes up for not having one.
  31. I don’t have to have the last word.