40 days of being 40

On April 28, 2015, Denver Hutt wrote a post called “28 days of being 28.” The post was a very creative and “Denver” way of reflecting back on her life.

On Sunday, January 17, Denver lost her fight with cancer. And she fought. She fought with everything she had. She lived a great life but one that was cut far too short. The outpouring of emotion and support from the Indianapolis community and abroad shows how loved and respected she was and is. Simply put, the world was a better place with Denver Hutt in it.

In memory of Denver, I pulled together 40 thoughts of wisdom on my 40th day of being 40.

Denver, this is for you.

  1. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Yes, I’m talking about you — the seat recliners on airplanes.
  2. Always introduce yourself. Assuming people know who you are is arrogant.
  3. You can’t teach height.
  4. Learn how to drink coffee black. Your life will be simpler.
  5. There are two kinds of people in this word: those who love Skyline Chili and everybody else. I’m the former.
  6. Autographs are just someone else putting their name on your stuff. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
  7. Visit your hometown. The place you grew up. Everything will seem smaller but being there will make your heart bigger.
  8. At some point in our professional life, work for a nonprofit. It will be some of the best experience you’ll ever have.
  9. Shake the hand of your childhood hero. Or hug if you’re a hugger.
  10. People should hug more.
  11. If you have kids, you know they frustrate the hell out of you. And you it’s in these moments that you see yourself in them. And you can’t do anything about it. Genetics are a bitch.
  12. Don’t drink cheap gin. Drink the good stuff. It’s worth it.
  13. Be friends with your siblings. It’s likely they know you better than anyone. Or better than even you know yourself.
  14. I do not regret watching MTV for hours just to hopefully catch Thriller. Future generations won’t get it.
  15. Generally speaking, I’m against a “fast pass” at amusement parks. Standing in line builds character. That’s what I tell myself.
  16. I learned that Disney characters are taught to never rush a child. They never break a hug. They wait for the kids to do that. That’s great device for parents. Childhood is too quick.
  17. Your small personal item goes under the seat in front of you — NOT IN THE OVERHEAD.
  18. And your carry-on goes in the overhead above your seat — NOT 8 ROWS EARLIER.
  19. If a waiter asks if you’d like to hear the specials, say “yes.” They’re special. Hear them out.
  20. At age 8, I watched Night of the Living Dead. It scared the bejesus out of me. Since that night, I’ve been preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
  21. You used to have to call a phone number to get the time and temperature. Information that we take for granted now really didn’t matter. People just lived. I’m somewhat jealous.
  22. I was excited to wear a sweater for my first grade picture that my dad wore in his. My son did the same. And in a few decades, his child will. Hat tip to family traditions.
  23. Make sure you have one or two “bury a body” friends. Life can get messy.
  24. Be a good tipper. And if you think you might need to tip, that’s a good sign you should.
  25. It’s okay to be bored. It’s a chance to take a deep breath and think about nothing for a change.
  26. Always split aces and 8s. Always double down on 11. Always.
  27. I’m an admitted hotel snob. I think it’s worth paying a few extra bucks for a nicer room and better service. Life is too short.
  28. If you’re lucky enough to sit in a suite for an event, don’t act like you do this all the time. We know you probably got the tickets for free at the last minute. It “didn’t just happen.”
  29. One day I’d like to learn to play the harmonica. Not because it’s cool but because I think it would be fun.
  30. No one “rocks” a bow tie (unless it’s a tuxedo). You wear it. And if you wear it because you like it, great. If you wear it because you think it makes you stand out, you’re right. Not In a good way.
  31. Buy a tuxedo. The investment will pay off.
  32. If you share pictures of your first class boarding passes, you should also share pics of that time you sat in 29B.
  33. At a young age, one of my jobs was to hold doors for people. I still do it. And so do my kids. If someone holds a door for you, say thanks.
  34. The Beast at Kings Island is the best. It sounds and smells like summer.
  35. People ask me about my devotion to Duran Duran. It’s who I am and (almost) nothing will change it.
  36. You’re never as cool as you think you are. The first album I ever bought was Weird Al Yankovic’s “In 3-D.” The first concert I ever went to was the Oak Ridge Boys.
  37. “Eclectic” is a word people use to describe their music tastes to try to make them sound interesting. You know what is interesting? When you can answer the question, “What music do you like to listen to?”
  38. People say “live life with no regrets.” That’s impossible. Life is full of regret. Learn from them.
  39. I didn’t realize how amazing of a man my dad was until after he died at the young age of 47. That’s regret.
  40. And the last one. Life is too short. I regret not asking Denver how she was doing. Not that I would have necessarily heard the real truth, but at least I would have asked. A friend is gone and I didn’t say good bye. That’s regret.

Denver, the joy was all on our end. Good bye friend.