40 @ 40

Today’s my 40th birthday. Wasn’t entirely sure I’d make it this far, to be honest, but it’s kinda cool that I did. For a few years I’ve been making lists of “lessons learned” on my birthday but never published them. This time, since it’s a big year, I figured what the hoo-ha. Here’s 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years on this floating space-rock. I’m actually thinking of writing a separate Thing on each one of these, so maybe stick around and see what poots out!

Anyways, here goes:

  1. There are a lot of people around you. Find the ones who Get You and ruthlessly hang on to them. They will keep you sane and centered.
  2. There are a lot of people around you. Find the ones that Bring You Down and ruthlessly cut them out of your life. This applies multiple times over if you suspect said person is a sociopath because that son of a bitch will destroy you given half the chance.
  3. Trust your instincts when meeting new people. Your gut reaction is rarely wrong.
  4. In the rare instances where your gut reaction is wrong do everything in your power to mend bridges.
  5. The eating of oatmeal is a necessity for both physical and spiritual well-being. Boiled on a stovetop and served with heavy cream and brown sugar. Never, under any circumstances, are you permitted “instant” microwaveable slop.
  6. Ride bikes for health and enjoyment.
  7. Life’s too short to spend 40+ hours a week doing something that doesn’t make you happy.
  8. Take time for yourself. Solitary silence in a loud world can be incredibly liberating.
  9. Maximise your own happiness, but don’t steamroll others in the process.
  10. That girl/guy you’ve been chasing who won’t give you the time of day? They don’t deserve you. Move on. Quickly.
  11. Listen to the music you like even if it’s not popular. Your own personal soundtrack is better than the radio ten times out of ten.
  12. Life’s too short to drink piss beer.
  13. Walking in the grass in your bare feet is one of life’s great, hidden pleasures.
  14. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that your hobbies are a waste of time.
  15. Don’t let your hobbies become your job. A person who does that becomes a person who has no hobbies.
  16. Have pets if possible. You’ll never find the level of unconditional love a pet gives you from another human ever. Related: be wary of anyone your dog doesn’t seem to like.
  17. Touch every boob you can.
  18. You may occasionally enjoy things that are unhealthy. Embrace it.
  19. Only boring people get bored. If someone tells you that [place/book/activity/thing] is “boring” consider the source.
  20. Faith and religion can be important to you, but don’t let an institution dictate how you choose to live that faith out (see “trust your instincts”). Forge your own path with the Eternal.
  21. Engage in light competitive activity (i.e. bowling) with friends on a regular basis. Don’t take it too seriously, though, you probably still want to remain friends afterwards.
  22. When sending a potentially inflammatory or angry message, get someone you trust to proof it for you. Emotions and intent are incredibly difficult to convey through text only, and if you think there’s a chance someone could misinterpret your intent they almost certainly will. Consider picking up the phone instead.
  23. Order the lamb.
  24. Don’t move the same week that you start a new job.
  25. Living in a country where you don’t speak the language can teach you more in a single day than an entire university degree.
  26. That degree you spent a ton of money on probably became worthless the second you took the graduation cap off. Sorry.
  27. You’re going to piss someone off at some point and they’ll let you know. Don’t sweat it. Either fix the situation or decide they’re not worth it.
  28. People close to you will die at some point during your life. This is inevitable and hurts like hell. There is nothing you can do to prepare for this and the pain never fully goes away. Such is life.
  29. Anyone who says chocolate isn’t good for you is lying.
  30. Reading fiction can teach you just as much as non-fiction.
  31. Coffee, red wine, and scotch are three of the greatest things to drink in the universe. Spend the extra money on the good stuff.
  32. When making a major purchase never buy the cheapest or the most expensive option. The best value almost invariably lies somewhere in the middle.
  33. Energy and resources invested in learning how to cook properly will repay themselves many many times over throughout your entire life.
  34. Spiders. They are evil and must be cleansed by holy fire. Burning your house down to get rid of a spider falls clearly in the “acceptable losses” category.
  35. Follow your heart. It’s looking out for your best interests.
  36. It’s ok to get angry at things. Anger can be cleansing and purifying. Just don’t let it consume you.
  37. Go camping every once in awhile. Nature is pretty awesome.
  38. You are infinitely stronger and more resilient than you think.
  39. Wear pants only when required by social appropriateness and not one second more.
  40. Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham contains the key to understanding all mysteries of the universe. Go back and read it if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and keep re-reading it over and over again until you do. It’s in there. Trust me.

Your pal,