50 Things I Learned on the Way to 40

I just remembered this advice article I wrote on the eve(ish) of my 40th birthday, so I grabbed Mr. Peabody and hopped into the Internet Wayback Machine to dig it up. We accidentally overshot and ended up hanging out in the Roman Empire for a while, but hey – what fun!

Lists are all the rage on the Interwebs right now, so I decided to compile a smattering of things I’ve learned in the last 40 years and then rub my listicle all over you for my birthday. Some of these are hard-learned lessons still reeking of my shame stink, some are advice or things I learned by watching others, some are things I’m still struggling to live by. I’ll let you decide which is which – here’s 40 years of learnin’ in no particular order.

PS – I’m not responsible for the consequences if you fortune cookie the list by adding “…in bed.”

Fortune Cookie Pacman
  1. Make sure you have a towel before you get in the shower.
  2. In all things, do your best not to be a douchebag.
  3. Kill them with kindness.
  4. There is no time in this world for being a wallflower and being shy gets you nowhere.
  5. Don’t believe the florist when he tells you that the roses are free.
  6. The words “I’m fine” and “maybe” are pretty much never true.
  7. Mend fences with your siblings if you have to, because regret is some heavy shit. Same goes for parents.
  8. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your happiness – there are times when you have to ask yourself “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?”
  9. Always check the drive through bag before you start the car.
  10. The Cake is a Lie and A Cookie is a Sometime Food.
  11. Floss your teeth every day – if you don’t there will be mouth consequences.
  12. Ask for more money than you think you deserve, because you can’t negotiate up.
  13. If you want to get anything pierced, get it done professionally, especially below the neck. Trust me on this.
  14. Try at least two bites of any food that is offered to you (unless it makes you fear for your life), even if you’re 100% sure you won’t like it.
  15. Sympathize and empathize with the people around you, but don’t take on their mood unless it’s an upgrade.
  16. If you’re trying to calculate how many hours of sleep you really NEED before work, it’s time to have the bartender call a cab.
  17. Sometimes it’s OK to be the beta dog, at least until you learn what it takes to be the alpha.
  18. Sometimes the Irish Goodbye is your only option, no matter what Emily Post says.
  19. Don’t act like you’re the most important person in the room, but don’t feel like you’re the least important person either.
  20. Reading is fundamental.
  21. Never wait in line longer than 10 minutes for brunch unless your heart is in it.
  22. Don’t roll the dice on whether it’s poop or a fart.
  23. If you’re over 21 and someone asks to see your ID, try not to get salty about it.
  24. Learn how to say “That’s just like…your opinion, man,” and mean it.
  25. If you’re trying to choose between driving and walking, walk it.
  26. Keep yourself busy – it’ll help you stay out of trouble.
  27. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to laugh at you.
  28. Listen more than you talk.
  29. The more open your mind is, the less often you’ll be surprised.
  30. You have all the tools you need to be happy; don’t let anyone take them away.
  31. “Pull my finger” is a terrible pickup line.
  32. Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.
  33. If you don’t ask for it, there’s a good chance you won’t get it.
  34. If you say you’re going to do something, do your dead level best to do it.
  35. There are times to open your mouth, and there are times to put your head down. Figure out which is which.
  36. The only way to win an argument is not to get caught up in it.
  37. There’s a difference between cool and hip, and there’s a difference between funny and clever at someone’s expense. Generally aim for the former.
  38. There are a lot of times when getting the last word is a terrible idea.
  39. If they think you’re crude, go technical; if they think you’re technical, go crude.
  40. If you just met and s/he says it’s cool to not use a condom, it’s pretty definitely not cool to not use a condom.
  41. If you’re managing people, you work for them just as much as they work for you. Your job in a nutshell is to help them be be good at their jobs.
  42. There’s always room for Jello.
  43. When you’re interviewing for a job, you are also interviewing them.
  44. People are trustworthy until proven untrustworthy.
  45. Sometimes the best way to make things less awkward is make things as awkward as they can get.
  46. There’s a non-zero chance that the person you have a crush on also has a crush on you.
  47. Don’t put metal in the science oven.
  48. Nothing in the world looks more ridiculous than a man wearing nothing but a t-shirt, unless it’s a naked man in socks.
  49. No matter how often you think you’re doing 80% of the work in your relationship, your parter/spouse thinks the same thing, just as often.
  50. Giving is way more fun than receiving, but don’t forget to give to yourself.

Image via Deviant Art