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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

35 (Give or Take) Life Lessons in 35 Years

Inspired by and, in places, completely copied from Dawn Gluskin's '37 Life Lessons in 37 Years.'

Yesterday was my 35th birthday.  It's been an interesting ride so far, though, referring to 'it,' by which I mean 'life,' as a 'ride' is kind of inaccurate because that makes it sound like I've been passive when it comes to living.  I mean, life is a 'ride," kinda, I guess, but I've been pedaling the 'ride.'  It's not like there's been some snaggle-toothed carnie operating my life like a Tilt-a-Whirl or anything.  I've largely been in charge of my life up to this point, only occasionally seeking the counsel of itinerant state fair employees.

From a quiet, Nintendo-playing little boy, to a school-hating, film-obsessed teenager who dreamed of being a beloved author and man-about-town, to a largely directionless twenty-something with an addiction to Taco Bell and cigarettes, the established stages of human development I've experienced have been as boring and textbook as you can possibly imagine.  Now, five years into my 30's, I kind of feel like I've gotten better at life.  I'm not an expert or anything, but I don't eat nearly as many fast food burritos as I used to.  And I haven't smoked in real long time, though if you are a smoker and you want to blow a little smoke into my face the next time you see me, you are more than welcome.

Look, man, I've learned some things, OK?  I mean, I've remained alive for 35 years!  If I hadn't learned anything, that'd be kind of effed up, don't you think?  It's true that I still feel like a rudderless 20-something sometimes, but I wouldn't trade the life I have now for anything else in the world.

So, here are 35 life lessons I've learned while bopping around on this planet, and maybe they'll inspire you or whatever.  Maybe they won't.  I'm not doing this to inspire anyone really, I just saw Dawn Gluskin's article on the Huffington Post Web site and thought it would be fun to do my own, only sillier.  I don't know.  Whatever.  Here's the thing.

Top 35 Life Lessons So Far...

1. Like what you like.  I know I rip on Twi-moms, the religious and people who for some odd reason prefer Olive Garden to actual Italian food, but who cares what I think.  You shouldn't.  Everyone should like whatever they want to like and be fine with it.  I'm proud to say that Child's Play 2 is one of my favorite movies (not horror movies, but movies, period); that I enjoy pop music recorded by females between the ages of 17 and 24 for females between the ages of 12 and 15; and that while Elfen Lied and Evangelion rank as my favorite anime series, I also adore A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, which is about a magical pixie who eats waffles.

2. Eat everything.  Don't bow out of a trip to your local Indian buffet because it's 'kinda scary.'  Don't say no to sushi because you think it's just a bunch of raw stuff wrapped in sea weed.  Don't limit yourself to chicken fingers, pizza rolls and french fries.  Try it all.  And then, if you don't like it, don't eat it again.  But chances are, you'll love it.

3. Mayo really does make sandwiches better.  For real.

4. Read books.  And if you choose to procreate, instill in your progeny a love of reading.  Video games and sexting are great, but books are so much better.

5. Kids are where it's at.  Look, if you don't want to have kids--whatever the reason--that's fine.  I don't judge you.  If you don't want to have kids, for Pete's sake, don't have them.  For me though--and I've dreamed of having kids since I was a kid--when my daughter was born, life just kind of made sense.

6. A relationship based on mutual respect is undeniably awesome.  For example, try to get as close as you can to what me and my wife have.  

7. Sex is great.  Don't let anybody tell you any different.  Sex is one of the top 5 things you can do, so do it as much as you can.

8. Never commit to listing 35 of anything.  It's hard.  And probably not worth your time.

9. If you are homophobic, racist or bigoted in any way, you are on the wrong side of history.  Enough said.

10. Football is fantastic.  I get it, you don't like sports, and that's OK.  I'm not a jock or anything, but I love football.  It's exciting, anything can happen, and I actually get it.  During the football season, we get together with my parents almost every Sunday for food and game watching, and it is amazingly fun.

11. Jonah Hill is great, guys.  C'mon.  Why are there so many Jonah Hill haters out there?  He's hilarious.  Shut up and get into it.

12. Do what you love.  Every hour of the day I am not at my actual job, I'm super happy.  I do what I love.  I wish I 'loved' what I do for a living (I'd even accept 'liking' it at this point), but I'm striving to make sure my daughter pursues her dreams no matter what, just as I still am, when I'm not completely drained at the end of the workday.

13. If you fancy yourself a writer, write every day.  Start a blog if you have to.  Works for me.

14. Listing the life lessons you've learned over the course of your life and expecting people to care is kind of pretentious.  I'm going to stop.

15. They only want you when you're 17; when you're 21, you're no fun.  That's not fair.  Those are song lyrics.

16. Herr's chips are better than Utz.  No need to look into it, chip nerds.  I've done the research.  All the research.

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