Birthdays are great.
It’s like we each get our own personal New Year. Mine starts today. From 35 to 36 has been one of my hardest and most wonderful years. You know, “it was the best of times—it was the worst of times” and all that.
I’m okay with getting older. It would be great if getting wiser along with it was a given. But it seems like the older we get, the more we realize we are in the dark about pretty much everything. I like to go with that though. I’m pretty happy staying in my “don’t know mind.”
I had the idea for this title. Then I realized, shoot—I probably don’t know 36 things for sure!
But I’ve figured out a few things, so I’ll share them with you:
2. Don’t ever buy a sandwich from a vending machine. Ever.
3. It’s okay to cry. In fact, it’s good for you.
4. Credentials don’t matter. Fame isn’t important. Let go of your ego and treat everybody like a friend.
5. When in doubt, choose answer “C.”
7. Don’t have a back up plan. You’ll use it.
8. “If you want to be happy, first think of others.”
9. Tip well. As much as you can.
10. Be honest, always. If I could have my children internalize one thing it would be how to balance kindness and honesty. I’m still working on it.
11. Nobody has it all together. We’re all broken (and that isn’t a bad thing).
12. How a person treats children and animals is the best indicator of his character.
There are lots of other things I fool myself and think I’ve figured out. I could fill a list with silliness like “floss every day” (which is good advice) and “it’s better to regret doing something than regret not doing it” (which is only mostly true). I could fill it with quotes and truisms that we all know that are pretty much white noise after awhile.
But the best thing I’ve learned and learn over and over lately is this:
I’ve lived lots of different places. I’ve had lots of money, been broke and generally been somewhere in between. And the whole money thing—overrated. If I can do work that helps someone, that is of benefit in some way to at least one person, I’m happy. And when I go to sleep at night, I will sleep peacefully. Not because of the numbers on my deposit slip, not because of the brand of yoga pants I have and not because of the car I drive. I sleep peacefully and my life is rich.
I am rich because of my friends.
So forget the rest of the list. Forget the truisms. Just love.