Every year about this time, I have a birthday…
This year, as I turn 45, I felt inspired to reflect on some things I’d learned over the past 44 years…
Here’s the list, one thought for every year…
1. Keep yourself fit. Use your body. Get outdoors and do stuff. No one gives a rat’s ass whether you have abs, but why not have a strong enough body to explore the adventures of the world?
2. Competition is fine when you’re feeling the need to prove your worth. But when you realize your worth is incalculable, the whole idea of competing for your identity starts to feel a bit silly.
3. There is no right way to live a life. I like my way the best, but it ain’t for everybody. When you’re happy, your way is the right way.
4. The best thing about losing your hair when you’re a young man is that you don’t have to worry about it later. Your vanity gets stripped away and it forces you to develop an inner confidence early on. Or not.
5. The only expert you need to listen to, on anything, is you. But you’ve got to really know yourself, first.
6. Eat what you want to eat. Drink what you want to drink. Smoke what you want to smoke. But whatever you choose, revel in your decision. Enjoy your choice. Bask in it. The problems come when you start second-guessing yourself and listening to the noise.
7. So yeah, alignment is everything. That’s the theory of everything, right there. No need to keep looking for the Holy Grail. It’s always been right at your feet.
8. Death is not the enemy. Death is life. If you can’t deal with death, you’re cut off from some part of life.
9. If a friend loses someone, show up for them. Be present at a wake. No one likes going, (that’s the dumbest excuse ever…) Ask how your friend is doing. At the very least make a call. Talk about it. Of course it’s awkward and there are no magic words. But just do your best. The person who lost someone will remember that you did. And if you didn’t.
10. You cannot convince anyone of anything. You can offer a perspective, but that’s it. Whether someone else can hear you is none of your business. Even then, words do not teach. Only experience teaches.
11. Vehemently siding with one political party doesn’t make you smart. It doesn’t make you right. It just makes you a person who gets angry a lot. It’s a wonderful thing to give up because the people you’re rooting for? They’re not exactly geniuses…
12. Learn to play a song you like on an instrument. It opens something up within you.
13. The more freedom you allow yourself, the more freedom you will want. It never stops and once you start, you cannot go back.
14. Everything and everyone is helping you. Always. Even when they are disguised as problems or assholes.
15. Money comes to me a lot easier when I stop trying to figure out how to make more of it.
16. I’ve learned more practical, life-changing stuff from studying the metaphysics of creation than any other subject. And it’s not even close. Makes all those Dean’s Lists and the Ph.D rather irrelevant to the bigger idea of living well.
18. Few things are as satisfying to complete as a job done with your hands.
19. Grow something from a seed. You will fall in love.
20. Your friends will disappoint you from time to time. They are not you, and their priorities will not always match yours. Accept that. Accept them as they accept you when you disappoint them. But if it happens all the time, let go and move on.
21. If you feel like your parents wronged you in some way, get over it. They were just people like all of us and holding that shit is toxic.
22. People? I really like people. I just don’t want to live around them.
23. If something isn’t working, instead of doubling down of your efforts, the best thing you can do is walk away for a while.
24. You know if you’re with the right person. You can bullshit yourself all you want, trying to convince yourself. But you know whether it’s right or not. And if you’re not, respect yourself enough to get out. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.
25. The rules? They were meant to keep you coloring inside the lines. But if you never dare to step out, you’ll never know what you’re really made of…
26. Life’s become much better when you see yourself of the creator of all of it. ALL. OF. IT. But it’s always easier to blame.
27. When you want something, just say YES. Just allow yourself to say YES. Decide to have it. Give up the hows, the whens, and the whys… Just say Phucket! and see what happens.
28. Life requires minimal planning. (The world pressures you to plan, of course, because it fits with some selfish interest of theirs.) Instead, just pack some rain gear, be flexible on the itinerary and the destination and you’ll have a much better time.
29. We’ve been trained to worship at the altar of complexity. But life can be really simple if you decide that you want it to be.
30. The purpose of your life is to have fun. Period. That’s it. But yeah, that kind of clarity is too simple for some…
31. Busy is the perfect place for people to hide out from their true desires.
32. If you need time for yourself, take it. No one else can give it to you, so stop blaming someone else and just take it. It’s good for everybody.
33. A man wants his woman to bring lightness in to his life. Lightness.
34. Knowing who you are and being that unique person? That’s what’s sexy.
35. If you express your appreciation for your man, he will do most anything for you. Happily.
36. You don’t need to be looking around for a fight, of course. But you shouldn’t be afraid of one, either.
37. It’s perfectly okay to give up. In fact, I think it’s the most underutilized strategy of all time.
38. The most valuable thing my dad ever did for me was to take me into the woods. All he had to do was expose me to the natural world and then I ran with it. And I think, that’s really a parent’s job… to expose your kids to stuff. What they do from there is what they do from there.
39. Most people fear making a wrong decision. But indecision is much more crippling. So decide and stand by your decision.
40. It’s easy to allow the thoughts and creations you like. But the magic resides in allowing the thoughts and creations you don’t like. That’s true allowing. And true allowing is freedom. You’ll need to practice this one…
41. The world will be just fine if you just go and take a nice nap for yourself.
42. If there’s someone you envy because you think they’ve got it better than you, it’s only because you haven’t got a chance to see behind the curtain. As my brother Ned would say, “Everybody’s fucked up in their own special way.” And someone’s looking at you, thinking you have it all, too. Tend your own garden.
43. One of the things I admire most about my son is that he doesn’t listen to me. He does what he wants. And I think my job — my toughest job — is to not break that out of him.
44. You can’t wait for your ship to come in. You’ve at least got to get your ass down to the harbor.
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