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Monday, February 15, 2016

41 Things

My, what a long, strange trip it’s been.  As marking the years gone by has turned from a cause for celebration to an occasion for indifference and, ultimately, to a harbinger of impending doom, finding the silver lining amidst all the silver hair has become increasingly difficult.  However, this annual tradition has become the touchstone of that ever-more-important optimism, because the trade we make each year, exponentially more wisdom for marginally less youth, remains a very, very good one.  Growing older always brings the opportunity to answer the proverbial question of whether one would “go back” if they could.  And while I desperately miss my former indestructibility, I have never and would never trade what I’ve learned in for slightly less painful joints and regular visits to the doctor because I’m too stubborn and stupid to stop dancing (and exercising) like I’m still 25.  And so, with this continuing recklessness in mind, and with a nod to those of you who have stuck around for the sixth installment of these, here are the FORTY ONE things I’ve learned so far:

1.     You really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. 
2.     The media has us convinced we’re never attractive enough, but on a positive note, we’re all probably a lot better looking than we think... except you
3.     If you think keeping friends is harder when you’re older, try making them.
4.     There is always another train coming; desperation is always manufactured – and usually by people who are more afraid than you are.
5.     There’s a reason they call it a “vanity plate” and that’s not a compliment – it’s one of the seven deadly sins.  Or if you’re not religious –it’s fantastically douchey. 
6.     If you’re always the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
7.     Flattery is easy, inexpensive and the “secret” in every book every written about how to do better with people.
8.     Generational wealth is the second most destructive force in the world, today.
9.     The first? Organized religion (obviously).
10.  Schools don’t need to get rid of bullies, they need to teach kids how to deal with them, effectively.  Real life has real bullies.
11.  The most terrifying thing about the youngest generation growing up to lead is what we’re going to do about having access to their life-long Facebook feed.
12.  Fashion trends come and go, but visible chest hair will always be terrible.
13.  Never have more fun on someone else’s couches than you have on your own...  trust me, they’re following the same rule.
14.  Anti-intellectualism is the word that smart people use to describe the pro-stupid lobby – see, we’re better at that, too. 
15.  We became post-truth before we even got close to post-racism... and that’s probably why we never will.
16.  The two least attractive words you can say to a woman at 41 are: “never married.”
17.  The two least attractive words a woman can say to a 41-year-old man are: “fairy tale.”
18.  I’ve involuntarily trained my brain to say the word “DOUCHE” as loud as I can every time I hear an engine being revved.  Seriously. 
19.  You are not that big of a deal. 
20.  Only women are allowed to declare that they will not date overweight members of the opposite sex.  Ignore this advice at your own peril.
21.  Getting drunk is a universally terrible idea. 
22.  No matter how strongly they insist, if you want to keep your friends, do not let them set you up on a date.
23.  The Internet’s most useful tool is Facebook’s “Block” button.
24.  Nothing is more expensive than anything you’re offered for “free”.
25.  No one needs a gun.  Ever.
26.  Being friends with an ex is weird.  You know it’s weird because you always have to explain it.  Nothing normal always has to be explained.
27.  Men and women have the same number of emotions, men just have fewer names for theirs.
28.  One of life’s greatest lessons is knowing when to shut up... especially when you’ve got something to say.
29.  The scariest thing I’ve learned as an adult is how tremendously little that adults know. 
30.  People want to trust you, but they need to like you.
31.  A teenaged me would never have survived my adult bad habits... here’s to the late bloomers, and how much longer we’ll live.
32.  Skinny arms have finally come into style for young men... about thirty years too late.  At least I get to skip skinny jeans.
33.  I finally found the one thing that will always give away a woman’s age – what she says.  What gives away a man’s age?  He does. 
34.  What’s most important in a person’s “profile picture” is what’s not in it. 
35.  I’m not saying it should ever be legal to hit someone with your car, but if it ever was, I’d definitely be hitting passive-aggressive, slow-walking, judgy-faced pedestrians first.
36.  Teenagers are never funny.  I even found one I liked (my niece).  Still not funny.
37.  What a person wears tells you more about their friends than it does about them.
38.  We are wasting our shame on fat people when we have so many stupid people so close by!  At least fat people know they’re fat. 
39.  Conspiracy theories are the most reliable way to identify people who will make you dumber.
40.  What scares me most about aging is not feeling bad when I’m older, but that I’ll forget how to feel bad at all.
41.  We only really have two stories, destruction and survival, up to you which one you tell... and when. 

Here’s to 42... you wonderful bastards.