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Saturday, June 18, 2016

42 Things

So…here, we are, on the occasion of forty-two years of sunrises, sunsets, summer and smiles.  This year’s installment marks seven years of keeping track of lessons learned and remembering to laugh, if for no other reason than to save from crying.  Forty-two isn’t a particular sexy number, which seems oddly apropos, because it’s certainly not a particularly sexy age.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m aging with all the style and grace of a Fail Army video, but still, it’s a fight that no one has ever won – Mother Nature and Father Time are still undefeated.  The best you can hope for is to take the fight into extra innings, and you can rest assured, I will absolutely ride this train until the wheels fall off (and even then, I’ll find a decent orthopedist to sew them back on).  In the meantime, there are plenty of lessons to be learned, and if these lists are nothing more, they are a reminder of my lifelong commitment to keep learning, and to remember that no matter how much I do manage to pack into this mind and body, there will always be a great deal more that I missed than that I actually got to do, be, understand, experience or know.  And so, with that in mind, and certainly having exhausted your appetite for self-indulgent introductions, here are 42 Things That I’ve Learned:

1.     There are more years between now and 65 than there are between 21 and now… And thinking back to how far I’ve come since 21, I’ve got plenty of time left.
2.     The Venn diagram of things that look good versus things that are good has a whole lot less overlap than I used to think.
3.     Everyone’s online life is a lie.  The beauty of real life is just how ugly it is.
4.     Ignorance is not an immutable trait, which is why we should never celebrate it.
5.     If your argument for anything has the words “Jesus” or “God” in them – you do not have an argument; you have a belief, which should absolutely be kept to yourself.
6.     If wealth and intelligence were complementary traits, college professors wouldn’t dress like hobos.  Most money is dumb money.
7.     I’ve determined the sexiest part of a woman’s body is her brain… with a three-way tie for second place.
8.     Flattery is like fashion: it’s best when it’s personal, it costs less than you think and nothing will make you look better to those around you.   
9.     The two least attractive words you can say to a woman at 42 are: “Never married.” 
10.  The great secret to business is nothing you’ll learn in Business School or in any school for that matter: it’s relationships, stupid. 
11.  In the social media era, we’ve never said more, and never meant any of it less.
12.  The success of any minority in obtaining rights, recognition and equality is not when they march in the streets, but when they no longer have to.
13.  I am wholly unequipped to interact with partisans in the “post-truth” era.  Turns out I really only have one club in the bag, and if facts and/or reason can’t get you to challenge your beliefs, congratulations, you found a way to be permanently stupid. 
14.  Fitness never goes out of style.
15.  Your jeans, however, always do. 
16.  The older I get, the more that Eagles lyrics make sense.
17.  There’s very little that I admire more in a person than their ability to be their true selves. 
18.  No matter what people tell you, they never get over their old crushes.  You got that, Katey?
19.  It took me over forty years to say it publicly – but I don’t believe in God.  At all.  I believe in people.  Like you.  And me.
20.  If you ever wonder if you should wear something, you shouldn’t.  Especially that hat. 
21.  Your faith isn’t ridiculous, but your religion absolutely is.  No matter which one. 
22.  When women say they won’t date an overweight man, they’re being confident, when a man says he won’t date an overweight woman, he’s being a body-shaming, woman-hating troll who should obviously die alone.  #Equality.
23.  Speaking of hashtags – that’s how lazy we’ve gotten, we can’t even be bothered to derive subtext - #WeNeedSomeoneToDoItForUs.
24.  Motherhood is not a magic wand – it doesn’t make you a good person, smarter or confer any special knowledge on you.  It’s only evidence of a functioning uterus.  Which is about as special as not being bald. 
25.  It’s not about being beautiful – it’s about owning your ugly beautifully. 
26.  When your childhood heroes start dying, you start realizing that you were your own hero, all along. 
27.  Watching my college classmates get command is a solid reminder that even the least promising twenty-year-olds can turn out fucking spectacular.  Maybe there’s hope for millennials, after all. 
28.  We’ve done a great job of creating universal shame for bigotry and ignorance – unfortunately, at the same time we also became completely universally shameless.
29.  Jenny McCarthy is responsible for more needless childhood deaths than any other person alive today – and not only is she free, she won’t even apologize. 
30.  I have never seen any woman, of any age, ever, get excited in any way by a revved engine.  Yet, somehow, every douchenozzle I come across continues to use this as their primary mating call.
31.  Only people with insane and unreasonable opinions even whine about not being “judged” for them – the rest of us are happily judged for what we believe in.
32.  The existence of multiple arguments does not make them equally valid or deserving of “equal time.”
33.  There has never been a better or more compelling case for the Electoral College (or any “republic” function of our democracy) than the 2016 elections.  Anyone who trusts public consensus hasn’t spent much time in “public.”
34.  The American distinction between marijuana and alcohol represents the single most effective PR campaign in modern history. 
35.  The older I get, the exponentially less poorly I feel about going to bed early. 
36.  No matter what else you do, or are or have done (cure cancer, save orphans, give to charity, etc.), if you’re a bigot – that’s all you are.
37.  I can forgive people doing almost any terrible thing – unless they do it to children, then fuck you. 
38.  Life is bad for your body – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live it.  What are you saving up for?  Your second go round? 
39.  Believing in some of medicine is like in some of astronomy.  Like, I’m cool with Mars and Venus – but Mercury is bullshit (I read it on the Internet). 
40.  Finishing any level of school should not be called “graduation” unless there’s a reasonable chance you might not have finished it.  Ya got that, 8th graders?!
41.  Generosity is giving to people to need it most and who expect it least.
42.  There is nothing more important, more difficult or more valuable than simply showing up. 

Here’s to those who keep showing up - see you next year, kids.


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