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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

45 Things

This marks the tenth time that I’ve undertaken an annual list of lessons learned.  It’s difficult to comprehend the breadth and depth of the changes and growth I’ve experienced in that time.  I can say, without hesitation, that it was the best decade, yet and I’ve learned more in this decade than I have in any of them (except the first one).  As I like to say, it’s certainly been a long and strange trip.  Importantly, this has been as much an attempt to entertain as it’s been an exercise in remembering that there is life, love and learning in the journey, as well as the destination.  The hits keep coming, but that’s where the lessons come from and if I ever do stop learning, that’s when I’ll know that I can stop keeping this list – or doing anything else for that matter.   

For those that are just joining, the links to the previous lessons are provided below; and for the rest of you – let’s get into it:

  1. Family is an F-Word; it means a lot of different things to different people, so be careful how you use it in mixed company.
  2. Looking back over ten years, the one thing that appears to have universally and persistently enraged me turns out to be (drum roll, please)… cheap cars with loud exhausts.  Congratulations, that’s a decade of sucking (with no signs of slowing)
  3. The only thing harder to find than good friends, is good business partners.
  4. Where you live involves some measure of sacrifice: either a crazy cold winter, a crazy hot summer or the only Amazon available is the river.
  5. In ten years, the sound of a crying child on an airplane has gone from something that makes me hate kids to something that makes me hate parents.
  6. Business is sales, everything else is derivative.
  7. The reason that the “Horror” genre is dying out is that the real scary stuff is on the news.
  8. After fifteen years of studying the law, the one that makes the least sense to me (out of all of them) is the tax exemption for churches.
  9. Adults that believe in fairy tales are unlikely to be relied upon for much of anything.
  10. Everyone is deadly serious about everything.  Seriously.
  11. The most reliable voices in the modern media landscape are comedians.  How’s that for irony?
  12. No great thing has even been done alone.  Not one.
  13. Martyrdom is stupid. Always.
  14. The most effective maneuver in any negotiation is to be nicer than anyone expects.
  15. The hardest and most valuable skill I’ve ever learned is how to be genuinely happy for someone else.
  16. Judging a book by its cover is only bad if you don’t consider changing your judgment after you’ve read it. 
  17. We’ve already tried everyone being un¬-educated (and that led us to universally agree to try and educate everyone), so maybe we should give that a try before we decide it’s a good idea to all be idiots, again.
  18. The thee best pieces of advice I’ve ever received were from a Christmas song, a Patrick Swayze movie and a Harvey Dent quote.
  19. Ignorance is not a virtue. 
  20. We spend all of our time trying to figure out what’s going to be the end of us – and the one suspect we’re not investigating is in the mirror.
  21. All we’ve got in this life and this world is each other. 
  22. Unless you’re threatening my money or my physical safety, there’s nothing to fight about… no matter what you’ve said or done.
  23. Drug crime is real crime in the way that thoughts and prayers are real help.
  24. Changing your mind is not “flip flopping” or being “inconsistent” – it’s called learning, and it’s worth trying out.
  25. Old opinions are like old clothes in your closet, if it’s been a while since you’ve tried them on, they’re unlikely to fit you, they’re unlikely to make sense in the current context and it’s mostly just embarrassing that you still have them. 
  26. My disappointment with the modern judiciary can be summarized by the fact that we let judges campaign with their photographs.
  27. The problem with the youngest generation’s music, movies and media isn’t that it’s better or worse than ours, it’s how much of it you have to sift through to get to the good stuff.  There was a time when thirty television channels seemed like an embarrassment of riches. 
  28. Every great story should be retold.
  29. Every person that thinks the U.S. getting rid of California is a good idea lives in a state that I’d gladly get rid of before California.  You got that, Mississippi?
  30. We deserved Donald Trump.  The question is whether or not we’re going to do anything to deserve better.
  31. There is no greater joy than finding someone that’s your kind of weird.
  32. The great reveal of mid-life is that everyone you thought had it all figured out is just as lost as you were – they just know how to put on a brave face and keep at it. 
  33. There are few indicators of a person’s judgment as a reliable as a neck or face tattoo.
  34. The greatest epidemic of our time isn’t opioids, it’s cowardice.
  35. The tragedy of the self-esteem isn’t that we shouldn’t have been teaching every kid they’re special, it’s that we forgot to teach them that everyone else is, too.
  36. The trick to mastering moderation is to only use it on the bad things.  No one ever died from being too happy.
  37. If you find yourself telling anyone what to do with their genitals that either (a) didn’t result from yours or (b) doesn’t also involve yours, STOP. 
  38. Privacy is the new wealth.  If you know someone that’s really wealthy, they’re probably not that wealthy. 
  39. People lie about two things: the money they have, and the money they don’t.
  40. Love isn’t the stuff in movies or songs or poems.  It’s the stuff between all of that and it’s so much better.
  41. The older you get, the more you should celebrate.  This does not apply to birthdays.  No one cares that you’re turning 37, Carol.
  42. Of all the endangered species, the one I’m most worried about is: hypocrisy as a bad thing. 
  43. There are only two ways you should speak about law and government: as an expert, or not at all.
  44. There is a fine line between body positivity and visual pollution.  If you don’t know where it’s at, you’ve probably crossed it. 
  45. No matter what, no matter where, no matter why – before you do anything – take a breath, take a minute and take it on.

Well, that’s it kids – ten years of lessons in the books.  I had expected to stop at ten, and I might yet – but for now, I’m having too much fun to stop and I think we can all agree, there are a lot of “things” left.  See you next June!