I turned 37 last week. I am now the same age that my mother was when she had me. When Mom was 37, she had been married for almost two decades, had a son in high school and had never been west of the Mississippi.
At 37, I’ve been west of the Mississippi at least once or twice, have never been married and have no children of which I am aware other than two furry half breeds.
Mom’s life and mine have been quite different but we have a lot in common. We’ve gone through some difficult times together and have experienced things that no wife, son, mother or brother should. As such, I’ve often had to turn to her when I didn’t understand what was happening in our lives. I’ve learned a lot from her. I like to think she has learned a thing or two from me as well.
But she hasn’t been my only instructor. Life has taught me a lot and I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great mentors along the way who have cued me into the more important things in life. I’d like to share some of these lessons with you.
A lot of this comes from personal experience but very little of this is truly original content. I’ve “stood on the shoulders of giants” so to speak in compiling this list. I’ve given credit where it is due.
Without further ado; in no particular order, here are 37 things I’ve learned so far –
#1 – Flying a cut rate airline is rarely worth the hassle
#2 – Hugs > handshakes
#3 – If you order burnt ends at a BBQ joint & they don’t know what you are talking about, that might be your cue to go somewhere else
#4 – Traveling alone, especially internationally, will open doors and windows into your heart & soul that you never knew existed
#5 – Smile. Even if you don’t feel like it. Especially if you don’t feel like it
#6 – Everyone should drive Interstate 16 between Macon & Savannah on a holiday weekend at least once in their life so they can fully appreciate the rest of the country’s highway system
#7 – “The less you want, the more you got.” (You can find this sentiment in various religions and schools of philosophy going back to ancient times but I owe this particular phrasing to WSP)
#8 – Losing my grandfather was the hardest thing I have ever experienced
#9 – It can all change in the blink of an eye. If there is something you really want to do, somewhere you really want to see, something you really need to say, do it now. “Someday is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you” – Tim Ferriss
#10 – Moes > Chipotle
#11 – If you don’t want to read this list anymore, go watch some Seinfeld. You can learn almost everything you need to know about life & more from George and Kramer.
#12 – The half hour before the sun comes up & the half after it goes down are the most magical parts of the day
#13 – A thin layer of mayo on your PB&J takes it up at least two notches. Thanks, Peanut
#14 – Toenails are overrated
#15 – Learn CPR
#16 – Be wary of Crossfit on military holidays, during the Open, when your trainer is in a bad mood, on birthdays, during the Games, when your trainer is in a good mood, during Hero Week, etc, etc
#17 – Most people are inherently good. Except for bad tippers, litterers, people who talk in the theatre, obnoxious types who wear their sunglasses inside & those jerks who cruise in the far, left lane
#18 – Pack light. (See #7) When going on a trip, lay out everything you want to take. Put half of it back in the closet & take twice the money
#19 – DFL > DNF > DNS
#20 – Don’t rely on others to explain everything for you. You have Google. Use it
#21 – “People will tell you anything” – Mom. I think it was Poe who said you should believe almost nothing you hear & only half of what you see
#22 – I try very hard to not let my ego stop me from telling people I love them
#23 – When I feel I’m losing perspective, I like to find a dark spot & count stars
#24 – Do not get your car repaired at the dealership (See # 11)
#25 – It is ok for your best friend to be a dog
#26 – Removing or limiting negative people in my life has been one of the greatest sources of happiness that I have found. It is a cancer, cut it out
#27 – 2 wheels > 4 wheels.
#28 – It could always be worse
#29 – If I could listen to only one album for the rest of my life, it would be Eat a Peach
#30 – “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – B. Lee
#31 – Everyone should work in the service industry at least once
#32 – Apologizing to people I have wronged in the past has simultaneously been one of the most challenging/rewarding things I have ever done. Most are gracious, some don’t respond, a few have told me to get lost. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It is not about me
#33 – Experiences > possessions
#34 – No matter what my situation or excuse for not doing something, there is someone who is in the same or worse position who is doing that very thing I think impossible
#35 – Lunch with friends, afternoons with my nieces and nephews & afternoon strolls are all markedly better when I leave the pocket computer in the car
#36 – Learning to stop making excuses & to start saying “I choose not to” instead of “I can’t” & “It isn’t a priority” instead of “I don’t have time” has literally rewired my brain
#37 – I don’t really care what you do for money or how big your house or bank account is. I care about what sets your soul on fire, how you treat your parents and the homeless people out on the street and what you’re doing for the less fortunate all around you
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please feel free to leave any life lessons you’ve learned in the comments section below. If you’re enjoying The Juandering Advocate, I invite you to subscribe and join the tribe. Much love everyone!