On this, the morning I complete my 45th trip around the sun, in the springtime of a very much welcome new year after the wretched torments of the last one, I ponder what I've learned so far in this life.
The biggest thing I know is how much I don't know. The world is infinite, and I'm planning to redouble my efforts and read more, listen more, go to more museums and spend more time with my dearest treasured friends.
But I do know a few things. I'm 45, after all. Happy Birthday to me. And here's a list of 45 Things I Know.
1. Don't pry open anything with your teeth.
2. Support NPR, independent musicians and public television.
3. Don't skimp on three things in life: your mattress, your shoes, and your food. In these areas, buy quality, however else you might economize.
4. Never work for an asshole. If you work for an asshole now, quit.
5. Every now and then, quiz yourself on the state and country capitals from 7th grade geography. There are apps for that now.
6. "No one's really gonna be free until nerd persecution ends!" -- Revenge of the Nerds
7. Never tell a lie, but read the room. Know when the situation calls for pursuing the delicate balance between honesty and kindness.
8. Do your homework. In fact, do the extra credit.
10. Go to the library, pick out a book, read it, bring it back to the library, pick out another book, and so on.
11. Be concise.
12. Only apologize when you have actually said or done something rude or offensive. Especially women. Lady, if you don't think you apologize too much, search for "I'm sorry" in your outgoing emails. See what I mean? Cut the shit, you didn't do anything wrong.
13. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, life is too short to be rushed. Take your time.
14. Take your time, but not at the expense of someone else's time -- be punctual. Lateness is rudeness.
15. Learn where the apostrophe goes. Put it there. Every time.
16. Familiarize yourself with the text of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bible and the Ten Commandments. You will never lose an argument with an idiot.
17. Make your own fresh guacamole, hummus, mayonnaise, whipped cream and barbecue sauce. Not all at the same time. Unless you're throwing one hell of a party.
- 17a. Every now and then, throw one hell of a party.
- 17b. Don't drink too much.
18. Being snowed in is one of those things that sounds great until you need tampons or red wine. Always be stocked up on the basics.
19. There's rarely a reason to raise your voice.
20. Sleep is deathly important.
21. Send holiday cards to your friends and family every December. Write personal notes inside.
22. Don't read any of the comments.
23. Wait your turn.
24. Sing in the shower.
25. Don't be a dick.
26. Stir two packets of Swiss Miss into one mug for a delightfully chocolaty hot beverage.
27. Say "I was wrong, you were right" when the situation calls for it. Your ego isn't important enough to keep your bullshit ruse going.
28. Be kind to animals.
29. We should be working as a society to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
30. Don't spend more money than you earn.
31. "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." -- The Godfather
32. Don't smoke.
33. Read the labels. If you can't pronounce it or don't know what it is, it was probably made in a factory or a lab. Don't eat that.
34. Pick out your Zombie Apocalypse survival team. Among them make sure you include a musician, a scientist, a writer, a farmer and a cook.
36. Respect is to be earned, not demanded.
37. Take the stairs.
38. It's always okay to say no.
39. Don't bitch about jury duty. You're part of the process.
40. If you're blind with rage while typing an email, don't send that. Wait a day or two.
41. "...the Matrix cannot tell you who you are." -- The Matrix
42. Life without art is stupid.
43. Don't bother with the pistachios that don't have an opening. Also see Thing #1.
44. Doc Martens can last like twenty years (and counting) so think twice before you get the shiny hot pink ones.
45. "The Origin of Love" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a far superior creation myth than that of Adam and Eve from the New Testament.