Today is my 38th birthday, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the things that I’ve learned in the first 38 years of my life.

  1. The hair that’s missing from the top of your head isn’t gone. It just shows up in other places, like your ears, your eyebrows, and your back.
  2. Sam Adams makes a good beer, but the best kind of beer is “free beer.”
  3. If you don’t take the time to learn your own history, then you are dependent on the history that others provide for you (whether it’s accurate or not).
  4. I’m pretty sure that you could rob a convenient store with the right cat.
  5. Keep your mind open when it comes to food. Things you didn’t like as a child may be your favorite thing as an adult. Peanut butter, cheese, and a green olive on a cracker are awesome. Believe it or not.
  6. Learn to question what you hear and what you’re told. Without learning to question, you will be lead down whatever path others want to lead you. The question ‘why?’ is the most important question you will ever ask.
  7. Jeans can be worn twice before washing. Underwear cannot.
  8. On occasion, wake up before the world gets started and stay out after the world goes to sleep. Either time will give you a different perspective.
  9. Play in the snow, because it doesn’t last long.
  10. Stand up for what you believe in, but make sure you understand what you believe before you do.
  11. Own a cat. Nothing will teach you more about free will than a cat.
  12. Understand that you cannot sway all people to your way of thinking, but sometimes the compelling argument is more important than the conversion.
  13. Plumbing and electrical work is better left to the professionals.
  14. A genuine smile will make you more friends than words ever could.
  15. Learn to laugh at yourself. It will make you happier and put people at ease around you.
  16. If you’re going to dance, let it all hang out. No one ever had a blast by half-dancing.
  17. If you love someone, then say it. You only get one shot on this earth. There are no second chances when you’re gone.
  18. Laughter is the best medicine, unless you’ve got an infection. You should probably go to the doctor and get antibiotics if you have an infection.
  19. Remember that every religion started off as a cult.
  20. Do not blindly follow anything.
  21. When it comes to the arts, remember that the “rules” are what you follow when you want to play it safe. All of the great artists broke the rules.
  22. Learn to take criticism. It will make you a better person.
  23. Make sure that losing and failure are part of your life. Without them, winning and success are not nearly as meaningful.
  24. Learn that ignorance isn’t the same as stupidity unless you let it be.
  25. An artificial lawn seems like a good idea until you remember that there are stray and wild animals in your neighborhood.
  26. Everybody sleeps beside the toilet at least once.
  27. People that complain that McDonald’s isn’t as good as a homemade hamburger just don’t understand the allure or comfort of McDonald’s.
  28. Sometimes nothing is more fun than an impromptu game of “5-pound Rock.”
  29. Realize that there is nothing happening in your life that hasn’t already happened to someone else.
  30. Learn to ice skate. It’s great exercise and teaches humility.
  31. It’s not appropriate to discipline other people’s kids at the grocery store, but the “scowl of death” you make at the child terrorizing the cereal aisle is perfectly acceptable.
  32. Getting good at something isn’t based solely on talent or even luck. It requires learning, understanding, and repetition.
  33. Time doesn’t really heal all wounds – especially not the physical ones.
  34. The first five minutes of cardio are always the worst.
  35. If it was important enough for you wait for someone’s voice mail, then leave a message that says more than “call me.”
  36. Learn about faiths other than your own. It will open your mind and strengthen your beliefs.
  37. Learn to apologize sincerely. It takes little effort and can make all the difference in the world.
  38. Our children are born without hatred of race, culture, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. They are, in fact, born as empty vessels devoid or character. Be careful how you fill that vessel.