(Written on April 23, 2014)

Today is my birthday!  Over the course of my 30 years, I have learned many things.  These lessons were, at times, tough to learn and I wish to spare others.  So here is a list of 30 things I have learned by 30.


1. Do not keep your cell phone in your back pocket.  It will eventually fall in the toilet at some point.

2. Liquor gets in your bloodstream.  You are not going to get it out of your blood with a shower.  So stop putting your friends in the shower.  Drinking water, on the other hand, is the best way to reduce the effects of alcohol.  Alcohol dehydrates you, so if you drink water while you drink (or before), you can reduce a hangover.

3. There are certain things that can never be broken, misplaced, and that nobody will ever be able to take away from you; invest your time, energy, and wealth in those things.

4.   Drive the speed limit (or close enough to it) because it’s really not worth it.  If you are driving 60 miles, at 60mph, you will get there in 1 hour.   If you drive 70mph instead, you will get there a full 10 minutes faster…not really much of a time saver.  What about if you are driving 20 miles to work?  Driving 40mph, you will get there in 30 minutes; if you drive 50mph, you will get there in 24 minutes.  Are those 6 minutes really worth the hundreds of dollars (ticket, increase car insurance rate, etc) it will cost you if you get caught.  In case you’re thinking you won’t, you will eventually get caught.

5. Never get sloppy drunk in public.  Nobody likes a sloppy drunk.

6. Smile at strangers.  Sometimes they smile back, sometimes they don’t, but by sending good vibes out, you are more likely to get some good vibes back and that feels good.  Plus, you get a chance to make someone else feel good.

7. Do laundry about every two weeks.  It’s only going to make your life extra complicated when you have to do all of that laundry at once.

8. Take care of your body.  Right now, it seems like your body is never going to turn against you, but it eventually will and it is going to suck unless you do something early to make it happen later in life.

9. Learn another language.  It will come in handy for traveling and getting a job.

10. Get health insurance.  You never know when something is going to happen to you…that’s why they call them accidents.  You also never know when your body is going to suddenly develop a condition that lands you in the hospital for a week of tests.  It costs about $900 each day that you’re in a hospital…and that’s if they don’t run any tests and the doctors simply ignore you and let you just lie in bad.

11. Step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while.

12. Don’t limit yourself or let others limit you.  Aim high, dream high, set high goals, and never be satisfied with the status quo.

13. Your opinion does not always matter.  Somewhere between birth and your mid-twenties, you were given the impression that everything you said mattered.  Then, you get a job and expect people who have been working there longer than you’ve been alive to value your opinion as equal to theirs.  That’s not how it works; they don’t care.  Just sit, observe, and learn.

14. Your actions can, and likely will, have repercussions for your future.  Yes, YOLO is absolutely correct, you only have one life, but that doesn’t mean you have to ruin the one life you have.

15. Look people in their eyes when you are talking to them.

16. Have a deep meaningful conversation about the meaning of something at least one a week.

17. Call, or at least text, the people you care about whenever you have a little free time.  Keeping in contact seems hard and sometimes is hard, but a text message takes about 1 minute and you’re probably able to text and do something else at the same time.

18. Remain a life-long learner.  You do not know everything and never will; keep yourself open and available to learn new things.

19.  Ask questions.  Make sure the things you believe come from a reliable source.

20. Figure out what aspects of your current situation you actually have control over and focus on those things, not the things that you have very little control over.  As a rule, you can’t control other people.

21. Sometimes your parents are actually right.

22. Always check your pockets and/or bag for your keys before you close an automatically locking door.

23. Get a bank account!

24.  When it comes to dating, there is such a thing as knowing when you know.  And when you know, you will know.

25. The platinum rule says to treat people how they want to be treated.  Empathy goes a long way.  This means that the platinum rule is one notch above the golden rule.  Just because you like when people tailgate you, doesn’t mean others like being tailgating.

26. Your credit score is everything…even in terms of you being  able to get an apartment, a job, or even bail.  Don’t mess it up before you have a chance at life.

27. Don’t value your possessions, they’re just things.  Don’t pay so much for something that you can’t even enjoy it; if you can’t afford to easily replace it, don’t buy it. Let kids touch your stuff, use your phone or digital camera, take the plastic off the couches….it’s just stuff.   If it breaks or gets stained, life will go on…fortunately.

28. Assume people are generally good.

29. Let go and don’t hate.  Your mental health should be more important to you than your despise for another person or a group of people.  Holding on to hate is related to all sorts of negative physical and mental health outcomes.  Do not let another person have that much control over you.

30.   All those songs lied: Age is so much more than a number.  People make assumptions about a person’s maturity, knowledge, interests, health, and all sorts of things based on age.  You can try to fight it, or revel in it, but it’s not likely to change any time soon.