Because today is my 40th birthday.

  1. Dress like you belong where you are.
  2. The right answer is always YES, except when it’s NO. Growing up is about learning when the answer is NO.
  3. It really is about the dental floss, not brushing or mouthwash.
  4. If a woman is beautiful, tell her. She may never have heard it from anyone before.
  5. Find the shy person at the party and talk to them.
  6. Don’t be the first to speak. Be the person who, when they speak, everyone listens.
  7. You can hear a rock show plenty well with earplugs in.
  8. Respect people’s dietary choices, even if you think they’re insane.
  9. When your car’s brakes make a squealing sound, don’t wait to get them checked.
  10. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes, not the advice of the guys in the business of changing it.
  11. A healthy dose of skepticism is always good, but don’t let it make you cynical.
  12. You will be duped multiple times in your life. Accept it.
  13. Some people you call friends now you will not remember their names in 10 years.
  14. Hold beliefs lightly. Hold them tightly and they will no longer be of value to you or anyone else.
  15. Be smart enough about a subject that you can go 10/10 on a pub quiz about it. Be broad enough that you’re not solely known for going 10/10 on a pub quiz about it.
  16. If you’re an American, live abroad long enough to gain a healthy understanding of how the world sees America.
  17. If you’re not an American, visit the non-touristy parts of America to gain a healthy understanding of how America sees itself.
  18. No matter what sports team you follow, they will always disappoint you far more than they reward you. Choose a team to follow anyway.
  19. Come into a conversation not wanting to impress with your knowledge but your listening skills.
  20. Have a drink you always order at a bar, even if it’s just water.
  21. If you believe your work is so important that you can never take a vacation, you’re wrong.
  22. Focus on what you do best at work and what’s needed. Don’t get distracted by the siren call of work for the sake of work.
  23. Do not work like a sprinter. Work like an endurance runner. Find a pace where you won’t burn out.
  24. If you ever make enough to afford it, pay for a maid service. Clean abodes take one source of worry away.
  25. Accept that no matter how right you feel you are probably wrong.
  26. No one else can understand what Bob Dylan is saying, but he’s still a genius.
  27. Eat something you think is disgusting, just once. If you like it, your world will be changed. If you don’t, you have something to gross people out with next time it comes up in conversation.
  28. They are absolutely right about exercise. A regular constitutional is good for you.
  29. Never turn down an offer to have a meal with someone.
  30. If you hate your job, find another one before the current job makes you bitter.
  31. There is a very good chance the thing that’s so important you had it tattooed on yourself will be wholly unimportant to you later in life. Treat that tattoo as a marker of where you came from and where you’re going.
  32. Read, read, read, but it doesn’t have to all be books.
  33. People think you’re an arrogant, weak, angry, timid, loud, shy, hard-hearted, emotional jerk who cares too much and too little for them, the things they care about, and other people. There’s nothing you can do about it, so live for yourself, not for them.
  34. Defend the weak. The rich don’t need you; they can buy their own supporters with their walking-around money.
  35. Leave everything better than you found it.
  36. Be charitable with your time and money. You don’t have to be the one bringing the change. You can always be the one paying the change-maker’s salary.
  37. You’re not old until people stop saying how young you are when they ask your age. Therefore, always surround yourself with centenarians.
  38. Have goals. Complete them.
  39. Find your passion. Pursue it.
  40. In all things, treat people with more respect and dignity than you would expect them to treat you with.

Honestly, though, litanies of advice are just pointless and stupid bromides from people of a certain age. There are only four things you need to know: GO. LIVE. LOVE. DO.