Notes On The Occasion of My 40th Birthday

I’ve been trying to think of some deep and considered advice I could give to whomever reads this as I officially pass the point where the end is closer to the beginning.  Most of what I wrote (this is not the first draft) are the same bromides you can read in the better greeting cards.  So here it goes. By the way, since I woke up this morning the line from Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage”, “The lunatic is on the grass,” has been flowing through my mind.  Not the whole song.  Just that one line.  Anyway

Find that one thing you love and do it.  If you can do it for money that’s great.  If you can’t do it for money, do it anyway.  Have things in your life that give you pleasure and that you make time to do not just find time to do.  You need something that takes your mind from the griminess of the real world or at the very least puts in perspective and helps it make sense in your mind.

It is OK to be a selfish asshole on occasion.  This is a hard thing for a lot of people to learn.  You are taught from an early age to not be selfish and to think of others before yourself.  At some point in your life you will have to walk your own path and many people around you won’t understand it. Learning how to say no is a very important and underrated skill.  It will keep you from going down a lot of dead end roads.

Find a job where the people you work for don’t think paying you means they own you.  Especially when you are younger, you will have jobs where you are low man in the pecking order and sometimes people will treat you like you are sub-human.  Leave those jobs as soon as you can.  Life is too short to deal with jackasses like that.

Now, after you have done all that selfish stuff to find your happiness, remember you still have to pay rent and put food on the table. That means there will be times you have to suck it the hell up and do what you have to do and work where you have to work.  Just make sure you give yourself a plan to get in and to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.

Speaking of plans, you don’t need a step by step plan for your life.  Mostly, because life will get in the way of that plan and blow it up, also, what do you do once you reach the end point of your life’s plan?  You do however need goals and you need to stay mindful of your decisions and how they affect achieving those goals.  Some people work great with plans, some don’t. For those that don’t (like me) two goals are all you need:  Where do I want to live and how do I want to live.  Once you figure those things out, you’ll fill in the details along the way as long as you stay mindful of all the decisions you make and how they point you in those two directions.

Finally, whenever you are about to use the bathroom, always, always, always check to make sure there is enough toilet paper before you sit down.

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