I turned 32 today. My year as a 31-year-old was a big one. I checked off a lot of boxes on the whole “things you’re supposed to accomplish as an American man” list. I got married. I bought a house. I’ve stayed married. It feels like I’ve learned a lot over the past 365 days. Maybe something here will help you. Maybe it won’t. I’m sharing it either way. Enjoy.
1. Marriage is good. I spent most of my young life saying I would never get married. When I met my wife a couple of years ago, I knew I had been lying to myself the whole time. People are meant to have a companion to share exciting times with and to lean on during harder times. It just makes life better.
2. Marriage should be easy. Admittedly, not a ton of experience speaking here and I know some of the old-timers are going to roll their eyes at that one. Sure, I’ve only been married since May and we don’t have children but so far so good. As long as you continue to grow with your partner and realize that maybe, just maybe, there are other ways to do life than the way you have been doing it that aren’t necessarily wrong it will be relatively smooth.
3. Impress the people that are worth impressing. You are lucky if you have 10 people in the world that you really love and really love you back. Some people have more than 10. Others have less. No matter how many of those people you have, worry about their opinions of you and no one else’s.
4. Family is forever. The people who make up your immediate family love you because that’s just what they do. They’ve been with you since the beginning. This is a good thing. Appreciate it. Let’s face it, there are A LOT of times you don’t deserve their love.
5. Don’t let a wedding overwhelm you. Don’t get me wrong. Planning these things is totally overwhelming. However, try to not sweat the small stuff. In a year, the only memories you will have will be the moments you spent with your new spouse and your guests. I promise you won’t care how the tables were decorated.
6. The most important thing in a relationship is that you both hold the same moral values. There are a lot of ways that my wife and I are completely different. However, our deepest held beliefs totally line-up and it serves as the foundation of our love and respect for one another.
7. Avett Brothers are my favorite band.
8. Jason Isbell is a close second and is the greatest songwriter in the world. If you aren’t familiar with these artists, shame on you. If you are and don’t like them, we can’t be friends.
9. There is no better therapy than exercise. Run. Bike. Lift. Do something. Trust me. Immediate self-confidence.
10. You don’t know everything. It is MUCH more likely you don’t know ANYthing. And that’s okay, because nobody else does either.
11. Your parents are human beings. Cut them some slack. Think about how much YOU’VE messed up in your life. They’re no different. When you accept this simple fact, your relationship with them will improve exponentially.
12. For the love of God, put your phone down when you’re having a meal with someone. You’ve been on the blasted thing all day, anyway. If someone is important enough for you to sit down and eat with, then that person is important enough for 30 minutes of your undivided attention.
13. Know why you’re doing something BEFORE you do it. If you’re trying to figure it out later, it’s likely you shouldn’t have done it in the first place.
14. Social media is the worst. Yet, I’m still on it and don’t plan to not be on it (Note to grammar police: I realize that’s a double negative. I don’t care). I’m an addict. You are too. But wouldn’t life be so much better if we didn’t have know everyone’s opinion on everything?
15. If you don’t think you’re addicted to your phone, wait until the next time you are in a group of strangers and don’t get it out.
16. The US Federal Government is in really bad shape. And it’s only going to get worse as long as our elected representatives continue to vote to further their own interests rather than to further the interests of the people.
17. Kentucky is the greatest State in the US. Well, Thrillest.com said it was 3rd, so they were only off by a couple.
18. It is okay to take care of yourself before concerning yourself with others. You can’t be of any value to your loved ones or the rest of the world if you aren’t healthy, well-rested, etc.
19. We should really eat less meat. For your health and for the world. It takes 660 gallons of water to produce one quarter pound hamburger. That’s the equivalent of showering for two months. It’s will blow your mind how many resources are wasted for the sole reason that people like eating meat.
20. The New England Patriots cheat. But they’d still be winning if they didn’t.
21. Liberals tolerate too much. Conservatives don’t tolerate enough. I’m okay being lumped in with the former.
22. I want to know what God’s favorite country was before 1776. Can anyone answer this for me? Seriously. I need to know.
23. You were either better or worse today than you were yesterday. We want instant results but self-improvement happens in really small increments. Don’t worry about a year from now. Be better today than yesterday and the results will come.
24. Be thankful. Every single day. If you are reading this, then you have Internet access. Millions of people across the world woke up this morning after sleeping on dirt and aren’t sure if they’ll have access to water today. The poorest Americans are wealthier than 70% of the rest of the world. We are incredibly lucky.
25. Never take the elevator if you’re going up (or even worse, down) less than three floors. I mean, seriously? This is why people hate our country. It won’t kill you to take the stairs. Or maybe it will. Another reason people hate our country.
26. Meetings are a total waste of time. When was the last time you walked out of a meeting and thought, “Wow. I’m really glad that meeting was called. Very productive, great use of time and lots of useful information.” The answer is never.
27. I like cats. Never thought I would be able to say that. Life is weird.
28. Self-awareness is an incredibly endearing characteristic. I don’t care if you’re a loud, obnoxious asshole. If you know that you’re a loud, obnoxious asshole there will be a part of me that likes you.
29. Participation trophies are the root of all evil. I don’t deserve a trophy for going to work today. Your kid doesn’t deserve one for being on a soccer team.
30. Go to the dentist at least once a year. Trust me on this one. I went way too long between visits.
31. Nothing matters if you aren’t healthy. Trust me on this one, too. I don’t care if you are living the greatest life that has ever been lived. It will go to hell in a second if you fall ill. Invest in your health. Everyday.
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