On turning 42.

“The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything… Is… Forty-two,’ said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I chose that particular quote above because I figured that I would be 42 years old before I finally figured it all out.

Accordingly, here are 42 life lessons I have learned.

  1. Nobody has it all figured out. Not even you.
  2. There’s always someone ahead of you and someone behind you. Be kind.
  3. If you’re alive, healthy, and have money, stop bitching.
  4. If you’re not any of the above, do whatever it takes to fix it. WHATEVER it takes, including becoming a zombie.
  5. If you haven’t been out in the sunshine yet today, go.
  6. A cup of tea, a good book, and a recliner on a rainy Thursday afternoon, round about 2 in the afternoon, is good for the soul.
  7. Value work. To work is to be able to create.
  8. At the same time, value yourself. Do not work yourself overmuch.
  9. Exercise.
  10. Eat well.
  11. Learn to cook at home. This allows you to buy better quality ingredients. You save no time by eating out. None.
  12. If you must eat out, eat foods you normally wouldn’t prepare at home.
  13. Simplify your life. Keep only what you need for your own sanity and happiness. The rest is fluff and will drag you down.
  14. Don’t hold grudges. It’s not worth it. Clear the air and solve it, or move on.
  15. You don’t control anything other than your own reactions. And even then, that’s questionable.
  16. Stop trying to please anyone else. You will fail.
  17. Stop trying to be happy. What you REALLY want to be is content.
  18. Remember that people react to you based on THEIR perceptions, not yours. This might sound myopic, but learn to recognize that not everyone is going to like you and get along with you. Find those people and get them out of your life.
  19. Savor every moment you get with people. You never know when it might be their last. Or yours.
  20. Plan your future…
  21. … but realize that your plans must either be adaptable, or else disposable. Plans will not last more than the first engagement of battle.
  22. Wear sunscreen.
  23. If you are an extrovert — learn to appreciate time alone.
  24. If you are an introvert — learn to appreciate being with others.
  25. Understand that very often what people are trying to say isn’t what they’re trying to say.
  26. The truth is never any one side’s perception.
  27. Try to discover, in any dispute, what the real problem is; you will find that most people’s arguments have nothing to do with the real cause, and most people’s answers are never the solution.
  28. Avoid drama like the plague it is.
  29. Appreciate beauty.
  30. When faced with an opportunity, whether it is small, or of a lifetime, do it. Don’t ask. Don’t hesitate.
  31. In fact, Nike’s advice is sound: Just Do It.
  32. You have a brain. Use it as often as you can.
  33. Learn.
  34. Don’t stop educating yourself.
  35. You will find yourself growing more conservative as you grow older. The reason is that you realize that your choices should only affect you and your immediate family.
  36. Therefore, be tolerant.
  37. Don’t assume because you do or like a thing that everyone should do or like a thing.
  38. Don’t assume you are alone. You are never alone.
  39. Figure out as fast as you can what really matters in life. Waste no time on those things that don’t matter.
  40. Laugh.
  41. Live.
  42. Love.