Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons Learned. An Open Letter to My Sons

Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons Learned. An Open Letter to My Sons

Dear Alex, Kyle and Jack:

On the occasion of my 60th trip around the sun, I’m moved to share lessons learned. And while self-indulgent, for sure, perhaps you’ll find veiled advice for living a robust life. Would I have uncovered on average one new morsel per year, mine has been a bountiful existence.  In that spirit, here then are 60 that have influenced my journey:

  1. Life isn’t fair.
  2. It moves quickly, except when paying a car loan.
  3. Life-long learning is a cornerstone to fulfillment.
  4. Thoreau got it.
  5. Pay more for good shoes.
  6. Take care of your body.
  7. Blessings come in many forms. They all count.
  8. Gene Simmons is the smartest marketer I’ve met.
  9. Hard work germinates inspiration.
  10. Dogs are smart. Horses are not. Cats are obnoxious.
  11. Always take double odds.
  12. Pity the poor reader.
  13. Travel.
  14. Your parents are human.
  15. Life without a spiritual foundation is difficult and empty.
  16. Once an adult, always a son.
  17. It’s nobler to tolerate being slighted in the name of balancing centuries of inequality and misogyny.
  18. Father of the Groom is a satisfying supporting role.
  19. The cold beer after mowing the yard is the best.
  20. The Republic will survive any administration.
  21. John Wooden was inspirational.
  22. Plaid goes with nothing.
  23. Sunscreen is overrated.
  24. Burns are second only to heartbreak on the pain meter.
  25. I wasn’t put here to judge.
  26. You have one mouth and two ears. Listen twice as much as you talk.
  27. The value of cold showers is all hype.
  28. Know your grandparents.
  29. The government can’t be trusted.
  30. You’re weighed by how you respond to failure.
  31. Freedom of speech is freedom for the speech you hate.
  32. Don’t date Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift.
  33. Kindness counts.
  34. Pursue excellence.
  35. Perfection is a fortunate happenstance.
  36. Meditation is underrated.
  37. If you’re lost in nature, don’t move.
  38. Reality disrupts your dreams.
  39. You’re going to get conned.
  40. Sleep is the ultimate dichotomy — both sublime and intrusive.
  41. If you’re old enough to die for your country, you’re old enough to buy a beer.
  42. Raising children is the most creative thing you can do.
  43. Jackie Robinson was remarkable.
  44. Public service is an obligation, not an option.
  45. Only flip burgers one time.
  46. Drink the good stuff.
  47. When someone offers you their beer, don’t criticize the selection.
  48. Own a sports car at least once.
  49. Three prepositions, maximum, in any given sentence.
  50. Human fallibility is what makes sports great.
  51. Crunchy is better than smooth.
  52. Someone loving someone you love with all their heart is epic.
  53. Make one Bible verse and one Chinese proverb your own.
  54. Life’s too short to do business with assholes.
  55. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
  56. Things with the most value are those you can’t buy.
  57. You can’t read too many books.
  58. Fasting is good for the soul, too.
  59. When in doubt, pray.
  60. Your mother is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

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