Words of 43 Suggestions

Today is my 43rd birthday. I know a lot of people say that with come age comes a lot of experience and changes, but I haven’t noticed a damned thing different than when I was 23 except that I weigh more, greyer and thinning hair and in more pain.

So, let me pass along these words of suggestions. (I don’t like the word “wisdom” because I don’t think living a long life is wisdom. Jerry Seinfeld once said all birthdays do is celebrate us not dying. And just because someone hasn’t died yet doesn’t mean they’re the next Confucius.

  1. It’s never always about you, so don’t make it be. Someone has to stand on the side of the street and watch the participants in the parade. Sometimes you’re in the parade and sometimes you’re watching it.
  2. While the three best words you can say are “Please” and “Thank You,” the three other words you need to say every now and again is “I Don’t Know.” This is a humble way of admitting you don’t always have the answers.
  3. Be your own worst critic. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have self-esteem or too much self-doubt. But you should always think someone else can do it better. I would prefer a mechanic who can tell me he can’t fix my car than one who messes it up. If people you see good at doing something, that’s the way it should be. Don’t get a big head.
  4. You only have to impress yourself. You set your goals. You set your standards. You set your accomplishments. You want to get a medical degree, then go for it. You just want to go to a technical college and be a welder, then go for it.
  5. Whenever someone waves at you, wave back. Sometimes, you’re the person who waves as you make eye contact. It might be what you need and it might be what they need. I once heard of a couple who met as they waved at each other in traffic. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
  6. Pet every dog and cat you can who wants to be petted. Some animals don’t want much human contact. But those that do will make your day better.
  7. It’s okay if you’re a man to not like sports and it’s awesome if you’re a woman to like sports. We all have our own preferences.
  8. Read as many books as you can, regardless of what they’re about. While I’ll admit, you should limit or omit any suggestive material involving racism or white supremacy, but the written word has been around for centuries. If someone likes to read military books and another likes to read non-fiction biographies, then they are opening their minds to a vaster world of knowledge than people that don’t read at all.
  9. You don’t owe your parents anything. You don’t owe them a boat. You don’t owe them a summer house or a winter cabin. They made the choice to have you. They owe you a better world than the one in which they grew up.
  10. Love whoever you want. Marriage is an outdated tradition that was based on business deals amongst parents. If you’re attracted to a member of the same-sex, then go for it. If you’re attracted to transgender people, then go for it.
  11. Life is too short not to tell someone you love them. Tell them when you feel it. Your feelings might get hurt. But at least they’ll know. There’s no point in thinking of what might have been if you don’t take the first step.
  12. There is no set hours of how much sleep you need. If you’re tired, go to bed early. If you want to take a nap on your day off, then do it. But if you’re not sleepy, tossing and turning in bed won’t help. And don’t listen to people critical of when you sleep.
  13. Don’t be superstitious about the number 13. Usually when I had to fill up my Ford Escape, it tops out at 13 gallons. I’ve had it for nine years with only general maitenance work needed.
  14. Never call anyone before 10 a.m. or after 10 p.m. Like I said earlier. People go to bed early. People sometimes sleep in later.
  15. Never talk on a phone more than 15 minutes. I don’t care what you have to say, but you can say it all in 15 minutes. If you go over 15 minutes, you’re just taking up too much of their time.
  16. It’s perfectly okay to send text messages and e-mails to people. Just as the written word has existed for centuries, people often exchanged letters through the mail that took days if not weeks.
  17. Some forms of communication are an emergency or needed, so sometimes you have to call people at certain hours or times, but no emergency is over 15 minutes.
  18. Going back to the first thing on this list, it’s not always about you especially when it comes to calling someone on the phone. Have something very important to say to someone on the other line. No one likes to “just talk” on the phone anymore. If you’re just doing this, then you’re creating problems.
  19. Some of your problems can be solve by your own will. As we get older in life, I find that some people lose that feeling they had growing up when they were associated with a large group of people. So, they join social and civic organizations. Sometimes, these aren’t always the best so if you have to drop them, then it’s better for you.
  20. Quitting is sometimes better than sticking things out. Why stay in a job environment that is toxic? A job is supposed to be a means for you to make money to live. A toxic work environment can be just as hard on your physical and mental well-being as it is on your finances if you leave.
  21. Some relationships don’t work out. Some friendships don’t work out. It happens. But unless someone physically harms you or goes out of their way to tear you down, try to remain amicable.
  22. It is NOT your fault for being in a toxic relationship or abusive relationship. People go looking for others they can control. It’s not your fault. They don’t want a friend or a companion, they want a submissive.
  23. Don’t blame or shame someone for being in a toxic or abusive relationship regardless of how long they’re in it. If it’s only a month, a year or a decade, the important part is they got out and that you were there to support them.
  24. You are the most beautiful person you’ll never see much of. We spend our lives looking at other people so we compare ourselves to them. You should style your hair the way you want. You should wear make-up or choose not to. If someone calls you “ugly,” it probably means they’re just jealous and you’ll always be more beautiful than them.
  25. Don’t starve yourself but don’t gorge yourself. You only get one body in your lifetime and you need to take care of it. If you choose not to eat meat or animal by products, that’s your choice not everyone else. And if you eat meat, that’s your choice and you shouldn’t criticize others who don’t. I covered a birthday party a local Wal-Mart presented for a young girl who had many health problems. The poor little girl couldn’t even eat a piece of her birthday cake.
  26. Money is meant to be spent, not horded. Yes, you should save up as much as you can, but you have to spend it eventually. Also, unless you have an addiction, you really don’t owe anyone an excuse or a reason for what you want to spend money on. I’m not talking about rich people who splurge on golden toilets, but you don’t need anyone else’s approval for spending money. Most people are upset that you’re not spending your money on them.
  27. Treat yourself every now and again. Yes, have a spa day. Buy tickets to a ball game. Go on a trip. Do whatever you can to relax yourself even if it’s just for an hour or two.
  28. If you do go on a vacation trip, don’t criticize the little things that go wrong. Go to the beach and it rains, you still went to the beach. There are people who can’t even take time off of work to have a weekend getaway. Most beach communities have other amenities to get in from the rain.
  29. If you’re ever working at a job in which you have to do too much in order to take time off, it’s best to start looking for a better job. Remember, it’s only a job.
  30. Relationships are tough. There’s a lot of give and take. Despite what you’ve been told, it’s not 50/50 always. Sometimes, you have to do everything while they can’t do much.
  31. Your partners are looking for someone to be with through the good times and the bad. They’re not wanting to be your mother surrogate. Do dishes and things around the house without being asked. No one is going to get mad at you for doing housework.
  32. One person has their way on how to fold the towels. One person is acceptable to change. This is not the hill you want to die on.
  33. Always bring your partner something every now and again. No one ever objects to take-out for dinner. You should know what they like.
  34. All relationships (friendships, domestic partnerships, marriages) are going to have highs and lows, ups and downs. If a person can’t handle you at your worst, they don’t deserve you at your best.
  35. Always call or check with someone before you visit. You’re not allowed to pop in anytime you feel like it. This isn’t a sitcom. And don’t bring new people to someone’s house. If you’re a neighbor and dropping off the wrong mail or it’s an immediate emergency, then that’s fine. But other times, call or check ahead. Also, your home is your home. Unless you’re hosting a big dinner or party, then you need to quit saying things like, “Excuse the mess.” Your cats and dogs are your babies. Someone doesn’t like animals, they shall not pass into your home.
  36. If you have the means, help out a good charity or person in need. Don’t dump food that’s been in your pantry for two years at a food bank. Give them money instead. If you give $10 to someone who needs gas and you never see them again, then they probably used it for gas money. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  37. Set boundaries between your family when you get older and get in a relationship. If your parents or their parents think they can pop in at any time, put a stop to it. Some parents just aren’t willing to let their kids grow up and be on their own.
  38. No one has the perfect job and no one’s job is better than another person’s. We always need people to do certain tasks. We’re all part of a big machine. Someone who is a janitor or a mechanic may have a better health plan than you.
  39. If you eat out at a restaurant, always tip the waiter/server/bartender nicely. You could probably make the same thing at home a lot cheaper but you are paying for their services. If you don’t like tipping, then maybe you should support increasing the minimum wage.
  40. Set boundaries with your kids. You don’t have to be your kids’ friend, but you need to let them have time to be a kid and realize the day will come in which they won’t want to spend time with you. When that day comes, you should let it happen.
  41. Don’t take your bad days out on your partners or your kids. They’re always going to be the people who you will need the most for a hug or a kiss on the forehead to make you feel better.
  42. Watch as many sunrises and sunsets as you can. We’re never promised a tomorrow.
  43. Lastly and finally, live your own life. Don’t live your life to someone else’s expectations. As bad as it sounds, you’ll more than likely outlive your parents and definitely outlive your grandparents. You shouldn’t be basing your relationships or sexual preferences on what would make your dead grandparents happy. Also, things aren’t always permanent. You get so many chances to change and do things over if you do them the right way and wisely. You’re never too old to learn something new or to change the way you’re doing something. Live where you want to live, be with whoever makes you feel the best. If you don’t feel like you’re ready to have kids of your own, wait. You may never be ready. I know a lot of this stuff might have seem repetitive and a little redundant but just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean you’ll have all the right answers.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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