46 Life Lessons for My Children

It’s my birthday and, now I have passed the threshold of 45 years, I’ve decided – in the manner of the excellent and worldly Quindon Tarver’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen” – to share what I have learned up to now. This is for my kids, but you can read it too.

  1. A good ice-cream scoop saves a lot of spoons.
  2. Be nice, unless you’re given a really good reason not to be.
  3. Apologies mean nothing if you’re just going to keep doing things the same way.
  4. Eating less of something you love but is not good for you is better than giving it up entirely.
  5. Exercise: 20 minutes a day is a good start.
  6. Your opinion of yourself matters more than other people’s – but if everyone thinks you’re a jerk, that should be treated as a red flag.
  7. Friends don’t have to be for life.
  8. Love something or someone more than you love yourself. I recommend a dog.
  9. You can stop reading a book before the end.
  10. You don’t have to have a favorite book/movie/song.
  11. Give as much weight to compliments as you do to criticism.
  12. Learn to cook.
  13. Eventually, you should come to understand that giving is better than receiving.
  14. The payoff to looking after your teeth takes a long time to come…but it will come.
  15. Be as hard on your own beliefs as you are on those of people you disagree with.
  16. Finish what you start – even if that means only starting small at first.
  17. Get that thing looked at.
  18. It’s possible to be both right and a jerk.
  19. You have a long time to decide what your life is for…but not forever.
  20. Never stop reading books.
  21. Find a way to eat a little fruit every day.
  22. Blame, resentment, and hate are self-destructive. Spit them out rather than swallowing them down.
  23. Your friendship is a gift not an obligation.
  24. Plan for your future, but don’t be trapped by it.
  25. It’s OK for other people to be wrong.
  26. It’s OK to be wrong…but it’s not OK to keep being wrong.
  27. Get out of the house – and out from inside your head – more than you want to.
  28. Choose your role models carefully – and consider their faults as much as their good points.
  29. Find time to do the things you’re good at, even if it’s just a little every week.
  30. Sometimes, there is no right choice.
  31. Never stop learning.
  32. Never stop wanting to learn.
  33. “Over-rated” just means something one person doesn’t like that other people do.
  34. Always have the chocolate ice cream. Even with apple pie.
  35. Who you are with matters as much as what you are doing.
  36. Sleep matters.
  37. Appreciate what others do for you – and let them know they’re appreciated.
  38. Eventually, experiences will matter more than things.
  39. Don’t spend too much time arguing with anyone – especially on the Internet.
  40. Mow a lawn occasionally.
  41. Grow beyond the limitations of your upbringing.
  42. Experiment with alternate realities if you must, but always come back to Earth.
  43. Learn about herbs and spices.
  44. The right words matter.
  45. A soulmate is a person who loves you for who you are, and who keeps loving you as you change.
  46. Oh, and sunscreen, obviously.

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