I am 39 years old today.
One year removed from "old" standing on the precipice of obsolescence I humbly submit the following 39 thoughts:
Life is too short to read bad books. If you are reading a novel and 1/3 of the way through it is terrible, put it down. Non-fiction gets a bit of a pass as there is learning to be gleaned.
Read people you agree with for pleasure, read people you disagree with for edification.
Understand why you admire whom you admire. It shows your true values.
The things you've always been interested in learning, learn them. Start today.
Take care of your body. You are it, and it is you.
Exercise should be fun. (Re)learn to play.
Having children will reaffirm everything you know about yourself. Some of these lessons will be unpleasant.
No one has the capacity to make you more angry or bring you greater joy than your own children.
Pay attention to your breathing.
Everything you think you know or are good at, there is someone better. Keep practicing, learning, expanding.
Don't excuse the things you can't do because of the number of years you've existed. Too many or too few, doesn't matter. Your abilities are yours to manipulate.
Don't know or don't care where you're going? any road will get you there.
What are your goals? What are the steps to those goals? what are your actions? do they line up?
Amend 'I can't' with a 'yet' or by admitting that you don't want to do that thing enough to get it done.
It is acceptable to say "I'd like to do that, but it's not worth the effort."
Stand on the shoulders of the giants in your areas of interest. People have done the things to which you aspire, find out who they are and figure out how they've done it.
Start at the beginning. If you aspire to be a world class powerlifter, but can't do a push-up start there. Do not start with a world class plan for a novice.
When seeking instruction, let people know what you know. However, don't presume your expertise in a tangentially related subject makes you any less of a novice.
Stay the course longer than you think, but when it's time to change let go completely. I see this all the time with programming. People either hop from plan to plan every two weeks, or do the same thing regardless of progress.
Be honest where it counts. Particularly with yourself. I know people who are outwardly honest to a fault. They wield their 'honest opinions' like a cudgel, but constantly lie to themselves. Start by being honest with yourself.
The internet as we know it has created a strange issue. We gain access to a level of information unfathomable to our grandparents, we also get access to bad ideas unscrutinized. Often this comes from people, experts in one field, postulating outside of their own garden. Look closely for agenda, and take the time to read refutations honestly.
Make friends with your critics. Don't confuse disagree with dislike. The inverse is also true.
Don't confuse ad hominem attacks with criticism. Critics will have refutations, not insults.
All specialists sacrifice something to their specialty, no generalist will come close to the ability of a specialist in their discipline of choice. Weigh the merits of each.
The older you get, the less you can specialize.
The younger you are the less you should specialize.
The NFL, NBA, NHL, NRL, MLB, UFC probably aren't going to call. And that's ok.
There is no "friend zone." In spite of what movies and TV may have told you, persistence in the face of overwhelming disinterest is not attractive.
Ask him/her out in an easy non-confrontational way "hey, would you like to go out sometime? here's my number" and then let it go. You don't need validation from someone else, get your own life, you'll be more interesting to people you find attractive if you have stories to tell.
It has to be acceptable to not be an expert in everything.
Take the long view. Training, learning, sport.. think in terms of a career not a workout, paper, or match. or even a block, class, or season.
Find one food you really like and perfect a recipe for it. Study and deconstruct it. Make it your signature.
If you play a sport competitively, play a pick up game at a different position. You'll learn something.
We've always done it this way, is not a valid reason for choosing a methodology.
People who say 'always' and 'never' are generally wrong.
Learn how to swim, change a tire, cut off the water to your house, the basics of survival, and the workings of an internal combustion engine.
Don't go into the wilds without a knife, first aid kit, fire starting materials, metal container and 1 more layer of clothing than you think you will need at the very least. If you live somewhere cold, or dry you may need more than that.
Try to be nice.
Be mindful, understand why you feel what you feel, let go of the things that you're not doing in the current moment. Take notes, and use reminders to help you let go of things not in the present moment.
Here's to another year.