Birthday Advice

Today is my birthday. I am almost a quarter of the way into this new century after having been alive for more than half of the latter one.

A recent podcast tipped me to a list of gained wisdoms compiled by Wired magazine editor Kevin Kelly on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Herewith, I offer my own list. As always, your mileage may vary:

  1. Never be ashamed of borrowing a good idea, but always hat-tip the source.
  2. Take credit for your successes and responsibility for your losses.
  3. Eat a good breakfast.
  4. Make time to be with friends.
  5. Make as much time to be alone.
  6. No matter how smart you think you are, it’s not enough.
  7. Everything breaks, including people.
  8. Nothing you’ve fixed, whether it’s a software conflict or an education system, stays fixed forever.
  9. It’s likely that many people think more highly of you than you do of yourself.
  10. To keep your body alive, walk; to keep your mind alive, read.
  11. No win is worth hurting someone.
  12. Take care of your teeth.
  13. You will never feel as old as your face looks.
  14. The past is gone. Get over it.
  15. Being successful often depends more on where you were born, your economic level, and your race than how hard you worked. It’s a lottery.
  16. That said, work hard. It feels good.
  17. Learn another language. It will change your life.
  18. When someone speaks to you in their second, or third, language, listen closely. This person is doing the work.
  19. Resumes are useless.
  20. Always listen to your gut – even if all it tells you is that it’s time to eat.
  21. Sleep more rather than less.
  22. If you get the upgrade, take the window seat so no one climbs over you while you sleep. If you don’t, take the aisle so you have the extra legroom.
  23. Good shoes are worth the extra money.
  24. No one cares about your version of God.
  25. If it seems too good to be true, it is.
  26. When you interview someone for a job don’t ask them what they’ve done, ask them: What do you know how to do?
  27. Failure is an option.
  28. Don’t eat crap food.
  29. If you’re an addictive person, get it out of your system when you’re young. Aging is hard enough without a habit.
  30. Don’t lie – especially not to yourself.
  31. If you say you will do something, do it – whether it’s make a phone call or love somebody.
  32. Keep children in your life. They don’t need to be yours.
  33. Stuff is fun, but it’s just stuff.
  34. Learn how to do something really well that is not your work.
  35. Sometimes pain is nothing more than a reminder that you’re alive.
  36. When given a choice, take happiness.
  37. Apologize as needed.
  38. Hug whenever possible.
  39. When you’re talking to someone from another culture and don’t understand them, chances are they don’t understand you either.
  40. Success cannot be sustained simply by doing what made you successful.
  41. Yes, young people don’t know what you know, but neither do you see as wide a horizon they do.
  42. Inexperience is a teaching opportunity.
  43. If you have more than you need, start giving.
  44. After a conversation with someone, if you don’t know more about that person that when you started then you didn’t ask enough questions.
  45. Why is more important to understanding than who, what, when, or where.
  46. Eat food that seems weird to you. At least once.
  47. It is not necessary to like everything – books, music, food, whatever. Not everything is for everybody.
  48. A good sunrise can erase a night of bad dreams.
  49. Stretch.
  50. If you mother’s alive, call her often. She won’t always be there.
  51. Take nothing for granted.
  52. No one likes a complainer. If you need help, ask. Otherwise, work the problem.
  53. A smile is the best greeting.
  54. Please will open almost any door; thank you will keep it open.
  55. Try before you buy.
  56. Everyone is dealing with something you know nothing about.
  57. Kindness multiplies.
  58. Aging requires you to ignore your body most of the time, except when its most critical. Learn how to tell the difference.
  59. When you’re young, take chances; when you’re older, use the lessons learned from those chances.
  60. Don’t assume that everyone – or even anyone – thinks like you.
  61. Learn the names of as many plants and animals as you can. You’ll feel smarter when you’re outdoors.
  62. Have a bad habit that doesn’t hurt anyone else (mine are tortilla chips).
  63. Words have consequences. Choose with care.
  64. Children believe what adults tell them. Honor their innocence.
  65. What happened yesterday does not have to happen again today. Change is both possible and inevitable.
  66. Listen more.
  67. You have no control over what other people do – even if those things make you feel terrible. Your only choice is to do things that make you feel good.
  68. Having money is better than not having money, but sometimes the greatest rewards come from doing something for free.
  69. Look out the window each morning. What you see might be your last day alive. Then get going.
  70. Tell someone you love them every day.
  71. Say something nice to everyone you meet. Small talk produces big rewards.
  72. Be grateful you’re here – at any age. So many aren’t.
  73. Don’t look back. It’s what ahead that matters.

3 thoughts on “Birthday Advice

  1. Happy Birthday Tim.

    Each delicious nugget of wisdom is better than the next. I’m of an age myself and will add take care of your feet, particularly las mujeres. Cheers to you.

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