When you turn thirty years old, people just love to rub it in. Life is dragging you by the ear into adulthood, and all your friends can do is laugh and point as you cry. “Oh-uh! The dirrrrty thirrrrrtyyyy!” Alas, when I hit this birthday benchmark recently, I took stock of my last thirty trips around the sun and pulled together a list of life lessons for my next thirty. Herein lies the last testament of my teens and twenties.
1. Being true to your word says more about you than anything you could possibly say.
2. If you can afford to, always tip 20%. Dreams are built on the service industry, so make a contribution to the karma can.
3. Travel alone at least once a year.
4. Journaling is an effective form of therapy.
5. Always write thank-you notes. You know, like, by hand.
6. Success for the day starts with making your bed. If all else fails, at least you nailed that.
7. Smile often, and when you laugh, milk it for all its worth.
8. Make photocopies of your passport and credit cards.
9. Always know where the US Embassy is located in a foreign country.
10. Do not experiment with psychedelics while doing # 3, otherwise see #8 and #9.
11. Listening is way more important than talking.
12. Cheap suits look pretty good when tailored.
13. Last call is rarely worth making.
14. People love hearing their names said out loud, so do everything you can to remember them.
15. Always be on time, if not early.
16. Keep an overnight bag packed in the trunk of your car, making that dream of spontaneously jumping onto a flight all the more possible.
17. Meditation is probably a really good practice, but it’s so damn hard.
18. Relish in failure. The more comfortable you get being bucked to the ground, the more likely you are to break bigger horses.
19. Hotels have the best public restrooms. (Perhaps that should be #2.)
20. The best way to beat sadness is by doing something for someone else. Volunteer often.
21. Say yes to every opportunity. You already know where “no” will land you. “Yes” is limitless.
22. Eliminate “busy” from your lexicon. You can make time for anything.
23. Identify the people who make you happy and make a point of speaking with them once a week, even if you have nothing to talk about.
24. Engage others; they’re just as shy and self-conscious as you.
25. Become allergic to lying.
26. Work problems aren’t really problems.
27. Never hesitate to compliment somebody.
28. Exercise is key for mental strength.
29. Experiences are more valuable than material things.
30. Family and friends are the ultimate currency of a life well lived.