Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Half-way to Half-way to Half of 240

Three. Zero.

Today, I turn thirty. It seems like a big deal to me. I've always thought of 30 as when you really are who you are. You're an adult. You're in your life. There's no more preparing to do what you want to do, just the actual execution. It probably goes without saying (but I'm verbose, so deal with it) that now that I'm actually here, the view seems a little different. There will still be preparation and I'm not ready to take on all the challenges I want to get to in my life. But still, I'm a heck of a lot closer than I ever was before.

So I figured I'd take this time to share some of the things I've come to realize in my 30 years on Earth. No, I won't do a recap of my life. I did that once before (it's hilarious, go read it if you never have). This time around, I'm gonna share some of the wisdom of my many years...

  • The fight about the toilet seat isn't worth it; just put it down.
  • Your parents aren't always right.
  • Your parents are almost always right.
  • Boiling-hot chicken noodle soup, when poured directly into a lap, will cure a concussion.
  • The first rule of cooking is: add more cheese. Period.
  • Revenge is a dish best served cold. With extra cheese.
  • Techno music is awesome if you're driving long distances at night.
  • So are the works of Louis L'amour, in audio format
  • It isn't ego, it's "self-promotion." All the greats were self-promoters. Mike Tyson, Paris Hilton, Stalin. See? I'm in good company.
  • Moleskin journals are a writer's best friend.
  • I should really keep a moleskin with me...
  • The Godfather. Oh. Yeah.
  • There are some people who truly aren't worth arguing with. They're rare, but they do exist.
  • When facing a budget crisis, don't cut the small stuff. For example, a school shouldn't cut music or art or foreign language or extra curriculars. They should cut math or science. Because the person making that decision might well lose their job, but you can be darn sure there won't be a budget crisis a year later.
  • Related to that, don't be afraid to make the hard decisions.
  • Related to that, Pepsi really is better than Coke. But Cherry Coke is the best of all.
  • Don't mess around with the expiration dates on food. Or, conversely, have a good plumber on speed dial.
  • If you don't like the book, just put it down and don't finish it. There are too many good books out there to waste time on bad ones.
  • Being gullible is one of the most minor sins a person can commit. Being cynical is one of the worst.
  • It happens with surprising frequency that the best thing on TV is a cartoon.
  • If you don't stop making that face, it'll freeze that way.
  • You'll probably enjoy most of the classic novels.
  • You definitely won't enjoy all of them.
  • The real goal of a debate isn't to win the argument, it's to to plant a seed for future change. People don't change their mind on the spot, but they do change their mind over time.
  • Be open to change and the seeds that others might sow. Try them out, see if they germinate.
  • But be strong in your convictions too; don't throw aside a tree just because a weed is growing.
  • Enough with the plant metaphor already!
  • Life is too short to listen to Top 40 radio.
  • Don't buzz your hair when you're in high school.
  • Sweatshirts can be magical.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, fall asleep while driving a 15 passenger van.
  • "Be yourself" is trite and annoying. "Be who you want to be" is better (though probably still a little cliche).
  • The definitive D.C. experience isn't a museum or monument; it's Ben's Chili Bowl.
  • If your pet rat dies, the best thing you can do is throw a viking funeral.
  • Sometimes the best thing in life is a cheap beer and a ball game on TV.
  • Sometimes the best thing in life is a fine wine and an opera.
  • Both of those things are made better by occasionally indulging in the other.
  • Big families are indescribably awesome.
  • Italy is at least at great as you think it is, probably better.
  • Don't buy a dark suit in a poorly lit room. You think you're buying black, but it's actually some weird shade of navy.
  • Baseball is the best sport.
  • Don't accidentally call Stone Cold Steve Austin "Cold Stone Steve Austin."
  • Marshmallows are not the most efficient mode of transportation.
  • Have a sense of humor. Don't be easily offended.
  • Everyone can have a few of things that are off-limits to joking, but no one should have more than that.
  • You don't need to learn to tie your shoes if you can learn to walk without tripping over your shoelaces.
  • Being a husband is the best thing in the world.
  • Being a father is even more so.
  • Squirrels can be evil. They know what they're doing, man.
  • There is an infinite capacity for love.
  • I'm not very good at stand-up.
  • On your first day of school, don't pull your pants all the way down when standing at the urinal.
  • Carry your wallet in your front pocket, it's better for your back.
  • If you ever own a motorcycle, instead of a normal helmet, you should wear a storm trooper helmet.
  • I don't quite know how to put this one into words, but, when someone does something bad to you, be like my dad. If you know what I'm talking about, you know what I'm talking about.
  • Brush your teeth well.
  • Bulleted lists are a really easy way around writing something that's actually good.
  • Listen to life. It tells you what to do.
Now if I just follow some of my own advice, the next 30 years should go great!

And on the radio
We heard November Rain


Nate said...

Happy Birthday Matt! I enjoyed a number of things about your post.

-I had a few chuckles.

-I have come upon some of the same insights you offered up on my own.

-I probably learned something, we will have to wait and see if anything germinates.

-I love cheese.

-Bulleted lists are excellent.

-Lay off the squirrels, man, they just want to eat nuts and run around.

-I know what you are talking about with your dad.

annalucille said...

haha, i really enjoyed this. happy birthday biggest brother :)

Krista said...

Happy Birthday!!

marsh76sju said...

Welcom to the old man club! I am grateful that your debates planted the seeds that they did with me. I am also greatful for cheese and looking forward to a dangerouse amount of it on our road trip. Peace be with you....


spookymilk said...

I like Coke more than Pepsi, I think being gullible is much worse than being cynical and I would never under any circumstances drink a cheap beer, but otherwise, this 33-year-old approves of the list.

Matthew B. Novak said...

I disagree about the Coke and the cheap beer. But whatever.

I would fight you about the cynical/gullible part though... ;-)

Seriously though, I think being cynical is worse, because cynicism prevents big change from happening, which prevents the world from being a better place. Being gullible only ever hurts yourself, being cynical hurts others.

spookymilk said...

I love beer, but never, ever cheap beer (maybe we're talking about different kinds of beer here, I guess). I have become an enormous beer snob in the last two and a half years. There's your warning: it started after I turned 30!11!1!

As for the cola wars, I stopped drinking soda almost completely a couple of years ago. Started giving me heartburn. Neither Coke nor Pepsi was ever in the regular rotation.

But cynicism...man, that might be my defining characteristic, and it has never, ever held me back from making positive changes. I have no idea how you're connecting those two dots. I see no correlation there. Bull-headedness seems to be the thing in the way of positive change (or negative, for that matter), not cynicism.

AGJ said...

My anti-list; because that is our relationship...

Get two bathrooms
Parents may be wrong, but you cannot correct them
Cooking still means grilled cheese - especially as a dad.
Techno music still sucks.
Louis L'amour is best read when you need to get to sleep - or when Star Trek does not suffice.
Great Self Promoters: Obama (c'mon, what did you expect?), Ventura, Palin.
Moleskin is best when you have no tp.
Don't argue with me, even though I am right, I am most likely wrong.
When facing a budget - start at a zero sum.
Pepsi is terrible mixed with spirits. Period.
Forget the plumber, buy a real snake.
The cynical person is hiding something, the gullible person leaves it all on the table.
Stick to the point, don't allow side bets.
Sow your own seeds and water them.
Top 40 radio was 20 years ago - get grooveshark.
The best haircut in highschool is a close shave - easier to get the helmet off - and your hair doesn't get tangled in headgear. Unless you play soccer. Then buy shin guards.
Life is a cheap beer and a ball game - with your family beside you.
Marriage is work. The kids are overtime - and vacation all in one.
when someone does something bad to you, be like my dad.
When someone does something bad to your kids, be like my dad and beat the hell out of them.

Great list Matt, I just had to counter for my own sake.

nicole joy frethem said...

I'm actually really sad now that none of my 5 rats got Viking funerals. Guess it's time to get another one.