So my birthday is today. I’m celebrating my fortieth. Well, technically my fortieth was last year, but I was pregnant and had just moved to a new state where I had no friends – so I decided to skip it. I was going to skip it again this year because not much has changed besides a baby exiting my uterus, but I decided that would probably be ridiculous.
So, happy fortieth birthday to me, I guess. Okay – I’m forty-one. Whatever.
The numbers themselves can scare you a little, but getting older is really not that bad. You’re smarter, people tend to mess with you less, and you feel justified being a total know-it-all. Those are all good things. But I started to really think about why I was happy to be stepping firmly into my forties – not just loitering around my late thirties anymore. Pamela Druckerman inspired this train of thought. Maybe you are familiar with her; she authored the book Bringing Up Bebe, about what it was like to raise a small child in France as an expat. She wrote a poignant, wonderful essay in the New York Times this weekend about what getting older means to her. You should read it.
She started me thinking about all the reasons why I am glad to be where I am now. Sure, I would like the rock-hard butt and amazing boobs I had in my early twenties. I would also love the fearlessness and freedom I had. But I’m embracing this new decade because I’ve decided I’m kind of a bad ass. I’ve had a lot of hard times – but they have all brought me to this place I am today. And it’s not a bad place. Getting older isn’t so bad, people!
So I’ve decided to share some of my
totally random ideas that may or may not be good wisdom, just to get you thinking about all the random wisdom you’ve gathered – whether you’re 22 or 52. We tend to forget that every, single day we pick up some kind of real “life hack.” Here are some of mine:
1. Never date anyone who doesn’t have names entered into their phone. This person is a liar and is hiding something.
2. Don’t rest your gum on the rim of your can of Diet Coke. It’s fucking disgusting.
3. Try to say something nice to someone who drives you a little nuts – even if it’s just in your head.
4. Call your mother.
5. When your friend calls you sobbing because she caught her boyfriend cheating, never say I knew it!
6. Don’t buy jeans that you can’t comfortably sit down in, convincing yourself you will lose the extra 10 pounds it will take to be able to sit down in them without half of your ass spilling out the back.
7. Never agree to a second date with someone who is mean to the waitress.
8. If you have the choice between a side salad and french fries at a shitty diner – always get the fries.
9. Speaking of shitty places, don’t ever get fruit in your cocktail at a dive bar.
10. Speaking of booze, a dirty martini that isn’t made in a fancy restaurant or bar will almost always be made with the olive juice the bartender has repeatedly stuck his fingers in. Skip it.
11. If you’re having trouble sleeping, listen to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
12. An entire lemon squeezed into a cup of hot water will cure almost anything that ails you.
13. Don’t ever take the wind out of anyone’s sails. If someone you know accomplishes something impressive – always acknowledge it.
14. Try to remember that someone else’s success will never affect your chances of being successful yourself. Jealousy is a pointless energy-drain.
15. Buy a really nice red lipstick and wear it when you’re feeling down.
16. Lie about your age if you feel like it.
17. Don’t waste your time trying to change someone’s political opinions.
18. Hide all of your friends who post bikini pics on Facebook – or whatever else that annoys you.
19. Always give people younger than you a break. It’s helpful to try to remember what you were like at that age – more often than not you’ll actually be impressed with how great they are.
20. You don’t have to be a hugger or be comfortable saying “I love you” – but think about a way that you can make people understand how much you care for them – and do it more.