I am 28 years old today. To some of you that sounds really old, to some of you that sounds really young. To me, it sounds just right. Apparently I am Goldilocks. I will say that I don’t really look forward to my birthdays much anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the attention (I’m a Tony), but I don’t know, it’s just weird feeling older.
Every year after college is weird in it’s own way, but it’s also good. It’s hard for me when I think that Paul McCartney was 28 when the Beatles broke up and Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain died at age 27. That makes me feel like I haven’t done anything with my life by the time some people have done so much. But then I look at other people who were much older before things really started rolling for them.
Jerry Seinfeld was about 36 when Seinfeld first aired.
Lucille Ball was 40 when I Love Lucy started.
Steve Carell was 43 when he became Michael Scott.
Those are all just entertainers, but hopefully you get my point. As I’ve said in other blogs, you can’t compare your life and your timeline of accomplishments to other people’s, you just have to live it out and do the best you can where you are. Success is not money; it’s not even happiness. I’m 28 today and I think I’m right where I need to be.
Normally I try to share with you how I’m learning, but for today—here is a list of 28 things I have learned in my last 28 years of life (in no particular order).
1. Taking the high road is usually the most annoying and hardest, but you sleep better at night.
2. You must have an outlet for your creativity or passions, even if you don’t make money off of it. The people I’ve found to be most unhappy are the ones who aren’t doing what they love doing in any way at all.
3. If you find a cyst on your back, get it removed immediately while you still have health insurance.
4. “People will never go out of business.” At least for me, I don’t want to live a life where my career always wins out in place of my relationships. I’d rather make less money and love more people.
5. Guys, ask a girl out multiple times if you like her. Make her really have to shut you down. You never know how much you could be wearing her down. How many dopey guys do you see end up with amazing women? It’s because they were dumb enough to keep trying.
6. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean not standing up for yourself.
7. Eating all-you-can-eat BBQ after fasting with your mission’s trip team is a horrible idea.
8. (This one was the hardest one for me to realize) There is such a thing as too many shrimp fajitas in one week.
9. You’re probably going to regret trying to grow in your pathetic excuse for sideburns. Some men just will never be able to grow a good beard; you need to be ok with that.
10. Ask God for wisdom. He actually does give it out pretty freely.
11. For all the thousands of people that want to give you advice in life, you should probably only listen to about 2% of them.
12. Women care about the way men smell way more than we realize or prepare for. It’s worth it to invest in some good cologne that girls actually like smelling. And Michael Jordan Cologne doesn’t smell good. Michael Jordan doesn’t even like Michael Jordan Cologne.
13. Sit by the smartest kids in class. Not only will they motivate you to become a better student, they will also help you with your homework, and in many cases just let you copy it word-for-word because they’re tired of trying to explain it to you.
14. Buy a quality car. If you buy one that’s not in good shape you’ll spend just as much money always having to fix it, and you’ll spend too much of your life having to watch soap operas at the mechanics waiting room.
15. Start a band. Even if you all suck at music, start a band. Play for free whenever you get the opportunity. It will be some of the most fun you have in your life.
16. Nothing exposes your insecurity like jealousy and when you act out in anger.
17. It’s all right to be laughed at. I’m a little brother to so many people so I’m used to it. If you get laughed at enough you will become fearless.
18. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations and keep showing up. Some of the best things in my life have come from continually showing up where I didn’t know anyone.
19. (When you’re young) You will usually either have the time and not the money or the money and not the time. Go on some trips.
20. Work a service job. It’ll change the way you treat people.
21. Be an encourager. Go to your friends’ concerts, games, and recitals and support them. Read what they send you. Friends have to support and encourage each other, who else will? Tell people when you enjoyed something they did. Show up to stuff when you’re invited.
22. You have to find time to rest during your week. Do nothing after 2pm on a Sunday. Stay home every once in a while on a Friday night and just read. Rest is awesome and it makes more of a difference than you realize when you’re younger.
23. Write in a journal as much as you can, especially during the harder times in life. If you’re musical, write songs, too. Songwriting is a very cool way to journal.
24. If no one in your family likes who you’re dating, and you like your family, that’s probably a dead give away you should shut it down.
25. You don’t have to change who you are and what you stand for to make friends. If you’re honest and nice and people don’t like you then they are probably pretty terrible people to be friends with.
26. Keep your mouth shut about other people, especially at work.
27. The need to be right all the time will destroy friendships and families. When you apologize, don’t point out what the other person did, too. Take the full blame and hope that they will admit it if they did anything wrong, too.
28. Talk with senior citizens as much as you can. Take notes.
So happy birthday to me. I’m looking forward to 28.