Today we're doing something unprecedented: giving you a youthful perspective on life and living in 2017, rather than our standard fist-shaking "angry old coot with a bullhorn" perspective.
We're doing this in honor of (and with the indispensable help of) Daughter Jarlsberg, who celebrated her 30th birthday yesterday!
If you'll allow a moment of parental gushing, she's an extraordinary young woman who - among many other accomplishments - has been a National Merit Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa college graduate, Dallas Morning News editorial writer, Symphony Orchestra musician, children's book author, and is a Speech Therapist who has a special gift for working with young children.
She's also faced (and overcome) more than her share of challenges, including significant health conditions, entering the workforce during the "lost generation" of the job-killing Obama economy, and the always-frightening possibility that she could grow up as crazy as her father. Let us all give thanks for the ameliorating qualities of Mrs. Jarlsberg's calming genes and maternal guidance.
With that preamble out of the way, here are 30 Life Lessons that this freshly-minted 30-year-old has picked up along her journey so far. Let us all learn from her wisdom...
1. Nothing good ever comes from clowns.
2. Never try to blackmail a murderer.
3. Have a flashlight in every room - you never know where you're going to be when the lights go out.
4. You can microwave regular oatmeal just like instant oatmeal.
5. Someone doesn't have to be a bad person to still be bad news.
6. Understand statistics - otherwise people will lie to you with facts.
7. Understand personal finance.
8. If you're going to speed when driving, make sure someone else is going faster than you. That's who the police will pull over.
9. Driving and competitiveness should have nothing to do with each other. Let the angry speed demons pass you. My personal zen-like phrase is "be the rock in the river."
10. Life is too short for cheap, crappy toilet paper.
11. One's living space should be both tidy and expressive of your life and personality. This ensures that, when you are murdered, the forensics team and investigators will be able to get a clear picture of your circumstances and thus more likely to catch the killer.
12. Large groups of women can quickly turn into war zones about nothing.
13. There are more sociopaths in the world than you would think.
14. All Christmas lights are beautiful.
15. Prolonged self-pity is a form of narcissism.
16. There is a very tight correlation between parents who refuse to discipline their precious babies and parents that get easily, easily offended.
17. You can generally identify these parents before even meeting them by hearing the 'creative' names of their children. I'm looking at you, Camelot.
18. Even when they make you crazy, having a dog keeps you sane.
19. Stick up for people being bullied. You'll probably end up being bullied too, but no one should have to feel isolated and alone.
20. Very few people tolerate someone making a constant stream of puns. Keep them close and cherish them.
21. Ramen stops being cheap when you have to buy heartburn medicine to go with it.
22. Beware the quiet ones - they are the ones who, when pushed too hard, will lose their minds with rage. As the quiet one, I admit to relishing the look of absolute, pants-staining terror on the faces of those who didn't see it coming. I'm looking at you, jocks who threw french fries at me. ONCE.
23. Running a spoon under hot water, then placing it on a mosquito bite, will instantly stop the itching. I feel sad for all of the summers I didn't know this.
24. Compatibility with your co-workers makes up to 99% of your job satisfaction.
25. Wear comfortable, practical shoes. You never know when the zombie apocalypse will start, and trying to run in strappy stiletto heels is a recipe for disaster.
26. Don't try to hide mistakes. It just makes things harder for everyone.
27. It's nice to have your own theme song. Mine is Academic Festival Overture by Brahms.
28. Never underestimate Japan's power to screw with your mind.
29. Life doesn't owe you a thing.
30. Sometimes, when you get stuck in a routine, it feels like your life is being lived for you. Those are the times to do something a little different - it reminds you that your life is yours. So yeah, I am going to get that third ear piercing! Sorry Mom and Dad!
Good stuff, huh? Feel free to add to this list of useful life lessons - and share 30th birthday wishes - in the comments section!