I was born late at night, on November 11, 1978, and it has taken me the entire 41 years since to learn these 12 things. I wish I had learned them all sooner, but at least I learned them.
1. Do something kind for someone who can’t do anything for you—as often as possible. That’s the best way to keep yourself from turning into a jerk over the long haul.
2. Drink more water. It’s what you’re made of, God made it for you, and where there’s water there’s life.
3. Don’t be stingy when tipping your waiters and waitresses. They handle your food, they listen to your complaining, they’re on their feet all day, and they get paid crap. Five extra bucks is a small price to pay for letting a complete stranger know that you appreciate them.
4. Spend more time with your parents. Talk to them, listen to them, make their lives easier if you can. They’re going to be gone one day, and you’ll wish you had done more with them.
5. Get a dog. Keep it close to you. Their loyalty, their love, and their unwavering devotion cannot be adequately replicated by human beings, and they are remarkable testimonies of what we’re supposed to have for God.
6. In the words of Brandon Flowers, “Smile like you mean it.” You only have so many smiles available to you. Don’t waste them.
7. When you’re meeting someone for dinner, leave your phone in the car. You’ll survive without it for an hour or two, and nothing says, “You’re important to me,” like putting the rest of the world on hold.
8. Take Monday Morning by the gonads. If you have 6:30 AM Monday by the short and curlys, you’ve got the rest of the week too.
9. The right girl (or guy) for you, is the person you can tell all your deepest secrets to without reservation. If you can’t be completely honest with that person, then they’re not the right person for you. If you can’t see yourself being completely honest with anyone, then you’re not the right person yet.
10. Read or listen to the Bible from cover to cover at least once. There’s a reason why Jesus said that, “Man does not live on bread alone.” There really is nothing else like it in all the world. Also, there is more of them in print than any other book in existence, so they should never be hard to find.
11. Be yourself, even if it’s painful, even if no one cares, and even if the whole world gets mad at you for it. There’s only one of you. God made you. He loves you EXACTLY the way you are. And no one else can do anything about that.
12. Learn when to shut up.