Photo by Flickr user El Bingle
This article originally appeared in the February 2009 issue of Memphis magazine.
Even seven years later, 40 is a big birthday. In the spirit of the magazine's 40th anniversary, here are 40 life tips to consider, nuggets of wisdom that just might help the trip to 50 (and beyond) go a little smoother.
Hall of Fame baseball player Satchel Paige famously had his "Six Rules for Staying Young." (The most memorable: Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you. ) Well, I'm turning 40 next month, and as midlife wraps (squeezes?) her loving arms around me, I feel the least I can do is share my own nuggets of wisdom for those on either side of the Great Four-Decade Divide.
These rules, mind you, are not made to be broken.
1. Smile when you say hello.
2. Never kick a sand castle.
3. Always have a frisbee in the trunk of your car.
4. There are three gifts a parent must give a child: love, confidence, and an education. Yes, these are gifts.
5. Read the prescription label. And ask questions.
6. However you measure wealth, multiply it by pi and you have the value of your child's smile.
7. The most important skill in business: listening. The most neglected skill in business: listening.
8. The most exciting play in sports: a bases-loaded triple.
9. When there are no words, don't force them. Just be there.
10. Pay attention to your tires and brakes. And remember these words: "Just an oil change, please."
11. Save room for dessert. And share dessert with someone you love.
12. The person you want to be with on your saddest day... that's the person you marry.
13. A locker partner is a friend for life.
14. Never leave the room on a punt return. Most plays in football can be seen one week after the next. A punt return taken to paydirt... that's a gem.
15. Tolerance is a virtue. Next time you're really angry in line, take a breath. And try this: consider places you'd rather not be.
16. When in doubt, Led Zeppelin.
17. Never make fun of another man. (Thanks, Granddad.)
18. Two keys to a long life: don't smoke and wear your seatbelt.
19. Tell her she's beautiful.
20. Invest money when you feel like you can't afford to. (Thanks, Dad.)
21. If car keys are in your pocket, stop at two beers. Soda makes a good chaser.
22. A bad movie is lost reading time that can't be recovered.
23. Finish the job on time.
24. Worrying doesn't change yesterday or help tomorrow. It only ruins today.
25. Hold hands at the altar.
26. Don't be afraid of Monday. Saturday's on the way.
27. Eulogize your parents. No one knew them better.
28. Be nice to the receptionist.
29. The words own and owe: one letter, BIG difference.
30. Fatherhood is easy. Parenting is hard.
31. Expect the best. Be prepared for the worst.
32. A hug is worth a week of "I'm sorry."
33. A foot massage is worth a month of "I'm sorry."
34. There are times we need to believe in something larger than ourselves.
35. The world is a big place. See as much of it as you can.
36. As painful as it is, death does not end a relationship. Shared memories are a slice of immortality.
37. The secret to a happy family: two bathrooms.
38. DiMaggio's hitting streak will never be surpassed. Don't waste your time with the debate.
39. No one should challenge you more than you challenge yourself.
40. Smile when you say goodbye. However hard it may be.