[Editor's note] Today is my birthday. I have been 27 years old for approximately two hours and forty-five minutes, give or take a few seconds. On the occasion of this relentlessly annual event, I feel it incumbent upon me to share some of the "wisdom" I've gathered along the way. 1) Speak softly and carry a big stick. Be nice, but be firm. Handle people as they handle you. Always try to make them laugh-- And if all else fails, date someone with a big stick.
2) Some friendships are but for a season. Have no doubt that their time with you had meaning and purpose. Sometimes, people come in just to help you learn to say goodbye.
3) Other friendships are forever. Fight time and tide for those because they can and will save your life at least thrice. 4) Read everything. Read often. And for Christ's sake, finish what you start reading! I would recommend you start by reading Tina Fey's book, Bossypants. You'll laugh and you'll learn. 5) Stop eating red meat. Your face will clear up and you'll live to see more birthdays. 6) Start and nurture a hobby. Make yourself an expert on one thing. Collect things. Build things. Make things grow. You'll be a much more interesting person to talk to at the next cocktail party.
7) Let the past go. You survived it, didn't you? So leave it back there and enjoy where you are now. These will be the "good ol' days" eventually. 8) There's a difference between fooling around and being made a fool of. Learn the difference; play the game accordingly. 9) Revel in the happiness of others. Good fortune is more contagious than you think. 10) Give your heart to someone who will be gentle with it. Love and trust are one and the same. Oh and be patient. 11) Promote the arts and donate to NPR. They are not the same things but they both make your world infinitely better. 12) Find, adopt, and proceed to spoil a pet. So much of who you are is defined by how you love something inferior to you. 13) Don't discredit contemporary music. There is unbridled talent out there if you're willing to look hard for it.
14) Go see Cher in concert. You will not be disappointed.
15) Always listen to people with a sympathetic ear. There are a lot of hurt and broken people out there and you will inevitably have to be their cheerleader. Pom poms are optional but strongly encouraged.
16) Try hard to love your parents.
17) And finally, get off your phone and turn off the computer. Document your life less and live life a little more.