Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ruminations at Half Life

In a few hours, I'll be 45.

I'm kind of tired of internet think pieces about aging or parenting or any other effing ing that are just banality writ poetic, all clumsily executed universality.  Even if you're not 45, aren't you sick to death of them too?

Well, too bad because I'm fixing to write one and because it's my birthday you should read it and say nice things because it's my birthday.

Did I mention it's my birthday?
Here is my half life assessment,  the thing I am confident that I have learned, my speech to the graduating class of 2014, the bedtime story I tell my daughter. This is my mantra.  You ready?  Here it goes:

Don't be an asshole.

Always remember that the space you occupy is temporary and is shared, and that you are not, either by god or nature, more deserving of stuff than other people.  This awareness will lower stress and aid digestion.  Routine acts of simple kindness make your laundry smell fresher and improve gas mileage.  Not being an asshole puts a shine on life's apple.

I'm not talking about the big stuff. I'm not suggesting you move to Haiti and minister to the poor.  I'm talking about the little stuff.  I'm talking about that time you went to CVS and the clerk was rude and then you bitched about her all day.  Instead of bitching about the clerk at CVS, give her the benefit of the doubt - maybe she was having a bad day; she had cramps and then argued with her kid on the way into work and was late and got stink eye from her boss.  Maybe the last person she waited on yelled at her because he thought the thing he bought should have cost less.  Maybe she wasn't being rude at all and her face just goes that way.

Permanent bitch face is a diagnosable disorder!
Instead of being angry with the rude CVS clerk, be nice to her.  And not sarcastically.  Sarcastic politeness is an asshole move.

I am not calling JVDB an asshole. JVDB is a goddamn national treasure!

When someone cuts you off in traffic, entertain the idea that it was accidental.

Hold the door open for people.

If someone is standing awkward and alone at a party, introduce yourself to them, invite them into your conversation.

If someone tells you that Atlas Shrugged is their favorite book, don't make fun of them in internet comments.  Don't say jerky things in internet comments at all.  Mean internet commenters are the worst.

this is how the world looks at mean internet commenters
If a person leaves a bathroom with toilet paper stuck to their shoe, either tell them or step on it as they walk past.

But mostly, don't be resentful of people.  Don't assume bad action.  Assume good faith.  I'm MIDDLE-AGED now (like for real for real… there's no denying it), so I know: most people really are OK.  Most people deserve your kindness.

While I'm at it: wash your face and moisturize every night and then just moisturize in the morning.  You should probably floss too (my teeth are a mess).   Start doing yoga young so you can maintain some bendiness.  Have good sex, read good books, tell good jokes, eat good food.  Drink lots of water.  Don't get in wordless battle with tailgaters, just let them have the road.  Stop worrying about how fat you are.  Probably don't date someone who tells you they love Ayn Rand.

And be nice.

It's not that hard