45 years, 45 lessons

Photo by Alexandre Debieve via Unsplash

Today is my 45th birthday. This is older than I ever thought I would be. I’m not maudlin. It’s just that as a boy, I imagined being 16 and getting to drive or 21 and buying beer legally for the first time.

I did not imagine what 45 is like. That’s for the best. Age is a series of increasingly difficult indignities that ultimately result in death.

Our elders can tell us about the aches and pains that pile up with the decades. But when you’re 45, you feel the truth of it.

Innocence is beautiful. That’s an important life lesson.

Here are 45 random nuggets I’ve dug up in 45 years:

  1. The delete key is your best friend. Failure to use it judiciously will lead to some of the worst days of your life.
  2. Never apply for a credit card.
  3. To quote Tom Baker, the fourth actor to portray the lead character in “Doctor Who:” “Growing up is no fun if you can’t be childish sometimes.”
  4. Love people for who they are, not for who you would wish them to be.
  5. Own your mistakes.
  6. You can’t fix everything. You can’t fix most things. Many times, the best thing you can do is shut up and listen.
  7. Avoid gerunds in writing. They make perfectly fine verbs bland.
  8. Everyone with a smartphone should have the Merriam-Webster dictionary and thesaurus app.
  9. Caveat to No. 8: There should be a Constitutional amendment banning stories or speeches that begin “Webster’s dictionary defines …”
  10. Apologies should be offered with sincerity, but without expectation of response or acceptance.
  11. Mrs. Liechty was right: My failure to learn grammar, spelling and syntax did haunt me for the rest of my life.
  12. However, I still haven’t found a use for the geometric maxim “corresponding parts of congruent triangles are congruent.”
  13. Take care of your health before it becomes a life-threatening issue.
  14. Take care of your mental health before it becomes a life-threatening issue.
  15. Given a choice between content and happy, I choose content. It lasts longer.
  16. It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to be sad. Life is pretty scary and sad sometimes.
  17. You’re an adult. No one else is responsible for your emotions or attitude.
  18. You never really know what is going on in the houses of your family, friends and neighbors.
  19. You never really know what kind of day someone is having.
  20. It’s OK not to like everyone.
  21. I saw this on a personality test years ago and it has always stuck with me: Love is never enough, but it sure helps.
  22. If you are not religious and someone offers to give you their testimony, try to remember that by their belief system, the kindest thing they can do is tell you about their beliefs.
  23. Never turn down thoughts or prayers.
  24. We are all more prejudiced, sexist and racist than we think we are.
  25. I don’t immediately know what I think about some things and I am suspicious of those who do.
  26. Nobody is all one thing all the time.
  27. Variety may be the spice of life, but it can lead to terrible indigestion.
  28. If Jesus returned to Earth today, I think he would act very much like the late children’s television host Fred Rogers.
  29. Honorable people disagree.
  30. You don’t owe anyone an argument.
  31. This country would be a much better place if people embraced the political philosophy of Clint Eastwood, former mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. “Everyone leaves everyone else alone.”
  32. There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If you enjoy it and it brings you happiness and it doesn’t hurt anyone, than that’s just pleasure. Like what you like.
  33. I am a lot more sensitive than I care to admit.
  34. I am a lot more selfish than I care to admit.
  35. “You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya can hit. It’s about how hard ya can get hit and keep moving forward.” — Rocky Balboa
  36. When you fight a war against yourself, you always end up the loser.
  37. Never apply for a credit card. That’s right. It’s on here twice. Don’t do it.
  38. I am an introvert and that’s OK. I used to go to parties and be miserable. Then I was mad at myself for not enjoying things everyone else seemed to like. Then I learned about introverts. Now I don’t go to parties and I am happier.
  39. “Stay fit. Keep sharp. Make good decisions.” — Louis Tully, “Ghostbusters 2.”
  40. The news media hype stories of fear, anger and tragedy to make you feel weak, sad and, most of all, to keep you watching. Unplug.
  41. Sometimes things don’t work out despite the best intentions and tremendous effort.
  42. However, sometimes they do work out, so go hard on every trip to first base.
  43. The internet and social media aren’t the problem. They’re the megaphone for the ugliness inside our society.
  44. “You need to calm down.” — Taylor Swift.
  45. Default to kindness.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.


  1. Reading your No. 1 of 45 random nuggets, Dan, made me immediately think of something the late Larry Fruhling said to me when I was telling him about my struggles with writing and its problems. “Words are treacherous.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Allison says:

    Words to live by


  3. Holly says:

    Happy birthday, another excellent piece, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah says:

    I respect you so much! Thank you for facilitating my thinking and rethinking. Your honest words bring me joy and stimulate conversation in our home. You are a gift.


  5. Ronald Hurd says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! 🇺🇸☺💕🎼🎶🎶🎶🎶🎹🎹🎤


  6. droll53 says:

    This is beautiful!

    Happy Birthday.


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