I’ll be turning 50 soon. Looking back, I’ve learned a lot of things. Sadly, some things, like how to do long division, or a cartwheel on a balance beam, I’ve forgotten. Others, I know I’ve learned, but can’t for the life of me explain to someone else — like how to parallel park a car or successfully clean dog poop off a toddler.
That said, in almost 50 years, I’ve learned a lot of important things that I think I should share:
Some things are almost always worth investing your time in — studying for final exams, washing a new red shirt separately, flossing. Others, not so much: watching “very special episodes” of Disney Channel tween sitcoms, or standing in a long Black Friday line at Old Navy to save what’s probably $1.50 on a pair of khakis that you’ll spill something on by mid-January.
There are certain things worth splurging on. Eyeliner, ground cinnamon, toilet paper. And others you shouldn’t bother spending a lot of money on — birthday cards, dish towels, kids’ dress shoes. Just trust me on these; I’ve done the research for you.
Eating gross things is probably not going to hurt you. The best example is the boy I knew growing up who regularly ate red crayons in kindergarten. We’ve lost touch, but last I heard, he was a professor at an Ivy League university. I’ve also seen people eat dog food, lip balm and White Castle. They all survived.
You will probably never forget really embarrassing things. During college, I was once at a fraternity party talking to a cute guy. I don’t remember his name or what he looked like, which of my friends I was with, or what fraternity it was. What I do remember vividly is the sight of the piece of gum I was chewing flying out of my mouth and across the room mid-sentence. In my memory, the gum moved in slow motion, and the unnamed cute guy and I both watched it sail across the room and land on the floor. I don’t remember what happened after that, but suffice it to say I’m married now, and it’s not to that cute guy from the fraternity.
You’ll probably have a few regrets, but try and learn from them. I once stress ate almost a whole of a box of Honey Bunches of Oats in one sitting. Then I threw up. And many years ago, I hastily opened a bag of M&Ms for a party. You need to be careful with those things; the bag pretty much exploded all over the kitchen. It was when I was in high school, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my parents had found an orange M&M behind their refrigerator in the last few weeks.
And then there are a few pointers that I just can’t categorize:
- A child under the age of one can’t properly digest a large amount of watermelon.
- When dishwasher directions tell you not to use dish soap, they’re not kidding.
- No matter how old you are, if the ice cream falls out of your cone onto the boardwalk, you’re going to want to cry.
- Just because the dollar store sells steak doesn’t mean you should buy it. This is just common sense, not personal experience.