Today, I celebrate my 35th birthday.  Or, as I like to refer to it, “the end of the first third of my life.” Here are some Casual Observations from my first 35 years.

  • Laughter is the best medicine.  It’s not always the most effective – insulin is much more effective for treating diabetes, for example – but it’s free, and it can be used to treat any ailment known to man.
  • When I was younger, I always assumed that the Challenger disaster would be the dominant news memory of my lifetime.  In fact, I had the foresight to save two newspapers from the next day.  Then came 9-11 and took Challenger down a notch.
  • I am now old enough to run for president.  I think I’ll take a pass on that for the moment.
  • Fantasy baseball teaches some great skills.  Most notable are negotiation and scarcity of resources.  A shortstop who hits 40 homers is worth a lot more than an outfielder with a similar offensive skill set.
  • Everyone should hike in the mountains and play in the ocean at least once in their life.  I’m what swim coaches refer to as a “drowner”, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ocean at Daytona Beach.
  • You have some control over the stress in your life.  A favorite quote of mine comes from Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

  • Technology is a tool, but not a panacea.  It cannot be used as a substitution for adequate parenting, teaching, or training.
  • Past performance is no guarantee of future results – but it can often be a solid predictor.
  • Take time to stop and smell the roses.  Or even better, watch the birds and squirrels play.
  • Tolerance breeds peace.
  • Eat lots of bacon.
  • One of the best ways to improve your writing is to read books written by great writers.
  • College is a time to learn.  You’ll certainly gain academic knowledge during these 4 (or 6) years, but just as important are the life skills you’ll acquire.
  • Wave a pedestrian across the crosswalk when you’re at a stop sign.  Really, are you in that big of a hurry?
  • I have been a baseball fan since I was very young.  My teams have made the playoffs five times – the ’84 and ’89 Cubs and the ’95, ’07, and ’09 Rockies.  The long waits make the eventual experience even sweeter.
  • Don’t confuse education with intelligence.  You can have education without intelligence or intelligence without education.
  • Tackle a fear every now and then.  I went from being afraid of roller coasters to being a huge fan – literally in a matter of minutes.  In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
  • Whether you support the actions of your government, show support for the armed forces.  These brave men and women don’t have the ability to choose their work assignments.

Well, that’s all for now.  This turned a bit more into advice than I intended, so I’ll hop off my soapbox now.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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