32 Things I’ve Learned in 32 Years

First of all, I should have written this post yesterday (on my birthday), but the fact that I didn’t takes me right into one of the most important things I’ve learned in 32 years…

(1) don’t procrastinate

It’s easy to put things off, start something difficult after the weekend, or wait to really dive in until you’ve solidified a plan of action, but the truth is, it’s best to start something now and figure it out along the way. Speaking of starting now and not waiting,

(2) eat healthy NOW, (3) make exercise a priority, (4) find a hobby that keeps you fit, (5) go to bed early and get good sleep

I think this is something I figured out closer to my 30’s and I wish I would have put more effort toward it in my teens and 20’s. I put a lot of stock into the present when I was younger, but as I got older I began to see the value in banking good habits for my future.

(6) money is important, (7) money is not as important as happiness

I have friends that place very little value on money, which I can’t fully get behind. However, they do seem very happy, which is more important than money. While money sets a floor for what you can do and where you can go in life, don’t let it be the driver for what it is you do in life.

(8) dogs are awesome

They just are. You get to give them voices and nick names and personalities and watch them chase birds and steal your girl’s heart and steal your heart.

(9) dogs are ass holes

You also get to see them lick their butt, let your girl tell you, “you’d do it too if you could,” have a discussion about how you wouldn’t even if you could, secretly question if you believe that or not, and have to see your bathroom trash get eaten every time you forget to shut the door.

(10) babies are scary

Get back with me in a year and I’ll confirm this, but between money and caring for a human life, which rumor has it is more difficult that caring for a dog’s life, it can be scary.

(11) Sports fandom is weird

The Lions will never win the Super Bowl… and I question if they will win another playoff game in my lifetime. It’s so stupid that a sports team can upset me so much or make me so happy, but it does.

(12) find your person

I think I’ve maybe said this before on this blog, but before I met Kelly, I thought that I had to be the absolute best version of myself before I could find my person. I had to have the job and be in 10/10 shape and then I would be able to find my person. The truth is, when I accepted that I was OK with myself and allowed myself to find my person, I stated becoming the person I wanted to be. Finding your person has a profound way of improving you and bringing out the best version of yourself.

(13) do what you love

And I don’t mean for a living, although that is a great bonus if you can do that. But, do things you enjoy and that make you smile. For me, I love writing, running, this crazy sport called obstacle course racing… I think there is a fear associated with all those things that when you start, you won’t be good enough or no one cares what you have to say. But, I don’t do those things because I want to impress anyone other than myself (and my wife just a little).

(14) care a little more (15) care a little less

Appearance, health, body odor, showing up on time, replying to texts/emails … care a little more.

Whether or not people like you, whether you look funny trying something new, impressing others, being perfect, looking cool… care a little less.

(16) go places

Literally. Spend a little money and go somewhere new. It will be worth it. Move to Minnesota if you feel like it. Travel to Ireland if you’ve always wanted to go. In 32 years, there has never been a dollar I’ve regretted spending traveling.

(17) go places

Figuratively. Read if that takes your mind off of something stressful. Smoke pot if that relaxes you (as long as you don’t make that the focus…. kids, stay in school). Watch movies, play music, dance, do what you have to do to make the most out of the places you spend the most time.

(18) be nice to people

Being nice is better than being cool, and the sooner you start practicing that, the better off you’ll be.

(19) love your family

There’s a Kacey Musgraves song about family is family whether in church or in prison… it’s the truth. Those people are where you came from and shaped who you are. A big part of loving yourself is loving, or at least accepting, your family (FYI since half of everyone who reads this blog, and 90% of the people who have read this far on this post ARE my family, I love all of you).

(20) enjoy others’ hobbies

This one might sound strange, but take part in your friends’ and family’s hobbies. Let someone else be the expert and feel like they’re teaching you something and they will appreciate you that much more.

(21) audiobooks, man. Audiobooks

You can still say you read the book if you listened to it in the car on the way to vaca.

(22) get a real email

It’s 2017, if you still have an AOL or WOWway email address, you’re not doing it right.

(23) have good shoes

It all starts in your feet people. Bad shoes lead to bad posture, sore knees and ankles, a bad back. It also leads to sloppy appearance. Invest in a good pair of everyday shoes, athletic shoes, work shoes, and going out shoes.

(24) take a look around

Don’t be so focused on your phone. It’s OK to be bored sometimes and not refresh Instagram 26x an hour.

(25) pay attention

I’m kind of listing things as I go, so these aren’t in any sort of order, but this one is important. Pay attention. Pay attention to people, to your body… listen to the wind blowing or some distant train engine and remember how incredible this world is. Batman paid attention, and he turned out pretty good.

(26) be a good example

Someone looks up to you, whether you know it or not. It’s not just your family either. Be the person someone else points to and says, “now that is someone who has it figured out (event if you really don’t).

(27) experiment

I think this word has a negative connotation because if there was a top four list on Family Feud, and Steve said “tell me something you’ve experimented with,” chances are they’d be drug or sex related. That’s not what I mean. Experiment with things to see what you like. Experiment with foods, sports, games, places to live, places to travel, etc.

(28) learn

Learn by reading, listening, watching, feeling, doing, using logic, failing, trying, falling, succeeding.

(29) take things seriously (30) but not too seriously

There is a time and a place for everything. Take the things you care about seriously, but make sure you don’t have just one perspective on anything. Joke with your wife, but follow through on the things she wants.

(31) remember where you came from

Hold on to your memories. Remember your wedding, your grandma’s funeral, your dad’s heart attack. Remember the home run you hit when you were nine years old and watched your dad flying down the left foul line going after it. Remember as much as you can and tell the people you love about it when they need to hear it. Memories make for the best stories and the best ways to make a point.

(32) look ahead

Bringing it full circle, now. Everything kind of leads to this, right? The reason we eat right and exercise, the reason we listen and learn, and the reason we put effort toward the important things is because we need to always be looking ahead. After 32 years, it’s easy to get caught up in being “old as shit (ah-hem…),” but the truth is there is always so much to look ahead and prepare yourself.

I wish I had some big “lesson learned” message to pass on, but the truth is that I have just as much to learn going forward. I guess the best thing I can say is to not get caught up in numbers, and just take every day as it comes and be present.

The Journey to Home Ownership

My wife and I are starting the home buying process. And by “starting the home buying process,” of course I mean we’ve been watching House Hunters, Property Brothers, Designed to Sell, Property Virgins, Love it or List it (original and “too”), Million Dollar Listing, and the occasional Say Yes to the Dress to remind ourselves that we just got married and our lives aren’t “totally” about finding our first home. To that point, we also watch Cesar Milan to remind ourselves to be good dog parents and occasionally, I get to watch some hockey or football on TV to remind myself that if I watch nothing but renovation or animal shows, I will lose my mind. But, to my original point, we are starting to talk about actually what it would take to buy a home.

In reality, we are a few steps beyond just watching the design and renovation shows on HGTV. We have met with a lender my parents use who seems to want to help us out. We are going to meet with a Realtor we like whom my wife has known for some time through her Young Professionals group. Everything is falling into place, and we are really trying to figure out what it takes to become first time home buyers.

Beyond getting together the initial lump sum of money together, my wife and I are going back and forth on Trulia and Realtor.com websites picking out houses in our price range that we both like. For us, we have a similar idea of what we both want, which makes this part of the process a whole lot easier. I cringe when I watch those HGTV shows where the husband and wife have two completely different ideas of what they want.

Usually it goes like this.

She wants something with any one of these key words: modern, turn-key, kid-friendly, chic, walk-in, updated …with a view.

He wants something with any one of these key words: craftsman, fixer-upper, rustic, vintage, floor-plan, yard for my “insert outdoor project.”

My wife and I are looking for something relatively modern, with an updated kitchen, walk in closet (more for her) and fenced in yard. Other than those items, we both have a few things on our wish list. She wants vaulted ceilings in the living room, I’d prefer 3 bedrooms to 4.

Anyway, my idea is to detail our journey from renters to owners over the course of this summer. We have a good group of friends who have recently bought homes around the price range we’re looking at, so we feel somewhat prepared for what the next couple of months will bring.

Here is kind of where we are at in the process (and if anyone reading this has any insight or helpful advice for us, please let me know!):

  • Met with lender and have been pre-approved
  • Attending open houses to get a feel for design, cost and locations we like
  • Set to meet with Realtor to describe what we are looking for and time frame (looking to buy in about 4-6 months)
  • Starting to push for aggressive saving’s plan over next 4-6 months
  • Learning about closing costs, Fannie and Freddie, escrow and a whole list of new words so to hopefully limit the amount of up-front costs and hopefully get a good deal when we eventually buy

I don’t know what the next steps will be, but I hope to learn more about this process and pass on whatever it is I gain from this experience. It’s crazy to think that in 9 months I can get married and buy a house, but I guess that’s what happens when you finally grow up. 

Right now I am anxious, excited, nervous and ready to move forward with this process. I know I am beginning something big, and I only hope that the payoff is worth the trouble, but in my heart of hearts, I know it will be.

**ANY INSIGHT OR INFORMATION WOULD BE HELPFUL AND EXTREMELY APPRECIATED**