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Bob Brody

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2014: Some Recommended Next Steps

Posted: 12/30/2013 10:38 am

When you get to be my age -- and by the way, no, I have no intention of revealing it here (61) -- you tend to pick up some priceless insights.

Now, thanks to the miracle of a new technology called words on a page -- or a screen, as the case may be -- you, too, can attain the wisdom of the ages.

First, though, a few important observations from our sponsor:

No matter what the CDC claims, the number-one killer of people over 100 years old, it turns out, is old age.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- possible national capitol of the hipster, truth be told -- is where people who consider themselves different from everyone else go to be exactly the same.

But enough digressing without a license. Here, then, without further ado, are key lessons I learned in 2013 that we might all now plan to apply -- perhaps along with a little industrial-strength epoxy to make sure they stick -- toward 2014:

1. If in doubt, you probably should be. And if you're given a choice, make it. Otherwise someone else might.

2. Bear in mind that any resemblance between perception and reality is purely coincidental. Feel free to test out this thesis in the comfort of your own home.

3. Serendipity is often no accident.

4. If you work really hard, you can still fail. Nobody ever tells you that. Still, quit considering yourself a failure. You might just be under-successful.

5. If anyone calls you contrary, disagree. It's the only logical rebuttal.

6. You can put everything behind you but the past. It often refuses to stay there. And the future always arrives unannounced. That's just what the future does for a living.

7. Stick to your commitments.Even if you break a promise, it should stay broken. It's called being dependable.

8. Just because you're unsure which direction to take in life is no excuse for taking none at all. That's why you can go where you've never gone only if you make up your mind to do what you've never done.

9. Some people know how to enjoy life. Others order salad.

10. Only your immaturity, I've found, can ever keep you from truly growing up. Then again, if you feel too young to act your age, why on earth should you?

11. Remembering is good. But forgetting can be better. Master denial and delusion.

12. The world is one big lost and found department. One day you lose your grandfather, the next you find a new friend. Generally it all balances out.

13. Life is much too serious to take too seriously. Just take my word for it, please.

14. Daily indulge your inborn craving for a dose of beauty -- even a glimpse of the divine. Inspiration is everywhere.

15. If you feel luckier than you deserve to be, you probably are. The least you can do now, in the name of decency, is strive with all your might to be deserving after all.


Bob Brody is an executive and essayist in New York City. His humor has appeared in Smithsonian, Forbes.com and McSweeney's.

 

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