It occurred to me a while back that I should begin writing down my “rules for living” – a list of personal preferences, suggestions, and observations that has been rattling around in my brain for several years. These are no one’s rules but mine, so please feel free to disagree, but I thought it would be a blog-worthy endeavor to memorialize them and share them in a post. Although I’m sure I could think of more, I decided to stop at 50. Any resemblance to Ron Swanson’s perfectly calibrated Pyramid of Greatness is completely intentional. I would love to hear what you might add to the list, or take away. Here you go:
1. Read your Bible every day and do what it says – rule 1 for a reason.
2. Buy a juicer and use it every day – you will feel better.
3. Run, ride a bike, or at least walk briskly, and often – get moving.
4. Wake up early – early morning hours are the most wasted.
5. Watch baseball on TV – it’s good for the soul.
6. Learn how to lay tile and fix a toilet – essential life skills.
7. Go outside – nature is good for you.
8. Don’t complain – otherwise, no one will like you.
9. Learn how to throw a baseball and a football properly – they require different form.
10. Eat 70% dark chocolate – it’s good and healthful.
11. Dust your house – chances are, if you’re dusting your house, it’s probably already mostly clean.
12. Don’t buy cheap shoes – there is a difference.
13. Exercise strenuously at least 3 times a week – you will sleep better.
14. Grind your own coffee, or buy a Keurig, but by all means drink coffee – preferably black.
15. Be kind to animals – even cats.
16. Don’t stare at your phone incessantly – you look foolish, and it’s bad-mannered.
17. Be on a first-name basis with at least 1 butcher – don’t be afraid to order “off-package.”
18. Buy Honeycrisp apples when available – they are expensive, but are worth it.
19. Pay attention – you might just learn something useful.
20. Don’t drive stupidly – I want to live until at least age 95, and that won’t happen if you run me over.
21. Edge your yard – it just looks better, and it will make your neighbors like you.
22. Be nice in general – why would you act in any other way?
23. A 20-minute nap once a day is acceptable – no more.
24. Eat more vegetables – chances are, you will live longer and be healthier.
25. Eat less meat – SPAM is one of the world’s greatest inventions, but moderation is key.
26. Drink lots of water – it’s amazing how much better you will feel when properly hydrated.
27. Don’t be a baby – try foods you think you won’t like, starting with raw oysters.
28. Money spent on travel is money well-spent – so, travel and take lots of pictures.
29. Make your own granola – you’re getting robbed otherwise.
30. Live no more than 5 hours driving time from the coast, if possible – personal preference.
31. Listen to new music – great music didn’t stop being made your senior year of high school.
32. Keep your car serviced – or else.
33. Use high-quality olive oil – can’t skimp here, sorry, so just bite the bullet and buy Colavita.
34. If you own a gun, learn how to shoot it – by all means.
35. Be nice to people who work in the service industry and tip well – they work hard.
36. Learn how to cook – it’s a valuable acquired skill, not a talent.
37. Waste less time – starting by following my rules (ha!).
38. Rest, relaxation, and recreation are not time-wasting endeavors – just don’t overdo them.
39. Enjoy swimming in the ocean – it’s highly unlikely a shark will attack you.
40. Get your suits tailored – you may think they fit right, but they probably don’t.
41. Call your parents – they probably like to hear from you.
42. Buy real books, read them, and store them on shelves in your house – you will magically become smarter.
43. Arrive early – making people wait on you is the highest form of discourtesy and rudeness.
44. Develop a general understanding of politics and current events – i.e., read a newspaper.
45. Always have hand sanitizer on your desk and in your car – I haven’t had a bad cold in years.
46. Don’t talk so much – then, when you do speak, people will listen.
47. Do lots of research before you buy something expensive – trust Consumer Reports, not your gut or the Best Buy guy.
48. Support local small businesses – even if you have to pay a little more.
49. Don’t worry – just accept that you can’t control everything, and count your blessings.
50. Plant a summer garden – then, learn how to make your own salsa.