Tearing a page out of Regina Brett's God Never Blinks, here are 30 important lessons I've learned in 30 years, in no particular order: 1. Scotch tape and paper towels are terrible things to waste.
2. We are often tempted to hide our God-given talents in a proverbial whale's belly; the story of Jonah is relevant today.
3. Parenthood cracks you wide open. The fault line on your heart is craggy and irreparable. The best thing to do is just to remain open and to let this new love in your life occupy the space between.
4. It will not kill you to eat more rice than you think you can possibly stomach, if only to keep peace in certain company.
5. When you are raised in a privileged majority, it is easy for your privilege and your part in a majority to become invisible.
6. "This American Life" and peanut M & Ms are among a couple reliably perfect things in this life.
7. Strive to never make enemies with anyone.
8. Tell the truth. When you don't think it will be possible to tell the complete truth, pray. When you haven't told the complete truth, pray harder, and go back and tell the complete truth.
9. Abuse is not the victim's fault.
10. Most parents are not trying to instigate; they simply want to be heard.
11. Action verbs are always a better choice.
12. There is no award for the person who beats depression without therapy and medication.
13. College is not about majors or clubs or grades or books; it is about finding your people, whomever they may be.
14. Loneliness, however painful or seemingly interminable, is still a time when God carries us, like the "Footprints" poem says.
15. Our children teach us more about our parents' hearts than our parents ever could.
16. The best days are those in which you have helped someone, even if "help" means you sent someone into hysterics because you told her a story about your roommate who mistook your skirt as a doily.
17. There are certain people for whom we will continue to have a 17 year-old's heart, even if we now see these people with 30 year-old eyes.
18. Pursuing what you feel, in every fiber of your being, is the right and moral thing will inevitably put you out of favor with someone important to you. You will find new friends, though. You might even find a new family.
19. It is actually okay to meet your heroes. They might be as awesome (if not moreso) than you expected.
20. There is a reason why the majority of Christ's proverbs are about money. Use it wisely, but don't let it control you.
21. If you have the chance to go to Beijing, Paris, Banff, Montreal, or Baxter State Park in Maine? Go.
22. Do not ever set anything down that is not somehow still tethered to you on an airplane, train, or bus. Or, be prepared to possibly never see it again.
23. When you realize the latebreaking news that your parents are actually human, it's time to stop punishing them for having the audacity to make mistakes.
24. When interviewing for a job, try to get a strong handle on your supervisor's management style, e.g. If he/she is a sexist narcissist who expects you to clean the lint out of his/her office fan, you might contemplate not taking the job.
25. You will never regret writing a letter to your grandma.
26. You will never regret Being the Bigger Person.
27. Law school will still be there next year. Your marriage might not.
28. There is a fine line between being servant-hearted and being a doormat. The former does not mean being voiceless, and the latter often does.
29. Before you fight someone, think of five good things about that person.
30. One day, you will realize that you were created to be a uniquely sensational person whose gifts the world so desperately needs. If you realize this before you turn 30, you're on the right track....
Dance around in your birthday suit, y'all.