49 lessons

A decade or two ago I started a personal tradition of acknowledging and celebrating the day before a birthday. It’s a great time to reflect on the year that has gone by and a perfect time to set intentions for the next year or years to come. With that in mind, I thought I would share 49 things I’ve learned or use as guiding principles as my 49th time around the sun comes to a conclusion.

49 practical tips and tidbits for better living

  1. Start off each day by doing one positive thing to help improve your or someone else’s life. It will frame the whole day in a better light.
  2. Write down your goals. You are more likely to achieve them.
  3. Listen more than you speak.
  4. Plan for the future and live in the moment.
  5. Fashions may change. Having style does not.
  6. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  7. Details matter.
  8. Be nicer than is necessary. It costs nothing and makes the world a better place.
  9. When it comes to interests, hobbies, and career paths pick one. Your choice doesn’t have to be forever. Simply choose and start. You have more time than you realize to fit in many new things throughout your life. Become amazing at something and then choose again.
  10. It’s better to find out than to not know.
  11. Confidence is key. If you don’t have it, act as if you do. No one will notice the difference.
  12. The truth is, appearance matters. The better you look, the more opportunities come your way. It’s your job to show substance once your foot is in the door.
  13. Send flowers for no reason.
  14. Appreciate every moment you have with others. You never know when it will be the last one.
  15. Learn to meditate and do it regularly.
  16. What you choose to ingest on a regular basis can make your world heavenly or hellish. Altering your choices can morph your life for better or ill.
  17. With enough determination, persistence, effort, and faith virtually anything is possible.
  18. Keep your passport current. You never know where the night may lead.
  19. Save and invest 10% of everything you earn. The sooner you do this, the easier your life will become in the future.
  20. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
  21. The only thing that heals a broken heart is time. No amount of alcohol, drugs, partners, or food can heal that pain.
  22. Three hundred and fifty dollar dress shoes save you money in the long run as long as you take care of them.
  23. Find small ways to bring positive, unexpected surprises to others. One kind act can alter the course of a person’s day and perhaps even their life.
  24. Listen when people talk. You’d be surprised what they tell you.
  25. Celebrate often.
  26. Don’t be attached to the timeframe. Set the intention. It will happen, in time, with action and faith.
  27. Books stimulate your mind. TV dulls it.
  28. You don’t need to be in love. You want to be in love. Knowing this makes a big difference.
  29. If you’re not trying things that scare you at least a little, you aren’t really growing.
  30. If your boss wears a suit, you should too.
  31. Remember tomorrow may never come.
  32. Your thoughts create your reality.
  33. You should act as if your every action affects 1,000 people for 1,000 years, because it does.
  34. At least once in your life get a massage.
  35. People like others who smell good. This doesn’t mean bathe in perfume or cologne.
  36. Always have a bottle of champagne chilled, ready to go. You never know when you’ll have something to celebrate.
  37. Moisturize your face. You will thank yourself when you are 60.
  38. Allow yourself to become yourself.
  39. Never settle for less than what you want, but understand it may be a long time before you get it.
  40. People can change when they realize that the pleasure of changing is greater than the pain of staying the same.
  41. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say in person.
  42. Far too many of us allow making a living to get in the way of making a life.
  43. Just for today, be the best you that you can be. The past has passed.
  44. When you are more than a couple of minutes late for an appointment, it shows how much (or little) you value that person.
  45. Begin the day with a glass or two of water. Yes, even before coffee.
  46. Push yourself. You can do more than you fathom.
  47. The thing to remember is this, you always have a choice. Always.
  48. You are an example to more people than you can possibly understand. Be a good one.
  49. The best is yet to come.

I did a thing

I’ve been reluctant to share my journey this year, however I’ve been told some see it as inspirational. Many find the reasons a thing can’t be done, I choose to find the reasons and ways a thing can be done. And. Then. Do. It. As I get older, I become quieter and let the results speak for themselves.

Adam Hansen 2022-08-02

How did I lose over 75 pounds this year? I ate less food.

Want more details? I worked with a nutritionist who is also a personal trainer and followed her advice.

This next part is where the pushback usually begins when I share. I didn’t exercise. I allowed my body time to rest and heal. I ate less food. I ate vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices in infinite tasty combinations.

My way isn’t the only way, but it worked for me. My guess is that it would work for most anyone with strong enough reasons to pull them forward through the tough moments.

In total, I’ve lost over 135 pounds from my highest weight. I’m not sure what’s next yet for me. I’m still working that out. I feel like I could write a book from all of the lessons I’ve learned through this year’s weight loss journey and ones from the past.

Before figuring out what’s next, I think I need to take the win and celebrate it. Which brings me to a question, how do you celebrate big accomplishments?

Used cars cost $29,000 in 2022 on average

Seeing the price of used cars is a reality check for me. I’ve been quietly looking for a new ride for some time. With the average car price now being $29,011 for a used model, maybe I need to adjust my budget or at the minimum my expectations. That’s around $520 per month when financed. Going for a new vehicle will set you back nearly $46,000 on average.

It seems like the older I get, the more difficult it is to realize how much things cost in today’s dollars.

Turkey Chase 2021

I did a thing on Thursday. I ran a Thanksgiving Day 5K. To many it’s probably not a big deal, but for me it was a decent physical accomplishment and a reminder that was sorely needed. With enough determination, persistence, effort, and faith most anything is possible.

This was my first 5K in five years. I was slower than last time. I weigh more than before. My body aches way more than it used to. It wasn’t my best pace but I did complete it which was goal number one.

This time I upgraded from my Converse All-Stars to actual running shoes. Even with that, I can’t say I like running much. I think I like the idea of it and the feeling of accomplishment when it’s completed. But the actual running part is somewhat torturous to me. I’m not saying I won’t keep trying but for this year one 5K is enough.

…although it would seem fitting to do one more at some point so I can say I ran five 5Ks. Maybe when I’m 55?

5K collages

How a traditional Thanksgiving turkey is raised

There has been a lot of buzz about the Great Turkey Shortage of 2021. It’s time to explore other options.

After reading this piece from Peter Singer a few years ago, I was sickened and shocked. Ignorance is bliss. Learning how humans treat other thinking, feeling creatures saddens me. Ever wonder why we value some lives more than others? I do.

The best book I read in 2020

I’ve delayed writing and publishing this. It seems rather shallow to talk about the best books we’ve read last year given the circumstances in the country.

This morning I listened to an episode of NPR’s Embedded entitled, January 6: Inside The Capitol Siege. They played tape from several people covering varying aspects of what happened at the Capitol two weeks ago. Multiple journalists from separate publications working together to give their accounts. That’s when it hit me. We as a collective group have experienced possibly the most traumatic event in our living history as Americans. As individuals our experiences and reactions and ways to deal with it are all distinct.

We all cope with things differently.

Talking about books seems a bit… frivolous. But maybe digging a little more into books, for some of us, is what brings us together by sharing ideas and stories. Could it be a trashy novel helps our brain escape and take a much needed break from the very serious state of the world? With that rest, we can come out stronger. Like great art, perhaps a book helps us see a perspective we had never considered before. They help clarify ideas that weren’t quite as solid as before reading a certain passage or chapter.

I tend to be a non-fiction reader and recommender. In 2020, the most important book I read was Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. This is one of those books that I think every single person should read. Yes, it’s well written and compelling. But what’s more important is the thread Ms. Wilkerson unspools from before the founding of America to modern history to today. Seriously read (or listen to) this book!

Here are some other recommendations that I received when I put out the call:

Remorseless by Beth Fisher

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Designing Your Life and/or Designing Your Work Life by Bill Burnett

Apologies that Never Came by Pierre Alex Jeanty 

Zonal Marking by Michael W. Cox

The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway

Thank you for sharing these suggestions. I’ve added them to my reading list and already bought at least one of them.

To quote my favorite television president, What’s next?

“It’s not the violence of the few that scares me, it’s the silence of the many.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.