45 Things I’ve Learned in My 45 Years on Earth

The other night, I was flying back from the west coast and found myself on a flight without wifi and in a rare situation where I was fairly caught up on e-mail/work. Instead of sleeping or reading my latest issue of Rolling Stone, I got thinking about how lucky I was 45 years into my life and all of the things that I had learned along the way. I was skeptical at first that I could come up with 45 lessons (to match my age) but low and behold once I started writing they managed to flow.


Many of you that know me have already seen this on Facebook (apparently it struck a nerve as I received over 200 likes and north of 85 comments as of the writing of this post). But given the ephemeral nature of Facebook and the fact that I would like to be able to hold onto these little “Stroutisms” as someone called them, I am pasting them over here on my now-seldom-used blog for safe keeping.

I amy also add to these over time in the comments. Feel free to do the same if you are so inclined:

Sitting on a plane with no wifi and thinking about some of the things I’ve learned over the course of my 45 years on this planet. Here are 45 things in no particular order:

  1. Raising children is the hardest job you will ever have.
  2. Raising children is the most rewarding job you will ever have.
  3. Being in love is an amazing feeling.
  4. Being in love with the same woman for 20 years is an even more amazing feeling.
  5. One of the keys to keeping a marriage alive is good communication.
  6. Another key to keeping a marriage alive is being willing to meet your spouse halfway. On everything.
  7. Dusk is my favorite time of the day.
  8. The ocean is one of the most remarkable things on this planet. If you live near it, never take it for granted.
  9. Everything in moderation… including moderation.
  10. I was incredibly lucky to grow up with two wonderful parents and four equally wonderful grandparents.
  11. No matter how many times I fly on a plane, I am amazed that something that big/heavy can fly.
  12. Nothing quite as good as tomatoes fresh out of the garden.
  13. Anything that is good in life is worth working for.
  14. If you don’t love your job, quit. Seriously.
  15. I have been lucky to always work at places where I have enjoyed and respected my colleagues.
  16. A good night sleep is underrated.
  17. Never stop learning.
  18. Never stop listening to new music. Ask your friends, kids, neighbors and colleagues for recommendations.
  19. I am still pissed that Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley died too early.
  20. Few things beat sitting on the patio/porch/deck in the morning with a cup of coffee.
  21. Okay, sitting on the patio/porch/deck in the early evening with a cool drink might beat a cup of coffee in the morning.
  22. There is something magical about a bonfire or a fire in the fireplace for that matter.
  23. Bacon should be its own food group. True story, I didn’t eat bacon for 20 years. I am now making up for lost time.
  24. It’s important to provide guidelines and discipline and firm boundaries for your children.
  25. It’s equally important to transgress guidelines and boundaries with your kids once in a while.
  26. If you have something to do, get it done first. Procrastinating just makes the time in between the present and what you have to do miserable.
  27. Writing a book is hard.
  28. Writing a blog consistently is hard.
  29. Running 3-4 times a week is hard.
  30. Writing a book is one of the most amazing things you will ever do.
  31. Writing a blog consistently is cathartic.
  32. Running 3-4 times a week feels good. And is good for you.
  33. Don’t ever take yourself too seriously.
  34. Compliment at least one person every day.
  35. Seeing a baseball game at Fenway Park at least once in a lifetime should be everyone’s bucket list.
  36. Having a soul mate makes life immeasurably easier.
  37. Tell your children you love them at least once a day – even when you are mad at them. Same with your significant other.
  38. There is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth. I am still working on listening more and talking less.
  39. Given a choice, I will choose plain cheese pizza over those with toppings.
  40. There are few things tastier than vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge.
  41. People are inherently good.
  42. There are no such things as absolutes in politics but rather shades of gray.
  43. Be comfortable in your own skin.
  44. The older I get, the less I realize I know.
  45. I love being 45.


Austin Breakfast Places FTW

The other day, our family decided we wanted to break out of our normal habits of eating breakfast at Magnolia and Torchy’s so I asked my Austin friends where they suggested we should try next. The original thread on Facebook is here.

In the spirit of sharing, I have created a blog post with each of the restaurants suggested, a link to the Yelp review (and menu where available). I’ve also included any notes provided by the recommender like “great brunch place” or  “good for “Bloody Marys.” If you have others you want to add in the comments, go for it. If you leave the link to the Yelp review and menu, I will go back and include them in the original list. Here goes:

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Yup, NFL season kicks off tonight. For many of us, this is like Christmas in September. After several long months of waiting, dealing with offseason moves/arrests etc., we’ve finally arrived at day one.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, several of my W2O Group colleagues — led by Michael Westgate — have put together a social ranking of all 32 NFL teams. You can get more details about the project and the methodology here. Of course I am immensely proud of the fact that my New England Patriots sit in the number three spot on the chart. Yes, I would prefer the number one slot but I’ll chalk this up to the fact that there is a lot of pent up enthusiasm around the Forty Niners given the fact that it’s been a while since they’ve had a relevant team.

21. Chicago Bears - 44.69
22. Oakland Raiders - 44.36
23. Denver Broncos - 43.86
24. Minnesota Vikings - 43.66
25. St. Louis Rams - 42.94
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 41.51
27. Kansas City Chiefs - 39.90
28. Arizona Cardinals - 38.34
29. Carolina Panthers - 35.83
30. Miami Dolphins- 33.22
31. Detroit Lions - 29.40
32. Cincinnati Bengals - 26.91

How about your team? A little surprised by the Bengals cellar-dweller status. Not nearly as surprised by Detroit owning the 32nd slot given their poor season last year. But given their revamped defense and the addition of a running game in Reggie Bush, don’t be surprised if you see their stock climb over the next couple of months.