29 Things I’ve Learned Before 30

April 29, 2016 By Tom

So, it goes without saying, if you followed Denver’s blog, you knew she loved lists. I’m channeling my inner-Denver and writing this. In full disclosure: I’m writing this after midnight after a long day, but I’ll own these words.

I had an incredible evening with amazing people. That being the description on tonight should suffice, but, I’ll add that I’m fortunate to surround myself with some of the best talent in the Midwest and call them friends.

And tonight, over dinner and drinks, they gave me shit about not being 30. It was all in good fun, and well deserved (they’re all old), but, it got me thinking about all the things I’ve learned in my 20’s that will define me for a lifetime.

  1. Go big or go home–I never got anywhere in my 20’s by sitting back and expecting things to come to me. It’s been a battle, a bloodbath, a matter of survival, and I am thankful every day to know that when you don’t leave anything on the table, you don’t have any regrets.
  2. Chase your dream–I had a lot of people tell me to give up on Nine13 and take an office job. That Nine13 would never work. That I would fail. I’m glad I chased my vision and dream.
  3. Fuck the naysayers– The amount of people that told me I would fail…..the fuel they added to my drive was incredible, and they were wrong.
  4. Graduate relationships–What I’ve learned more than anything else is that you graduate relationships. There’s a lot of friendships and relationships I’ve said goodbye to in my 20’s…it was the best thing for my emotional health.
  5. When you kiss someone, mean it–I was a bachelor when I started my 20’s, I’m a bachelor as I venture towards the end of my 20’s. A lot happened in the middle. But, I’ve learned that when I kiss somebody, it better mean the entire universe at that moment in time. Not just for personal gain, but for worldly balance.
  6. Life is too short to not pick up the tab–One thing that sticks with me is Jim’s desire to pick up the bar tab the day he was killed. he didn’t have to do it, but he argued with me till he won. It’s an odd last memory, but it reminds me to not stress over the little stuff.
  7. I want to like blondes, but, it seems to be brunettes are more my style–I’m often told this is just fact.
  8. Hire the people you trust as friends–this goes against every startup guide, but, I want to work with people that I am friends with first, teammates second.
  9. Family means a lot of things– I’m an only child, but I’ve got a big-ass family. Guys that are brothers. Women that I would defend as sisters. Parental units. Mentors. We’re all in this together.
  10. Don’t censor yourself to censor yourself–I swear, I’m not always politically correct, but I’m authentic and what you see is what you get.
  11. Don’t sit on your feelings– If I’m in love, I’m going to say I’m in love. If I dig you, I’m going to say I dig you. Life is too short, and too sudden, to play games….call it as it is.
  12. Screw them if they can’t take a joke– this goes with 10, if you can’t laugh at yourself or me, you’re not worth my time.
  13. Broken bones aren’t fixed with booze and pain meds– I learned this on the 4th of July last year.
  14. Love big, lose hard, never stop– Love is a drug, sometimes it hits when you don’t want it and it’s addictive. Just go with it.
  15. Bloody Mary’s make the world go round–fact.
  16. Never hesitate to argue with a referee–They’re almost always wrong. And I’m always right.
  17. Dogs make great kids for a bachelor– Bailey, Zee, and Moose are my fur-children and I’m totally okay with that…and if you don’t like dogs then you’re dead to me.
  18. if you’re comfortable, you’re not pushing the limits–when I was married, I was content and cozy. I didn’t push myself. I didn’t rock the boat. I was with someone who encouraged me to fit the mold….the mold is meant to be broken.
  19. Make every hug count–If there was one thing I could have in abundance, it would be hugs from Jim and Denver. If I hug you, I’m going to squeeze you tight and ponder never letting you go…because it means the world to me.
  20. I don’t need words, I can see it in your eyes– I don’t care what you say (or don’t say), your look gives it away.
  21. Write often– when we die, there’s nothing left besides the written word and memory (and social media).
  22. Be ridiculous- whatever the expectation is…blow it up and make it your own.
  23. Own your community– I am Indianapolis, so are you. Let’s make it better.
  24. Stay away from redheads, and women who are more than a year younger than you–if you know…you know.
  25. Hire a cleaning woman, a lawn service, whatever– I do plenty of chores, but some things are easier to hire out so I can enjoy my time as my own.
  26. Throw out the 40 hour work week mentality- If you love what you do, you’re working a hell of a lot more and you’re totally okay with it.
  27. Accept that a dog sleeps in bed– figure out the logistics of this however you want with whoever you want.
  28. Practice your passion– don’t just punch a clock.
  29. We’ve all got baggage and we’re all sorting it–every. single. one. of us.

Build it. Break it. Love it. Protect it. It’s life.