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Birthday candles

As I get ready to blow out another set of candles on the ol' birthday cake, I figured it was time to share the things I've learned with age:

1. Your parents were really smart. Need proof? Count how many times you find yourself quoting them.

2. Sometimes you should burn bridges.

3. Don’t overdo your child’s first birthday. Wrapping paper gives them more pleasure than an overly decorated cake they smoosh.

4. The best friends don’t care if you have a dirty house. They’ve got one, too.

5. Nothing is ever free.

6. The best teachers don’t make you memorize unnecessary lists. They give you the tools to deal with people who insist on them.

7. Events are great to go to, but nothing beats a quiet night at home.

8. Hard work is better than luck any day.

9. Exercise is the best deterrent to snacking. Once you realize how much work it takes to remove the effects of that extra cookie, you won’t take it.

10. Spend enough time outside during the winter and you’ll believe cryogenics actually exists.

11. Just when you splurge on something you don’t need, a household appliance breaks.

12. Cellphones shouldn’t become as vital as a lung or a kidney.

13. Midwesterners are obsessed with weather. Unnecessarily.

14. You spend the first half your life acquiring stuff and the second half getting rid of it.

15. No one wants your junk.

16. The best memories involve laughter.

17. Someone needs to figure out how children and senior citizens can spend more time together. Both could benefit from the association.

18. It doesn’t cost anything to smile. Or be nice.

19. You might be right, but you don’t always need to win.

20. Live long enough and you’ll see clothes you wore as a teenager make a comeback.

21. It’s better to talk to people face-to-face than it is to text.

22. Politics isn’t a higher calling. It’s now a career option that doesn’t necessarily attract the best and brightest.

23. You need be present to win. At anything.

24. It pays to ask questions.

25. You will never use all the key chains you get in life.

26. Mom was right: “When in doubt, throw it.”

27. If you try to figure how much money you’ll need in retirement, you’ll never enjoy the days you have.

28. The best gifts are unexpected and don't come on designated days.

29. You've heard of "tit for tat"? There is no tat.

30. Anyone who calls at dinnertime is probably a telemarketer who can be ignored.

31. The value of sleeping in cannot be measured.

32. Don’t consider every piece of old clothing a “rag.” Some shirts are not meant for cleaning.

33. You can never have too many T-shirts.

34. But you can have too many mugs.

35. There is nothing better than a convertible in the summer. Get one before you’re too old to enjoy it.

36. Give up your license when it’s time. No child wants to make the decision for you.

37. When you’re an adult, no one cares what grades you got in high school.

38. Celebrities are never as special as they may seem.

39. It’s perfectly OK to sing along when you’re listening to music. Just don’t do it at a concert.

40. Hollywood recycles a handful of plots. Any film in a “series” is a sure culprit.

41. It pays to have regular checkups. Any fear you may have doesn’t come close to the comfort you feel after you’ve been to see the doctor.

42. When things start to look familiar, it’s time to leave.

43. Children make Christmas better. They get toys and, often, they’ll even let you play with them.

44. Sometimes it’s good to cry. Just don’t let the tears weigh you down.

45. You’re not getting older, you’re gaining value.

46. It’s unlikely you’ll watch all the DVDs you have in your collection. Be careful when you make the investment.

47. Board games and puzzles need to make a comeback.

48. The power of a thank you note cannot be overestimated.

49. Sometimes time is the best gift of all.

50. Age is just a number. Go ahead, act like you feel. If people talk, that's their problem. They haven't discovered the joy of being older.

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