Jay at the Nocatee Splash Park

My List of 15 Simple Truths (Revised), v.49.25

This week’s episode of the “This American Life” radio program was all about lists and how they make sense of our chaotic lives. I caught myself snorting a few more times than I should have out of familiarity.

Who among us doesn’t use lists? Post-It Notes, notes apps on our smartphones, whiteboards, scrawling on palms in desperation … the beckon call of bullets envelopes us daily and keeps us from devolving into rudderless oafs.

Usually my lists are pretty mundane – Home Depot, Costco, fix X and Y in my house on Saturday morning, mail birthday card – all the things. But today, I thought I’d dig up a deeper list, one that I’m sure I’ll revisit as I get older and undoubtedly crankier. Simple truths that 10-years-ago me would not know how to speak, let alone type.

So let’s get ‘em down so I can come back in another 10 years, agape at my youthful indulgences.

What are your simple truths?

  1. I’ve finally embraced my inner introvert. Weekend late nights devouring audiobooks, This American Life podcasts or belly-laughing through a few chapters of David Sedaris fills my nerd tank with higher-octane fuel than a night on the town. Come to think of it, writing things like this does, too.
  2. Now I’m no curmudgeon. Said nights on town, in measured doses and with the right friends, are sought-after occasions. And on those occasions, I’ve come to believe alcohol isn’t worth the buzz or the rip-roaring headache the next morning. There are some amazing near-beers, they taste great, and I seek out bars that serve them. I’m starting to get into mocktails, too, although I want to find a less-lame name for them than “mocktails.”
  3. Curling up with my 9-year-old daughter on the couch for a movie is a feeling like no other. I know her tickle spots, and she knows mine. It’s usually a healthy détente. I know our times doing this are numbered.
  4. I don’t like crowds and no longer feel the need to seek them out. While I relished the young professionals circuit in the early aughts, my happy place is much different now … although the grainy JPGs from my Sony CyberShot at Gators Dockside in 2001 still make me laugh.
  5. Life is short(er now). I want to make memories, not pursue trophies or random trappings of status that builds up in desk drawers, closets and eventually high-rent climate-controlled storage units. It all needs to be dusted, and just the thought of that is overwhelming.
  6. I drive my wife’s 2012 Honda CRV with 152,100 miles. And a 4-banger that goes 0 to 60 in 3 minutes. It’s paid off, and that “car payment” goes to my daughter’s college fund. A much better investment than some hot wheels to impress someone I probably wouldn’t like anyway.
  7. Social media and the attention merchants need to be run out of our digital lives. The opportunity cost of watching short-form videos peppered with pitches for tech wallets and razor subscriptions is unfathomable. Jonathan Haidt’s 2024 book “The Anxious Generation” is a must-read for any parent, anxious about their child’s predilection to screens.
  8. Leverage your tax dollars and participate in your local library. Get a card and listen to audiobooks on Libby. Donate when you can.
  9. I don’t feel guilty telling people I’d rather text than talk on the phone. I even ask for texts on my work out-of-office autoreply. It’s my love language.
  10. I’m too old to wait in line. A little forethought – online, prepaid ordering and scheduled appointments for the DMV or Genius Bar – gets you out of a lot of queues. Spontaneity is fun … in measured doses … but as a life philosophy it’s overrated. And when I’m in a line, I inevitably whip out my phone.
  11. I’m 45 pounds heavier now than on my wedding night. As every day goes by, I’m a little less perturbed at the prospect that they’ll stay with me forever.
  12. No. 11 notwithstanding, I am embracing 5 a.m. wake-up calls again, early gym visits, meditation, journaling and simple silence. I want to be physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy, whether or not I can track it on my Apple Watch.
  13. I want to live to 100 … 110 years old. Why not? As long as some of my friends join me. Otherwise, it might be lonely up there, and I might have to go into a crowd or two to meet some new friends. Bah.
  14. I love the 34 years I had before I met my wife and I love the 15 years I’ve had since I met my wife. For vastly different yet wholly valid and fulfilling reasons.
  15. Dry saunas are the perfect antidote to Florida summers. Ten minutes at 190 degrees makes at 90 degrees feel like a welcome breeze … without the drenching weight of humidity.



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