Jim Eltringham at 30

“So here I am, getting older all the time / Looking older all the time / Feeling younger in my mind…” – Goldfinger

Today is my 30th birthday, and I’m pretty excited. To celebrate, today’s post isn’t about the White House, online media, message development, or anything else like that. Or, come to think of it, maybe it is about all that stuff, in a way.

Today, I’m sharing with you 30 lessons I’ve learned that have helped shape who I am as a person over the first three decades of my life. I’m not going to say I’ve always followed each one to the letter – but when I have, I’ve found I’m a lot happier:

30. Be nice to people on the way up – not because you’ll see them on the way down, but because it’s the right thing to do.

29. Try to keep your sense of humor. Laughing at the mundane speed bumps keeps you well-grounded.

28. The Beatles had it right: All you need is love. So did the Dave Matthews Band: Turns out, it’s not where but who you’re with that really matters.

27. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

26. To-do lists are effective; and prioritized to-do lists are even better. But make sure your priorities are in order.

25. A job is never really yours until you’re ready to leave it.

24. Ideas don’t have consequences. Actions have consequences.

23. It’s important to be honest with others, but even more important – and sometimes more difficult – to be honest with yourself.

22. In recreational sports, play hard but don’t take it too seriously.

21. Your best friends will be your best friends through an awful lot. But don’t abuse that, because everyone has a limit.

20. Good things come to those who wait – but only what’s left from those who hustle.

19. State education may not be considered the best schooling, but it’s the best education. And the nuns… well, don’t get me started.

18. Government shouldn’t force you to love thy neighbor, and in reality they can’t. You should already be doing that on your own.

17. “Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.” – Winston Churchill

16. If you can ever work from home, do it.

15. Appreciate your surroundings.

14. “Toil is good for the soul.” – Dan Klenck

13. My Mom was right about just about everything.

12. If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing you may find you’re missing all the rest.

11. Viewing yourself through others’ eyes can be a useful exercise but a dangerous habit.

10. Pray as if it all depended on God, but work as if it all depended on you.

9. If you ever need to get pumped up – for a new job or any other endeavor – a viewing of the Mighty Ducks is just what the doctor ordered.

8. Fear, anger, and aggression are the ways of the Dark Side.

7. Come to think of it, my Dad was right about just about everything, too.

6. Follow your gut. Where I have regrets, it’s usually because I over-thought things; I’m not nearly as regretful about times I’ve followed instincts that proved to be wrong.

5. In every crisis, there are elements of danger – and elements of opportunity.

4. There are such things as guardian angels.

3. In tough times, you have to keep smiling and dare the world to knock that smile off your face. And when it tries to do just that, you have to smile wider.

2. Family comes first.

1. This one just hit me this morning: You’re only old when you wake up in the morning and feel like your best days are behind you. If you wake up every day feeling like you are about to embark on a new adventure, you will always be young – no matter how long ago you were born or how sore your body is.

I hope you have a very happy March 5, 2009!

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