In three decades of hanging out with myself, I’ve learned a lot, but here are 30 notable lessons in honor of a fun upcoming birthday.Nicole DeCosta

1. Make checklists every day.

2. If you loan someone money, don’t ever expect to get it back.

3. Fork over some dough and get front row seats to one concert instead of crappy seats to 20 concerts.

4. If you love someone, tell them right then.

5. Overcome bullies.

6. No one’s going to give you anything. No one owes you anything. Life is what you make it. Work your butt off. Own it. Each day is a fresh start.

7. If you believe in something, stand up for it. But, if you constantly have to defend yourself in a group of friends, find some new ones. There are other people just like you — awesome like you.

8. Hang out with your parents and grandparents; swap stories, ask questions, take pictures.

9. No one remembers if you stayed home a few Friday nights to get ahead. They do remember if you complained incessantly about never getting ahead in life.

10. When the ship starts to sink, you find out who your true friends are.

11. If you think something’s wrong, go to the doctor.

12. Stay involved in your community. Give strangers compliments. It’s a free gift.

13. If you’re going to try at something — do it. Research it, pour your heart into it.

14. Take a fashion risk.

15. Don’t work for someone who doesn’t make you feel like a rock star.

16. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s better. Don’t cheat through life. Have integrity.

17. Commit to whatever you are doing 100 percent. How are you supposed to succeed if your chips aren’t all in?

18. Stay spiritual. Pray when you see an ambulance. Lay on the floor and close your eyes and just say thank you — just because.

19. Run in a bunch of different social circles.

20. Learn how to say no — no explanation needed.

21. Marry someone you’d feel just as comfortable with living out of your car as you would in some penthouse. Money is going to come and go, but both people have got to be in it to win it.

22. Some risks are worth taking — love, vacations abroad and Britney Spears’ latest album.

23. Just because everybody else is having kids, doesn’t mean you have to.

24. Do crunches while you watch TV.

25. Learn how to write, but use your words wisely when arguing.

26. You have more in common with the stranger sitting next to you than you think.

27. Everyone wants you to smile and tell jokes.

28. If you’re going to tell a story, really tell the story. Get into it.

29. Be known as a dependable person.

30. Live life with innocence. Wake up everyday curious and excited to learn something new and meet someone new.

And always reflect at the start of a new chapter.

Nicole DeCosta, Tigard, is the former West Linn Tidings editor, former writer for the Lake Oswego Review and former manager of the LO magazine. She now works in Lake Oswego.

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