I just read an article in More magazine (yes, I do fit the age bracket) "20 Things You Should Know By Now." It's kind of like that list you get before your child goes to kindergarten--you know, when they tell you if your child doesn't know three languages by this time, you must've failed as a parent in your choice of preschools? Yeah, like that.
I know you want to know what was on the list, especially if you are approaching 40 or well on your way to Methuselah's age, like me. So here is More magazine's list):
1. How to tell your doctor you want a second opinion.
Seriously. I don't even want the first opinion. I don't go to the doctor.
2. How to find your way out of the woods.(literally)
Don't go. There are lions and tigers and bears in them woods--and flying monkeys. I saw The Wizard of Oz. I know.
3. How to fake a fox trot.
You are old. You can dance any way you want now. Your kids still will be embarrassed no matter how you dance at cousin Sophie's wedding.
4. How to get the best room in the hotel.
What I really want to know is how to get out of the house and off to stay in a real hotel. And, if you have money, you can get any room you want as long as Oprah isn't staying there. She has more money than you.
5. How to counsel a friend through divorce...without getting divorced yourself.
Whoops. You do have your degree in counseling, right? No? If you are still breathing in and out at this point in your life, then you realize you have enough drama in your own life. Sometimes all you can do is listen. Or rather, all you should do as a friend is to listen--not counsel. It really will only get you into trouble. Trust me. (And sometimes when you just listen her ex will still blame you. Sigh. )
6. How to do a background check.
This one is easy. All I have to do is get my teenaged kid on this. They can find the scoop on anyone. (As long as that person goes to their high school, or teaches there.)
7. How NOT to write a business plan.
If you are writing a book, you need Book Proposals That $ell for your business plan. Why would I want to know how NOT to write a plan? "How Tos" are better. Quit wasting your time on How Nots because you are getting old, buddy.
8. How to charter a jet with friends.
I assume if you can afford a jet, you got this one licked. My advice would be to just be friends with Oprah, or hang out with trapshooters. Or know a jet pilot who wants to get some money and hours in.
9. How to tell if someone's lying to you.
I actually liked this one, and feel it is the first thing on this list that is valuable to know. If you have been a teacher, married, or had kids, you know this one. If you have had siblings, you know this one. Once you found out(uh,oh! Spoiler alert!) Santa Claus was not actually coming to YOUR house (he goes to everyone else's,) you began your trek into figuring out the liars. Malcolm Gladwell who wrote The Tipping Point and Blink has this article about face reading on his site, if you are interested in this further. Great stuff.
10. How to kick someone out of your book group.
I know that there are people you just don't want to hang out with and who probably take up all the time of the book group by yakking about her post-op trauma with her hernia surgery. It's more like Grand Rounds with Dr. House on House(my favorite TV show right now,) than a group of Desperate Housewives (which I have never seen.)
Or, if you are in a book group who writes the books, she's the one who talks incessantly about her book that continues to get rejections, but is the greatest thing since Left Behind or Harry Potter. (You know that she is going to become famous, eventually, while you never will, don't you?)
But...let's face this one. This is kind of mean. Like the mean girls at recess who exclude the new girl or the cliquey club women who decide they don't want someone in their group because she's got a better figure than everyone else and she packs her husband's lunch. There's just something totally wrong with this one. Ok, so I was the girl in school who always tried to include everyone, even when they were mean to me. Maybe you should conquer the background check thing before inviting her. But meanwhile, remember my words: Never burn a bridge. She may someday be the one who who reads your proposal and gives it thumbs up or thumbs down. And I guarantold you--she will remember you. (I will remember you...)
11. How to run for office.
Ok. That's it. This list just goes downhill from here.
I know a lot of things. I am a know-it-all. I tell people what to do on a daily basis. Queen of My Known Universe. From this point on, I'm telling you that it's what you know that can hurt you. What you don't know can be ignorant bliss.
Here's the rest of the list and if you want to truly know something, just ask me, or find the October 2005 issue of More magazine (ok, ok, so I'm a little behind in my magazine reading!) What I don't know, I can find out. (This is what I tell my kids.) And if I don't know, or don't want to know, who cares? :
12. How to recognize age discrimination.
13. How to ask for a sabbatical.
14. How to ask a man on a date.
15. How to decide what to charge as a consultant.
16. How to find an old boyfriend without it ruining your life. (Didn't he ruin your life when you knew him the first time??)
17. How to negotiate a killer severance.
18. How to program an Ipod. If I win Camy's contest, then I will want to know this one.
19. How to pack for Machu Picchu. (Whatever. I want to know how to pack for my spot on Oprah when I publish my book.)
20. How to find your way out of the woods (figuratively.) What I want to know is how to find my way out of a plot corner. Or how to upload my blog photo. Or how to get out of going to the grocery store this week in the rain and cold....
So, whaddea want to know?