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40 Things I Did 40 Times (or More) Before Turning 40

The first-ever mid-life crisis played out as a two-part series of Buzzfeed list articles

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I’m probably the last Gen X-er to turn 40... and the first millennial to turn 40... BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. It’s equal parts empowering and daunting. And as I reach this milestone, it's important to take pride in what I’ve accomplished, and reflect on the unfulfilled promise.

In Part I of this mid-life crisis in list form, I calculate, celebrate and commemorate a bunch of things I've done. And done. And done again.

Some are experiences you'd want to have (seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert almost 70 times); Others are things I wish I'd never experienced even once (getting caught in a downpour without an umbrella). But such is the life of a 40-year old suburban dad...

1. Regretted a Decision

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They say you should live your life without regrets. I'm failing at that. I can think of at least 100 things I've regretted saying, doing, making or trying. Fuck it - if you don't have regrets, then you're not learning from mistakes.

Also: Agreeing to write this post may be my most recent, though certainly not the biggest.

2. Injured Myself Putting Something Together

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I swear, I'm very handy. Yet almost every appliance, piece of furniture, game, kid toy or any other purchase that has required assembly has resulted in some sort of injury.

Reco: ALWAYS pay to have something pre-assembled, delivered or installed.

6. Thought of Something Brilliant in the Middle of the Night... Only to Forget it the Next Morning

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For the life of me, I'll never remember any of those billion-dollar ideas I come up with when waking up in the middle of the night.

11. Swept the Leaves Out of My Garage

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Despite a 15+ year break while living in the city, I've been fighting a losing battle to keep the damn leaves out of my garage. They somehow always find their way back in. Stay on the lawn, for crissakes.

12. Arrived At the Airport More Than Two Hours Ahead of Time Before a Flight

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Yup, I'm THAT guy. The one who'd rather be early than late. The one who fears long security lines. The one who waits for more than two hours at the gate jus to be safe. And no, I've never missed a flight...

14. Watched The Shawshank Redemption

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Flipping through the channels quickly, catching Shawshank about 1/3 of the way in, watching diligently through commercials until Red finds Andy on the beach in Zihua.

And repeat.

15. Been Flummoxed by a Jam in the Office Printer

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How many times have I hit "Print," walked over to the printer/copier only to see that someone else didn't clear a paper jam? Or refill/roload an empty tray?

17. Papercuts

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On average, I get one paper cut per week. Multiply that by 52, then again times 37 (because i wasn't getting them before age 3), and it's fair to estimate that I've gotten roughly 1,900 papercuts in my life. So far.

18. Lost in Fantasy Sports Due To a Bad Move

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Sometimes mistakes on Draft Day can have devastating consequences. Sometimes, starting the wrong WR in the flex spot at 12:55pm on Sunday leads to a 2-point loss. Either way, it's not good. So why do we torture ourselves with this again...?

19. Apocalyptic Experiences on the Long Island Railroad

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I ride the train twice a day. And it's almost always miserable. In just the past month alone, I've experienced "Peanut Guy" and "Popcorn Man" - and that doesn't even account for the "2017 Summer of Hell."

20. Vomited

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Without exaggeration, there were probably single months in college where I vomited at least 40 times from excessive drinking. I'm not saying this with pride, but certainly with a small bit of nostalgia.

23. Not Realized That Something I Was Eating Contained Garlic in it... Until it Was Too Late

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While it's not an allergy, per se, what do you call it when your body simply refuses to digest and metabolize an entire type of food found in 80% of cooked meals.

24. Read a Presidential Biography

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When you bring trashy magazines or mystery novels to the beach, I bring 1,000-word hard cover biographies. In fact, prior to starting my current project -- a sequential reading of presidential bios (I'm up to Nixon, #37) -- I had read dozens more out of order. So when it comes to presidential expertise, it's Douglas Brinkley, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Edmund Morris and me.

26. Exaggerated the Effects of Drunkenness

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Not proud of this, but when others keep going strong and ordering more shots at the bar, the only way to respectfully slow down is to fall off the chair, stumble backwards and disappear into the bathroom for a few minutes.

29. Lost at Blackjack with 20 When The Dealer Pulls 21

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You're sitting there feeling pretty good about yourself... a King and a Queen staring back at you... while the dealer has a 6 showing. They turn the other card over to reveal a 5... and you know what's coming next...

30. Mosquito Bites

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Yes, we've all gotten hundreds of mosquito bites in our lives, but I'm actually referring to an even more annoying type of mosquito bite: the ones you get when you step outside for less than 30 seconds, yet they still manage to find the small patch of exposed skin, latch on and suck long enough to draw blood.

31. Absolutely Nailed It In Karaoke

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You choose a song you know everyone will like, you hit all the high notes, land every syllable, even throw in some choreography for good measure. But halfway through yet another epic karaoke performance, you realize either they're not paying attention or they just don't care.

32. Blown Through A Stop Sign

Not to make light of safety, which is serious, so Stop signs do serve a purpose when there are multiple cars or pedestrians at an intersection. But, like, 90% of the time, when it's just you at the corner, slowing down for a few seconds is totally good enough.

35. Written a Questionable Tweet

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There are only two kinds of tweets:

1. Tweets you didn't realize people would find offensive.

2. Tweets you think might be offensive but post anyway.

Of my almost 30,000 tweets, I'd say they are split pretty evenly down the middle.

36. Voted

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As a property-holding white male, you'd think that I would take the right to vote for granted. But in the 22 years since I turned 18, I've probably voted 100 times. Primaries, general elections, state, local, federal, school boards, budget votes, buzzfeed polls, you name it. And while I won't say this next election matters more than ever... this election matters more than ever.

38. Felt Gratitude

Life isn't about what you do, but with whom you do it. There are always going to be people that help you along the way, people who care: parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, total strangers. And while being appreciative to those people is important, so is expressing it (which I'm not nearly as good at). So to anyone and everyone who has done something good or kind for me along the way, thank you.

39. Said "I Love You" Before Bed

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When I was a kid, I remember hearing about a friend's dad who passed away overnight. It haunted me ever since... Now, every night with my kids when putting them to sleep, the last thing I tell them is that I love them. You know... just in case I don't wake up. Then I usually fall asleep in their bed and wake up in the middle of the night with a stiff neck or sore back.

40. Celebrated a Birthday

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Well, today is the day. 40th birthday.

40 years of accomplishments, 40 years of laughs, 40 years of emotions, 40 years of mistakes and 40 years of hopes and dreams, some of which have been fulfilled, but lots of time left to check those boxes and knock things off the bucket list...

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