45 Additional Stupid Things I’ve Learned Since My Stupid Birthday Last Year

Photo credit: Nikki Moreno-Whipple

Years ago, I learned a shockingly good piece of writing advice. “People love lists,” a middling proofreader once told me. “Doesn’t matter what the headline is—if you make it into a list, people will click on it.”

For once, that sonofabitch was right.

Case in point, last year I wrote a blog entitled 44 Stupid Things I’ve Learned Since My Stupid Birthday Last Year. People clicked on it in droves. And commented. And commented some more. And shared. And shared some more.

So, I decided to resurrect my theory again this year because 1) I have more pearls of wisdom to dole out, 2) I, too, like birthday lists, and 3) my spirit animal—humor writer Jen Mann—requires me to do it.

So, without further ado—here’s insight you likely/probably/definitely/desperately should know. As I wrote in last year’s blog: “Enjoy and abide by this list. Or don’t. Who cares? It’s my birthday. I’m eating my weight in frosting today.”

45) If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.
Seriously, people. If you’re not immediately enthused by the thought of doing something, then politely bow out. Your time is precious. And fleeting by the second.

44) As you’re crawling into bed, tell Alexa to “play thunderstorms on loop.”
Since the pandemic, I’ve peacefully slumbered to the lull-worthy sounds of distant rain and thunder. It’s Zen-tastic.

43) See above photo.
Read it again.

42) Play New York Times’ Connections game.
It’s quite the brainteaser. And if you do it first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee, I’ll guarantee it jumpstarts your medulla oblongata. Chances are, it will also make you poop.

41) Find what annoys you—and remedy it.
A blondiful friend of mine would send me 20 – 30 nonsensical memes each day on Instagram. I strongly suggested 2 – 3 memes max per day. And I also unequivocally stated, “Know your audience, woman.” She now only sends me snippets of kids falling down and/or Karens getting arrested. Victory!

40) You know that uncomfortable convo you need to have with your aging parents? It’s time.
If your folks died tomorrow, you’d be devastated. Now imagine compounding grief with trying to uncover every legal document known to man and gaining access to it. For God’s sake, have a lawyer get their will squared away and a trust implemented. Also, have your respective name added to their financial accounts now. Same goes for medical/legal power of attorney. Like, yesterday. Here’s a handy checklist.

39) Plant something.
Plant anything. And then tend to it. I guarantee it will reduce your blood pressure.

38) Know someone who’s gainfully unemployed? Take ’em to coffee/lunch—STAT!
A couple of years ago when I was sans job, I was miserable. If someone invited me for coffee/lunch, I felt like I won the proverbial lottery. (And, yes, buy their damn coffee or lunch. It’s the least you could do.)

37) Invest in a CO2 detector.
I now know two people who nearly died from invisible carbon monoxide poisoning in their home. Scary stuff. Spend the $25. Appreciate the peace of mind.


36) Ask and ye shall (usually) receive.
Hey, go watch my new PBS travel show, please. Yes, I have a new travel show on Kansas City PBS. It’s called Get Lost! I want you to watch it. My travel show, that is. I mean, finish reading this blog first—and then go watch it. Kthanxbai.

35) Embrace your faults.
In addition to our devastatingly good looks, Brad Pitt and I have something else in common. We both suffer from prosopagnosia. Known as facial blindness, it’s a condition where you—for whatever reason—don’t recognize people. Don’t be mad when I don’t remember your name, Leslie/Laura/Lolita/Lambada. In my mind, we’ve literally never met. Wear a nametag.

34) Nobody is thinking negatively about you.
And if people occasionally think about you poorly, it’s a fraction of what you actually think. Nobody cares. And, more importantly, you shouldn’t care about what anyone thinks about you. #facts

33) It’s okay to hold a grudge.
And if someone tells you otherwise, promptly remove them from the Xmas card list. Forever.

32) “Don’t frivolously spend money you don’t have.”
Before I was able to say “Mama” or “Dada,” I learned the aforementioned refrain. Thanks to my parents, my first words were “always be debt-free.”

31) A need does not mandate you make it your calling.
If something is needed in the world, it doesn’t mean it’s your job to fix it. Set yourself free.

30) Block every one of your co-workers from all your social media outlets.
Repeat, block every one of your co-workers from all your social media outlets. And then double—no, triple check, you’ve gotten ’em all.

29) Avoid renaissance faires.
Sometimes it just needs to be said.

28) Go where the energy goes.
Wonder why you enjoy being around certain people so much? It’s because they elevate your energy. Seek out those people. Yearn to be in their aura. And then add on to it.

27) Get new sheets for your bed.
Sometimes it just needs to be said.

26) Have a bunch of people over for brunch once a month.
Cook. Bake. Entertain. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

25) Download the Merlin bird app.
If you don’t do it, I swear I’ll grab your phone and download it my damn self. With one press of a button, the app will tell you every chirping bird in your vicinity. For realz. (PS. Listen for birds. If you’re wrapped up with stupid inner drama, you won’t hear ’em. When you’re calm and present, you will. Birds let you know when you’re thriving.)

24) Realize friendships have an expiration date.
People grow apart. Sad, but true. It happens. If you’re expelling infinitely more energy in a friendship and not getting anything in return, cut the ties that bind. (You know who you are.)

23) “No” is a complete sentence.
Use it liberally. Use it emphatically. Use it whimsically. Just don’t be shy about using it.

22) Update your LinkedIn profile. You’re overdue.
Your profile sucks. Need help? Buy me lunch. I’m serious. I’ll lend a hand. (PS. Go connect with me—and while you’re at it, say hi on Twitter, too!)

21) Date yourself.
Yup. Often my best nights out are flying solo for dinner. Movie optional.

20) Realize some people come into your life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons.
So sayeth Mother Teresa.

19) Send one greeting card a month.
You know who enjoys getting cards in the mail. Every. Single. F*cking. Person.
You know who hates mailing cards? Every. Single. F*cking. Person.
Suck it up.

18) Keep an IT guy/gal in your back pocket.
You never know when you’re gonna need one. Bonus if y’all become friends. (I see you, Cody Akins.)

17) Deep clean your ‘fridge.
Sometimes it just needs to be said.

16) Get an allergy test.
Inevitably you’ll discover some food group/product you have no business ingesting or using.

15) Fly nonstop whenever humanly possible.
Connections are the worst, yes? Sometimes your sanity is worth the pricier ticket cost. (Or cheaper if you fly bargain airlines.)

14) Speaking of travel, you never, ever need to check luggage.
Unless you’re flying on a two-week international sojourn, you can learn to pack smart, dumbass. If your travel-mate refuses to carry on their luggage, you have my permission to travel-divorce ’em.

13) If you argue with an idiot, that’s on you.
My advice? Wash that troll right outta your hair.

Q says hi.

12) Support local drag.
And take plenty—like an exorbitant amount—of dollar bills with you.

11) Choose a mantra.
Sometimes you need to be reminded why you’re on this earth. My mantra, you ask? “Avoid negativity at any cost.”

10) Eat weird fish.
There are 30,000 different species of fish—a majority of which are wholly edible. Expand your culinary horizons and stop ordering salmon. (It helps that I’m violently allergic to salmon. Bless.)

9) Buy something—anything—with bergamot.
Scents are very personal, but, for me, bergamot oil is a lifesaver. The fragrance is proven to alleviate depression and fatigue. I don’t care how you implement it, whether it’s a candle or hand soap, but you’ll be glad you did.

8) Invest in an LED backlit mirror.
Nothing brightens my mood (or my bathroom) like my newly installed, gigantic, hotel-esque mirror. The joy it brings me is oddly immeasurable.

7) Renew your passport.
Is it time? It’s probably time.

6) Never lend money that you need back.
It’s only a loan if you ultimately get paid back.

5) Think of an old-school cartoon that’s forever seared into your brain.
Then go find it on YouTube. Your serotonin levels will thank you.

4) Don’t give relationship advice.
You’ll always be wrong.

3) Zaphir chimes are life.
If the energy in your house is stale and uninviting, hang up some zaphir chimes that catch the breeze. It’s the perfect way to infuse zing and Zen into your space. That bing-bong-bing can soothe even those most savage soul.

2) Sage + palo santo = the perfect one-two punch.
I buy both in gross. Like, by the metric ton. I burn it almost daily. Bad juju doesn’t stand a chance at Casa Mackie. In other news, I’ve set off my fire alarm about two dozen times this year.

1) Again, your birthday is a big deal.
Yes, your friends should absolutely fuss over you. Yes, rib them if they don’t. They should feel immense guilt—because, yes, you’re f*cking worth it.

11 thoughts on “45 Additional Stupid Things I’ve Learned Since My Stupid Birthday Last Year

  1. I loved every word. I think I will creare my own version for my self.
    Thank you for continuing to be a spark that creates light in the little world we live.

    1. We met years ago at some social something and I realized that we are wired the same way. Your enthusiasm is addictive and we do not suffer fools lightly. Even though I am a chunk older than you it feels like you are led by patents/grandparents who are depression Era survivors. You have a solid block up top! Just a couple of things though. Everybody is running on different DNA and when I wake up in the morning I just wake up. I would make a devout Mormon because caffeine makes me a nervous wreck. And I have observed over decades people’s obsession over birthdays, especially their own. Since I am in the hospitality business I get really self-aware/nervous when folks laud me just because I didn’t die one more year. But I do love doling out the love to special people (when I can remember their big day)! Keep up the good work by showing the pronoun numb how to say stuff goodly. I’s is not a word. ‘My’ seems to have become extinct.

      1. O Craig you said it so So eloquently described him described him. Love both of you♥️

  2. I loved every word. I think I will create my own version for my self.
    Thank you for continuing to be a spark that creates light in the little world we live.

  3. Thankyou for always sharing your evolutionary take aways. Love you and happy 29th!-KK

  4. Michael your advice is wise and sage-worthy. Folks can tell you were raised right. I’m proud to call you a friend.

  5. I have done several (including taking you to coffee) I will add several. Merlin, who knew? A little birdie told me.
    thank you, Michael Mackie.
    PS. I bought a cap that reads “Let’s get Lost!”

    Have a wonderful day!

  6. You’re the gay angel fairy I’ve been asking God to send me. Hugs and Happy Birthday, winged one

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