32 Nuggets of Wisdom (with a Twist)

UPDATED: October 6, 2015
PUBLISHED: April 5, 2015

The upside of being a columnist faced with a milestone birthday—or so it seems from pieces I’ve read by other columnists—is you get to spout some of your vast accumulated wisdom. But what if your accumulated wisdom is only, as the punsters would say, half-vast? I’ve thought a lot about this question, now that my own dreaded milestone is coming up. (Which one? Let’s just say that on that day, I assume my home will flood with AARP letters—through the mail slot, down the chimney—the way Harry Potter’s house filled with acceptances from Hogwarts.) And I’m pleased to reveal my foolproof method for acquiring all the valuable insights you’d expect from someone of my advanced age:

I stole them.

My source of wisdom: aphorisms, those time-honored sayings that we’ve all memorized by the dozen. (Two is company, three is a crowd! The early bird gets the worm!) Of course, you wouldn’t want me to just list a bunch of aphorisms you already know, which is why I’ve tweaked them a little, based on my observations these past never-mind-how-many years:

Two is company, three is an excuse to open more wine.
The early bird gets later birds annoyed.
Where there is smoke, there is a toaster oven.
The grass is always greener for alumni reunions.
Let sleeping spouses lie, and sleeping babies.
Slow and steady wins few Nike endorsements.
Great minds are willing to listen to other minds.
What goes up gets stuck to the kitchen ceiling; what goes around rolls under the fridge.
Haste makes your kids go slower.
One man’s trash is always blowing onto your lawn.
When in Rome, eat hazelnut gelato.
Honesty is best, except with haircuts and flab.
Don’t judge a book by Amazon reviews.
Better the Devil Dog you know than the off-brand snack food you don’t.
Toddlerhood makes for strange bedfellows.
Measure twice, cut carbs from your diet; realize you are miserable without carbs; resume eating carbs; quit measuring.
Still waters may run deep, but they smell rotten.
If you snooze, make sure it’s around people you wouldn’t mind seeing you drool.
A penny saved is germy: use Purell.
Don’t judge a man until after lunch, when you’re in a better mood.
A little bit of knowledge is catnip at a cocktail party.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, guess what people say when you leave the room.
Half a loaf will make you really sleepy.
If it ain’t broke, your kids are gonna break it.
Early to bed and early to rise is possible for all families but yours.
The nail that sticks up will destroy your sock.
People in glass houses can’t watch TV in their underpants.
A cat has nine ways of stealing your dinner when you’re not looking.
Fortune favors the one who buys the most raffle tickets.
You can’t have your cake in front of children who have already had their cake.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with “Are we there yet?” and ends with an Excedrin headache.
With age comes license to pretend you’re wise.

Check out what 24 VIPs—from Dave Ramsey to will.i.am, Dolly Parton to Suze Orman—learned at their own milestone birthdays.