Meet Bassey Ikpi.  Perhaps you know her already.  I am on the late train for I was never really a faithful viewer of Def Poetry Jam.  Over the past year of a greatly expanded exploration of authorship, I have found myself discovering an increasing number of intriguing spaces in the social network.  I cannot recall where I initially spied the first bread crumb which caused me to subscribe to her Twitter feed, but the first piece of her writing which I ever read was here.

There is a hard habit I have of finding writers I adore in every spare corner of the universe and fawning over each living inclination of their pen.  I ain’t saying that this is true in this particular instance, but it is always possible.  Therefore I keep myself guarded against it.  I was so very inspired by Bassey’s magnanimous birthday entry subtitled “35 Things I need to Know and Remember”.  I knew I must eventually codify a set of my own.

I believe that I was in a conversation with a friend and while making mention of Bassey’s post, I started to rattle off the first 5 in number.  The other 26 came later on the bus ride home.  I could not figure how many I should do 31 or 32 since most of you know that I have chosen to age backwards, but I have settled on the happy medium of 33 for the sake of posterity.  I’m sure Jah’kaya won’t be wanting a 24 year old father when she turns 15.  You can laugh at me on that note.  Believe me.  I’m cracking up inside.  33 puts me two years ahead of my last birthday.  I’ll revisit you all again here at 34.  Maybe.  If the mood strikes me.

  1. Build a full life.
  2. Enjoy it.
  3. Remind yourself to revisit thing 2 often.
  4. Inform someone else how you accomplished thing 1.
  5. All other things are optional
  6. Make magic from the periphery.  Never claim credit.  If they query you about your gift, remember the credo: “a magician always reveals his/her secrets”.
  7. Play each instrument intuitively.  If someone corrects you, tell them you are both right.
  8. Always take the last dance.  At just the precise moment, give it freely to someone who is not dancing.
  9. Sarcasm is necessary when profanity would find itself intellectually less acute and impactful.  Keep at least three witty retorts in a shirt or pants pocket in case of emergency.
  10. Laughter is a panacea.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha your way to a healing.
  11. Use these first 10 steps to expand the space between you and your child for a fragment of time.  You will inevitably have a lecture for them when you return.
  12. Dance to the music.
  13. Make music to which others can dance.
  14. Muscle memory is your friend.
  15. Tiger Balm for easier mornings.
  16. Practice perfect.  Someday you won’t even be close.
  17. Make an excuse to write.  Accuse your distractions openly of conspiring against you.
  18. Make fun of yourself for talking to inanimate objects.
  19. In life, utility is a higher place than longevity.
  20. Nothing wasted, nothing wanted.
  21. Take a big risk, fall on your face, then take a big risk again.  You already know how the ground feels.
  22. Freestyle awkwardly.
  23. Burn that sh*t down and start over.
  24. F’ these rules maann!
  25. We need more cowbell.
  26. Silliness trumps seriousness.
  27. Remember to write it down.  If you forget to write it down and later forget what you have forgotten, forget about your forgetfulness for you will have another brilliant idea tomorrow.
  28. Children are founts of endlessly flowing youth.  Barter a few more cupfuls of life from them by offering forth your carefree moments of child’s play.
  29. Call your mother.
  30. Now is as good a time as any to be the rockstar you wanted to be in high school.
  31. Sleep needs you.  You wouldn’t want it to get lonely because you weren’t there.
  32. Put everything you are into everything you do.  Leave blood, soul and bone fragment upon the dance floor.
  33. Business never personal is a misnomer.  If you could leave your person behind, you wouldn’t have much business to conduct.  Accept the gifts you bring with you and recognize that others should compensate you well for them.  Compensation is not simply monetary.  Make it your business to honor your personal every time.