7 Truths After 42 Years of Living

Benjamin Sledge
6 min readJul 29, 2023
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In 1989, I was eight years old and played on a soccer team named “Stars & Stripes.” Cold War fever was still in full swing despite us not knowing the war was in its final years, hence my soccer team’s name. Back then, we were proud to buy American. If you yelled “Wolverines!” it was mutually understood the commies sucked. Hell… I rocked a flat-top because it was the quintessential American men’s hair fashion at the time.

Need proof? Here ya go.

At age 8, were I to give you life advice, it would have revolved around my experience then—girls have cooties and collecting comic books will one day make you a millionaire. In my teens? Well, we can consult my yearbook, which would amount to wanting to marry some cheerleader, being your badass yourself, and Limp Bizkit ruling forever. By my 30s, you’d get more sage and sound advice, but my predictions about the future and things I’d assume would happen would be way off. The same is true in my 40s, and I feel I know even less. With age, however, you temper, and often reflect on the timeless truths that have permeated your youth and later years. You recognize you no longer know what the future holds, but keenly grasp wisdom that has permeated time since the ancients.

So while there is nothing new under the sun, these are my 7 truths I’ve discovered on my 42nd birthday.

1 — If you want friends, show yourself friendly

During my college bar-hopping years, I never once approached a woman if she appeared put off or had a sour look. I assumed she didn’t want to talk and wanted to be respectful. Given that body language makes up the vast majority of how we communicate, the same is true when making friends. My mom was wise enough to remind me of this truth as a young boy, and it’s made all the difference in my life. People aren’t looking for Oscar the Grouch to call friend, but someone they can connect with and who appears friendly themselves. The mistake is to assume other people should make first contact. But the only friendship that leads to is loneliness, because you’ll get left waiting. Take my mom’s wisdom to heart — be the friend you wish to have, and watch your life blossom…

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Benjamin Sledge

Multi-award winning author | Combat wounded veteran | Mental health specialist | Occasional geopolitical intel | Graphic designer | https://benjaminsledge.com