Everything I Learned in Life, I Learned From Drinking

Most people think they learned everything they need in life from school. All the practical life lessons, all the ways to treat people, all the ways to stay out of trouble they learned in their evolution from toddler to adolescent. These lessons, although valuable, are incomplete.

Some of life’s biggest truths and most important lessons are learned from drinking. Whether on a first date or downing a bottle of scotch with buddies or finishing a keg at a party, every lesson you’ll ever need in life can be distilled from a bottle of vodka.

1. Patience is rewarding

As we learn from a 25-year old bottle of Laphroaig or 1972 vintage of Petrus, some of the best things in life take time to develop. Be patient and the results can be amazing.

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2. Be kind to people, especially those who serve you

We’ve all been to a party or a wedding where the waiters are scurrying around trying to serve every table and all the guests feel entitled to be served first. Be kind, tip well and you’ll be surprised at how much better the night will be. If you’re nice enough, waiters and bartenders will serve you up an extra shot of leave you a bottle for your table.

This goes the same for household helpers, drivers, security guards and maintenance personnel. Be extra nice and you might surprise yourself.

3. Know your limits

Everyone has their own tolerance for everything. Whether it’s two shots for tequila, 5 bottles of beer or a job that requires you to work 14 hours a day, know when to quit. Understand that there is a tipping point to how much good or bad we can take.

4. Always have a plan

Have a ride home. Assign a designated driver. Bring enough cash. Make sure you eat enough before drinking. Little details can spell big trouble down the road if ignored. Plan ahead. You’ll save yourself from passing out or getting into an accident.

Details matter. A project, be it a party or a product launch, will require that you think ahead and make measured decisions along the way.

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5. Take care of each other

Family takes care of family. We’ve all been in a situation where someone we know was too wasted to function and needed bailing out. Always lend a helping hand as it could easily be you who’s plastered on the floor needing a bro to pick you up.

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6. Stick to one

In alcohol and relationships, mixing is never a good idea. Stick to one and always wake up happy.

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7. Things are never as bad as they seem

They say alcohol doesn’t solve problems, but it certainly helps in fleshing them out. Drinking with friends provides perspective, and makes one feel that somehow things will work out.

A failing grade on a long test? A shitty day at work? A bad breakup? Brush it off. Life goes on.

8. You get what you pay for

Don’t expect a fine wine if you’re only willing to pay for cheap beer.

The same goes for most things – cars, food, houses, education – you skimp on what you put in and you can’t expect a good problem. It’s true also for oneself. Don’t invest in yourself and you run the risk of getting left behind.

9. Keep hydrated

Hydration is essential to everything from preventing hangovers to keeping your brain clicking. Keep chugging that bottle of water.

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10. There are always consequences

It’s just physics, really. Every action has an equal reaction. This is never more true than when you’re drunk. Go in for a kiss, and you’ll either get slapped or get lucky. Drive drunk and you’re more likely to get into an accident. Fuck unsafely and well, plan ahead for a baby shower.

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11. Keep walking

Ask anybody who got drunk on a work/school night. The worst feeling in the world is having to get up and get dressed and go to work the next morning, but it has to be done. Take responsibility for your actions, suck it up and keep walking. No excuses.

12. There’s a time and place for everything

Shots of tequila have no place on the dinner table the same way you don’t pass around an earthy Merlot to get a party going. There’s an etiquette to every situation and proper decorum for every setting. Wear a tie to work, a Sunday dress on Sundays and wear rubber shoes to the gym.

13. Don’t be an asshole

This practically needs no explanation. We’ve all met assholes. Don’t be that guy, even if you have an excuse to be.

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14. Edit sober

“Write drunk, edit sober” is a very helpful adage that goes beyond just drinking. Be creative, take risks and let your true self shine through. At the end of the day, take stock of who you are, reflect, meditate and make sure you’re still the person you want yourself to be.

15. The fondest memories are made when gathered around a table

Always find time to gather your group of friends together. With or without the booze, it’s always a recipe for laughs and good stories.

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Featured image via Mayer Hawthorne’s music video Henny and Ginger Ale

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