Wednesday, July 9, 2008

13 things about Dan Laster

I'm back from my ten day adventure abroad. Prague, Vienna and London. I left on Thursday night June 26 and my feet didn't stop moving until I got off the plane in Philadelphia on Sunday, July 6.

I was there to celebrate my friend Dan Laster's birthday. I have known him as Stan for our entire relationship which has existed mostly on air (phone lines) for 30 years. Ten years ago we spent a weekend together with two other friends and his amazing wife. Before that I had only seen him very sporadically over 20 years. Stan is the friend I could call in the middle of the night and the one who always seemed to call right when I was ready to jump off an emotional ledge. He's pulled me back many times.

Here's a list of things I learned about my friend Stan, probably the most successful person I know.

1. Stretch your body every morning (and do this for 30 years.)

2. Don't drink soda (for 30 years.)

3. Run 18 to 35 miles a week (for 30 years.)

4. Whatever you are doing, it is the best. That whole thing about positive self-talk? He does it. Our adventures were the best. It was the best museum, the best meal, the best conversation. I was the best. By the end of the week I started believing it. (The trip really was the best though.)

5. The financial tips offered by waiters mean that particular strategy has run its course. For example, flipping real estate. When the waiters start doing it, it's done.

6. Be generous with your friends and family.

7. Be frugal about your own stuff though.

8. Take the stairs even if the elevator offers a cooler view.

9. Think the best of people and believe their intentions are good.

10. Become a vegetarian. And stay one for uh, 30 years.

11. Re-invent yourself every ten or 15 years. Either professionally or personally.

12. Do what you say you'll do (see soda, running, and stretching.)

13. Remember your roots. And then pinch yourself. (His are Palisades Park, N.J., and a view of the turnpike from his bedroom window, believing he'd travel that road some day. He's gone much further.)

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