Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things. Five, in particular.

1. JUST DO IT : In matters of the heart, if you are considering doing something (asking someone out or to the prom, or otherwise declaring your feelings in some way) where the only downside is embarrassment, do it. Just do it. The regret over not having done it far, far outweighs the momentary embarrassment of doing it and having it not go as you would like. Also, take it from a person who owned Wilson Phillips CDs – embarrassment will fade.

2. HOLD A BABY : Even if you hate children, ask to hold someone’s baby. (Assuming you don’t have one of your own.) (Please don’t make one just for the purposes of this exercise-it’s an awful lot of work.) Feel how utterly helpless they are. Remember that you were once like this-utterly dependent on the people around you for your very survival.

3. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS : Do what you love. The money will follow. This is awful easy for me to say-if you don’t have money to eat, it’s not me that gets hungry-it’s you. But the surest route to unhappiness, in my experience, is choosing a career based on what seems lucrative, or what someone else thinks you should do.

4. DO UNTO OTHERS : One of the two universal laws of human life I’ve ever experienced, the other of which being #5, this is called by Christians “The Golden Rule”. (It is actually a Jewish law, but I don’t know if Jews have a different name for it.) There are actually versions of it in nearly every religion and culture, as far as I know, mostly because it’s a simple, powerful notion that every 5 year old understands: Don’t do to someone else what you don’t want done to you. Not only is it a common sense principle, it’s a pretty good rule to live by.

5. TANSTAAFL : The acronym, which I believe was first coined by science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein (who you should read, by the way), stands for “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”. I used to work with an older guy named Jason. Among his many delightful quirks was, whenever someone in his earshot said “free”, he would bellow, “NOTHING’S FREE!”. Jason was a bit of a jerk, but he had a point. Nothing is free. If you are being given something, you are being asked for something in return. Your job is to determine what it is, and see if you are willing to part with it. Everything has a price.