1.The first time you see your father as a man, complete with flaws, unfulfilled dreams, and unchained lust. Your mission: Learn from him, but don't repeat after him.

2. Your first gray hair. You see Grandpa. She sees a distinguished-looking exception to the horde of brown-haired knuckleheads at the pub. No, you're not going to shag every shaggable woman you see, but you should understand by now that that's a blessing, not a curse.

3. Your first paycheck. It gave you a one-two combination punch from the invisible hand of capitalism, the first being that yes, taxes suck. The second: This is not nearly enough dough. Both fueled your ambition to earn more zeros. And still should.

4. The first time you fight the Man and win. Who knew that Tom over in the passport office had the power to renew yours on the spot? Goliath, when properly motivated, will cradle David in his big paw.

5. Your first wedding as a groomsman.  You looked your best, the free booze flowed, and you had that genuine pang of hope that someday you'd find the woman of your dreams--and that she might just be that hot bridesmaid dancing to "Baby Got Back."

6. The first time you dump a girl. It took balls to walk away from free nooky. Maybe you're stronger than you think.

7. The first time you're picked last. First thought: I suck. Second: I'll show them. That mojo can last a lifetime.

8. The first time you encounter mechanical failure in bed. Laugh it off, reboot, and spend the next hour pleasing her. She'll remember it as your best performance ever.

9. Your first medical scare. Next time you're in the drive-thru or at the gym, remember that panic.

10. The first time you talk your way out of a ticket. It teaches you that most cops are just trying to avoid pulling your ass out of yet another bloody wreck, and makes you accelerate more attentively next time. You just don't know what might be around that corner, do you?

11. The first time you stay out all night and see the sunrise. Freedom. Hope. Endless possibilities. Attack every dawn with that mix of surprise, awe, and optimism.

12. The first time your 401(k) number surpasses your annual earnings. It means you'll be buying and not serving the latte at Starbucks in 2048.

13. The first time you walk away from an animal pleasure--the fourth pitcher, the available wench. It's an indication that your cerebral cortex has finally taken over from your lizard brain. Now you can pursue a life, rather than merely live it.

14. The first time you ask your kid for advice. He'll be more likely to take your counsel if he's also sharing, so give him some choice research projects: Find the next car, the right home-theater setup, the smart college.

15. The first time you realize that dropping a compliment can motivate change more effectively than issuing a command. The breadcrumb trail works better than the whiplash.