Everything I Have Learned So Far, and then some

I hit a milestone birthday this weekend: 40 years on the planet.

Reflecting, as one does at times like these, I decided to revisit a post I wrote in 2010 titled Everything I’ve Learned So Far. I dug this out of the archives because I was curious: how much, or how little, have these convictions changed for me in eight years? If I was going to write a 2018 edition of Everything I’ve Learned So Far, what would I omit or add?

For the most part — for better or worse — 32-year-old James sounds suspiciously not unlike 40-year-old James. At the same time, a lot has changed. To recap: I’ve been married to an incredible person for these eight years, who has taught me so much. I have almost completely changed the direction of my so-called career path. On top of all this, I even had the immense privilege to spend three and a half years writing along the way. In sum: it has been a significant eight years.

In the intervening years, these sixteen ‘life lessons’ have been tested, stretched, forgotten, re-learned, and developed. There have certainly been a few additions. And perhaps some remain less front of mind today. Either way, I am going to make some space to ponder and write about each of “things I had learned so far” as a 32-year-old and revisit them from the perspective of my forties. My goal is to reflect on one per week.

I humbly own the fact that this onset of contemplative energy is wholly inspired by turning 40. I am intrigued by the cultural significance associated with the passing of decades. But like the countdown of a New Years celebration, a big round number seems as good of a reminder as any to intentionally pause and ponder life.

If I have the good fortune of another 10 years on this planet, I will hopefully look back on this reflection (in 2028, in my fifties!) through yet another decade of existence. I want to believe that wisdom compounds with age — or, at very least, that every year adds another year’s worth of experience and learning through which to see and describe life.

(I’ll tag the subsequent posts in this ‘series’ of reflections as life lessons.)

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