50 things I’ve learned in my first fifty years.

I’m turning fifty this week – thank you – and it occurs to me that I’ve acquired some knowledge and insight in that time. I thought it might be interesting to sit with myself and figure out what some of that is. As you travel through life, you pick up interesting bits and pieces of information and form ideas about this, that, and the other. In the interest of symmetry, I decided to share fifty of mine. Some are deep, and some less so. So, in no particular order, because I’m simply writing things down as they occur to me, I present my list (which, now that I’m finished is very long, so apologies for that):...

lean into the discomfort

"...I’m pretty good at dealing with discomfort from morning until dinnertime. It’s the evening hours that lead to struggle. That’s when thoughts I’d rather not be thinking crawl out from the corners of my brain. That’s when negative impulses start to push hard against efforts to resist them. That’s when anxiety likes to kick it up a notch..."

dealing with failure

"I’m currently dealing with failure. It’s a failure that’s totally out of my control. Unfortunately, there are mitigating circumstances that were in my control, and I’m having a hard time not blaming myself for them. Blaming ourselves for our historical actions is problematic and pointless. We can’t change what’s already done. That doesn’t, however, erase the struggle..."

when it’s hard to like yourself

"I just finished reading Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums. It’s the first Kerouac novel I’ve read, and I’m not going to kid you – it was a challenge to adapt to his writing style. Once you get the rhythm, however, wow. He was brilliant. His descriptions are fantastic, and his writing is intense. He pulls you into his world and keeps you there, sharing his thoughts and philosophies, and detailing what life was like for those in the beat generation, for those who dropped out. It’s all philosophy and striving for contentment and learning to just be. There were also some very interesting parties. I wish I’d been there. I wish I could write like that. My feelings about my writing are problematic..."