40 Things I've Learned at 40

personal perspective

Today I turn forty. That number sounds like it belongs more to my parents than to me, but here we are. I'm not sad about it... in fact I feel like I'm the best version of myself yet. This seems to be the goal of aging. To celebrate my birthday with all of you, I decided to share forty things I've learned about life in my forty years on this planet.

  1. Walking while listening to an audiobook is like a cheat code for your development.  
  2. Most friendships are based on convenience. The best ones continue after they become inconvenient.
  3. You are free to enjoy the things that other people make fun of you for. Don’t let parts of you die a social death.
  4. Curiosity is a gateway drug to a more interesting life.
  5. Everybody is somebody’s heretic.
  6. Being busy is more of a coping mechanism than a badge of honor.
  7. Reading books is the best way to learn things the easy way.
  8. Empathy is an underrated superpower.
  9. Power dynamics play a bigger role in relationships than we tend to realize.
  10. Talking to people in your house only when you can see them will greatly improve your family dynamics.
  11. Growing something you eat is an easy way to eat healthier and is a surprisingly rewarding experience (I grow sprouts).
  12. Always be learning something new.
  13. Spend as little time on manufactured energy as you can. Take note of the things that naturally excite you and those that naturally drain you. Your energy is a finite resource.
  14. The Bible isn’t clear (but it’s still worth reading).
  15. Jesus is better than the best version of Him you could imagine. Act accordingly.
  16. Books that are still being published more than 50 years after they were written are disproportionately worth your time.
  17. Most people have an underdeveloped sense of imagination.
  18. You can be in the best shape of your life at age forty.
  19. Find people who want to see you win. They’ll help you succeed, and you will both get better.
  20. Avoid people who need to bring you down to feel better about themselves. Their insecurities will become your obstacles.
  21. Nobody's theology is fully right, but that doesn't mean all theology is equal. Good theology is theology that looks like Jesus.
  22. Kindness is a strength, not a weakness.
  23. Changing your mind is a sign of growth. Most people aren’t growing.
  24. Independence is offensive.
  25. Slowing down to smell your food can dramatically increase your enjoyment of it. This is especially true when drinking wine.
  26. Your memories are often tied to places. This is why traveling can be so insightful.
  27. Waking up at the same time every day (including weekends) makes your mornings significantly better, especially if you’re a night person.
  28. It turns out that the things you used to do for fun late at night you can also do during the day.
  29. Laughter is good for your health and makes any relationship better.
  30. You are not obligated to be the person you used to be. What would the best version of you look like?
  31. The great books are worth rereading again and again.
  32. When it comes to Christianity, our ideas of 'heresy' and 'orthodoxy' are often based on who had (or has) the most power and influence.
  33. Acting as if you have no doubts or being defined by what you doubt are both ways to get stuck in what you believe.
  34. We should spend more time pondering the trajectory of the New Testament (through the direction of the Holy Spirit) rather than trying to find a verse that settles every question we have.
  35. You’re probably not eating enough protein.
  36. Patriotism is not a spiritual gift. It's also not a fruit of the Spirit.
  37. Loyalty is not a spiritual gift. It's also not a fruit of the Spirit.
  38. Most people will either intrigue you more as you get to know them better or intrigue you less as you get to know them better. Spend more time with the first group.
  39. Don't define yourself by your thoughts. You get to decide how to respond to what you think.
  40. The effect you have on those around you is rarely neutral. Some people bring out the best in others, and some people bring out the worst.

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