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Thoughts on Turning 40

I have been doing some thinking about life, the universe and everything (so I know the big birthday is actually in two years…) and I decided I would share a few things I have learned on the journey thus far. Some you may recognize. I didn’t come up with any of these in a vacuum.

  • Mercy is a better than judgement.
  • No one is poor who has friends.
  • It is better to leave the job and respect yourself than to endure for the sake of economics.
  • Being able to look at yourself in the mirror is more important than what other people think.
  • Making people angry for fun isn’t cool.
  • Degrees and certificates mean very little. The truly educated continue to learn throughout life and don’t consider their education complete when they earn a piece of paper.
  • Degrees and certificates are not bad things, though.
  • People are more important than things.
  • Helping is more important than hoarding.
  • Compassion and love are better than being right.
  • Accomplishing anything takes hard work.
  • No one accomplishes anything without the help of others.
  • The “self-made man” and “rugged individualism” are lies. No one is an island.
  • Better to be a clay pot that contains beauty than a whitewashed tomb.
  • Learning a new language opens the mind to be able to understand things that are inexpressible in other languages.
  • Understanding is worth the pursuit, even though you will never understand everything.
  • Conversation is better than coerced acquiescence.
  • Listening is more difficult and more rewarding than speaking.
  • Reading a lot is vital for anyone who desires to write well.
  • Only those who listen and learn may become good teachers.
  • Volume has nothing to do with correctness.
  • Truth is not relative, but perceptions are. To express truth one must first understand the perceptions of the listener.
  • Every culture is different, none are perfect, and all contain some beauty and truth worth absorbing.
  • Hating or mistreating someone because of how they look, their accent or language, or where they grew up is dumb.
  • Fear destroys more than anything other than pride.
  • People will often say and do things while anonymous they would never do if their names were attached.
  • Some opinions really are worth more than others and not every opinion is actually valid.
  • Knowing which opinions are more valid is rarely easy, so listening to all of them is important.
  • It is okay to be wrong if you are teachable because then being wrong doesn’t have to be destructive.
  • Very few people are teachable because humility is difficult.
  • Anyone who treats a waiter or waitress poorly is not a good person. You can learn a lot about someone by taking them out to lunch.
  • Planting a tree to commemorate a big event doesn’t make as much sense as it used to since society is so much more mobile now. Getting a tattoo is a good substitute in those cases.
  • Everybody gets grumpy when they are tired and/or hungry. Yelling at them doesn’t help. Feeding them and helping them rest does.
  • Politeness is a skill that anyone can learn and says to others that you value them as people.
  • It really is okay to do more than your fair share. It teaches others to be generous and starts a trend.


  1. BH

    I love the tree vs tattoo conclusion.

  2. Mohammed Bassit

    Planting a tree is never a bad thing though 🙂

    Thanks for the thoughts !

  3. Agreed. Planting a tree is a good thing.

  4. Gregor

    A list I very much agree with, even so I often struggle to behave accordingly… Happy birthday, by the way 🙂

  5. ayenack

    Don’t be changed by others unless the change is good.
    Stay true to yourself.
    If someone treats you badly don’t let them change the way you treat them or the respect you hold for them.
    Fairness is paramount.
    It’s easier to offer a helping hand than to try to keep someone down.

    Keep an open mind and an open heart and as Matthew said keep on learning.

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