I recently celebrated my 40th birthday (September 19th) and I thought it might be nice to compile a list of things I have learned thus far. Forty years is not immensely impressive, but it’s also not nothing. It’s four decades (holy crap) and includes childhood, puberty, and the terrible twenties (I was miserable in my twenties). Once I reached my thirties, things markedly leveled off. I can recall a moment (I was living in New York City, despairing, and searching for relief from the darkness I had been feeling for the extent of my entire life, reading Happiness by Matthieu Ricard) when I was hit with the thought that maybe there is hope after all and that my life isn’t going to continue to be a series of dramatic passageways through various versions of hell. I still don’t know if this realization came from the book or from the fact that I was finally through my twenties, but either way, that moment became a turning point for me. To know that life might be something more than just struggle upon struggle felt like such a relief and kept me motivated to continue on my path.