When I turned 50 last January, I was all set to look back over my life and share the things I’ve learned. But I couldn’t bring myself to distill it all down.

I think this is what I wanted to say…

Mostly, life’s been a tough path. There are volumes I could write. In that way, I’m like everyone else. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of my successes and failures overcoming life’s difficulties. Of course, I prefer ease and comfort. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.

I guess what I’m realizing now, at 50, is how completely those two things – ease and comfort – can be found and forgotten internally. We strive. We overcome. We find our way in the dark. We are the arrows and targets of mean spiritedness and bad behavior, of fear. We cry out. We are the vessels too of good will, kindness and generosity, of love. We brighten the darkness.

We all choose which way to go moment by moment. And through our choices we all come through life gaining a certain wealth.

My wealth is in compassionate insight and emotional health, which is why I try to share them, perhaps too often. My riches are the good people I met along the way, literally everything would be meaningless without them. Where is your wealth?

At 50, This is What I’ve Learned

I’m endlessly optimistic and unavoidably cynical. So my mind is a noisy place. My heart is wide open yet wisely and stupidly well fortified. I’ve learned to make room for conflicting ideas and complex emotions – to entertain them in my mind and accommodate them in my heart. And I’ve come to believe this is the nature of HOPE and WISDOM in our times. I can’t often express it well although I’m here to keep trying.