Self | Life Lessons

I Just Hit Level 40 In Life

Reflections and lessons to carry forward for a better, more fulling existence.

Sean Kernan
6 min readSep 2


Pexels Images via Andrea Piacquadio

Honestly, I’m relieved it’s over. This birthday loomed over me for months, like an ominous dark cloud I didn’t want to get closer to.

I feel better now. Hitting a new decade does bring about reflection. I took stock of my life and thought through what I’ve learned and hoped to accomplish. A few things surprised me.

The wave of nostalgia

Yesterday, I visited my alma mater for the first time in 20 years. As I walked along the sidewalk, a wave of nostalgia washed over me, and so many memories and scenes came surging back. At one point, I paused and thought, “Have students always looked this young?”

Standing in front of my freshman dorm.

With sorrow, I remembered a classmate, Shauna, who was a senior when I was a freshman. She’d been so welcoming and friendly to me, and loved making jokes about our names being similar. It is rare to meet such a kind and loving person.

Three years ago, she passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 39, leaving behind two small boys under the age of 5. It put into perspective my lament about getting older.

I was reminded that aging is a blessing, not a curse, and it isn’t afforded to all. There are surely many people who wish they could be 40 today, so I should stay grateful that I’m here.

On the nature of quitting

I grew up with tacky motivational posters plastered all over my classroom walls about chasing your dreams and never quitting. I’ve even evangelized those values — mostly because people attach ridiculous expectations to new endeavors and don’t give things a fair shot.

Yet as I looked back across time, some of the most fortuitous things I’ve ever done involved quitting.

Sometimes, things just don’t work out and that’s OK. Maybe you don’t have the specific skills for some high reaching goal. Sometimes a career path goes belly up, or a…



Sean Kernan

Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.