Lessons I've learned at 50


James Deakin

So I just turned 50. The big five-o, the half century milestone, the new 40, and I just wanted to share a few lessons and realizations with you.

First lesson is, it’s not a race. Everyone has their own timing, so whatever you do, stop comparing yourself to those around you. Walk your own path.

I struggled for four and a half decades trying to make my mark without a high school diploma in a very gated workforce, until social media became the platform where I was finally able to break through. I’ll never forget that or take it for granted. Because even though I can claim to have done it on my own in a democratized platform, I understand now that fame and celebrity (no matter how much you think you’ve earned it) is not something you own; it’s something that is bestowed upon you by others, in this case, you my dear reader, which also means it’s something that can be taken away. So I always try to keep that in perspective.

And so as I enter this new golden era of my life, I just want to say that I love you all and I want to send back all the joy I feel in my heart right now to every single soul who is reading this. If you’re in a good spot, I am so happy for you. Keep slaying. If not, all I ask is that you just don’t give up. It wasn’t that long ago when I was evicted and had no place to live. I could never even imagine back then that I would be where I am today, but one thing is for sure—had I given up at my lowest, I guarantee you I’d still be there. So just keep moving forward, no matter how small that step is.

It hasn’t been an easy ride, especially the last couple of years, but that has allowed me to focus on, and really appreciate, what truly matters. You always learn more about yourself in tough times. And one of the many lessons I’ve learned through this half century is: “This too shall pass” so if you’re feeling troubled, down, hopeless…remember, this too shall pass. If you’re feeling great, and seem to be doing everything right…remember, this too shall pass. So the key is to not drown in it or allow yourself to be intoxicated by it. Because it will pass. Take the lessons from the hard times and make sure you enjoy and appreciate every second of the good ones, because, yes, this too shall pass.

But one thing that does not pass and lives beyond us is the effect we have on others. It’s the most valuable currency we have. So spend it wisely and thoughtfully because it will be here long after you’ve gone and you never know the ripple effect it will create.

I’ve also learned that you can just as easily fail doing something you hate, so you may as well do something you love. I’ve seen too many people give up on their dreams in return for “security” only to find themselves let go by the company they hated working for when the pandemic hit or someone better came along. There are no guarantees, so at least do what makes you happy. This can also apply for toxic relationships.

And lastly, I learned to stop striving for perfection and started striving for balance instead. Because no matter how much you want to, you can’t be good at everything, you certainly can’t please everyone, and everything has a trade off. Figure out your non negotiables and learn to compromise and balance the rest. Also, try to learn to be happy on the way to happiness because you’ll soon learn that happiness is not a destination; it’s a state of mind. And if you can’t learn to be happy on the way, you’re not going to be happy when you get there. So start now.