I've been hitting several milestones these last few years. Next week I hit another one, I will turn 40.
Granted, it's not the kind of milestone you plan and work toward. Hell you're lucky to make it that far in this crazy world. Arriving here is good, you're along for the ride at this point. I used to dread it, but since conquering a debilitating condition that plagued me for over 20 years, my entire mindset changed as a result (you'd have to read that article to understand the mental and physical transformation).
Then I started to reflect back and realized I learned a thing or two so far.
I've come a very long way. I've cheated death more than once as a kid and as an adult. I graduated with average grades in a school where no one really expected much out of me. I didn't go to an Ivy League university or really even a known university. I graduated and didn't spend a single day doing anything my degree was for. My starting salary as a developer was just $22,000 and never really got much higher until I made big changes with my life, moved to the city and found a place where I was really valued.
In spite of that, I've done a lot with my life so far. I was running websites at the end of high school. I've met and partied with celebrities. I've been in bands. I've been all over the country. I've been to 100+ concerts. I've met heroes. I've worked on projects for Harvard, Yale, and certain well-known folk(s) at Microsoft. I've even been on MTV once or twice. I taught myself how to program.
I've toughed it out and taught myself things staying (stubbornly) determined in the face of adversity. I've set and shattered every goal I've been setting myself and turn around and set even more. I've been knocked down more times than I can count - but I always get back up no matter what. Don't ever tell me I "can't" do something - and never listen to anyone who tells you the same. They are wrong, go and do it. I'm respected among my peers at work and in the industry and have met several awesome people along the way. Most importantly, I still have the same lifelong friends I always had.
I've dragged myself across finish lines. I've succeeded, and I have failed. I have loved and I have also lost. I'm still here in one piece, no worse for wear. I'm lucky.
40? I am only just getting started.