15 Things I know (better) at 39 that I didn’t know (as well) at 29. – Jeremy Austill

Today is my birthday and I am in the last stanza of my 30′s. So much about who I am has changed in the last 10 years. I thought I would pause a moment to reflect and share.

1. Failure is not that big of a deal.

Take the risk. Give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is it doesn’t work and you figure out what to do next. Along the way, it will grow you richly.

2. My 30′s didn’t necessarily make me a full fledged grown adult in the eyes of everyone.

I couldn’t wait to hit 30 so people would finally take me seriously and not view me as a kid. At 39 I’m wondering if 40 will do the trick. 

3. Having kids changes your life…a lot.

Like, A LOT. My kids have helped me become a better man without even trying. 

4. At 29 I didn’t know how to preach.

God bless all of you who sat under my preaching in those days. My theology was as fickle as my mood and my delivery completely contingent on the amount of sleep I got the night before.

5. Having my dad is something I took for granted.

What else can I say, I had no idea at 29 he would be gone before I hit forty. I don’t have regrets, but there are a lot of conversations left to be had that I won’t have the opportunity to strike up. I certainly miss him, but more than missing the past I miss all of the future moments we could have shared.

6. I can still be trendy.

At almost forty, one is not forced into the uniform of dad jeans, a faded “polo” from Old Navy and Timberlands from 1996. Men, let your wife pick out your clothes on occasion. Who else’s opinion is more important anyway? Just saying… 

7. My wife gets better the older I get.

The truth is, I just see her way better today than I did at 29.

8. The Vols didn’t win an SEC title in my 30′s

I never would have imagined the drought would be this severe. And nah, I’m not holding my breath about a Vol title in year 39…don’t want to die of suffocation.

9. Most of the time, the issue is me, not them.

I spent most of my 20′s blaming everyone else, seeing people as impediments to my progress and finding faults. In my 30′s I have come to realize I was the common denominator.

10. I’ll get there when I get there.

At 29 I thought I was in a “make or break” moment of my life and I needed to get where I was going in a hurry because life is short. At 39 I realize there is no need to get in a hurried pace, life is longer than you think. Actual, legitimate “make or break moments” are few and far in between. Most things are not “life and death.”

11. Little foxes spoil the vineyard.

We spend so much time trying to avoid the big mistake without realizing all of the subtle things that are toxic to our soul. The drying up of fruit is a slow, almost undetected process.

12. I don’t really care about “going to the nations”

It seems the go-to, highest compliment prophetic word that can be given to those with a call to preach is that you are “going to the nations.” I have had it “prophesied” to me many times. At 29 that sounded amazing. At 39, it doesn’t sound all that appealing. I know my assignment and I have no desire to step outside of those lanes. I am content with what is on my life. I’m not done growing, nor am I ceasing in being obedient, but I don’t need “the nations” anymore.

13. “Success” is overrated.

Who gets to decide what is success anyway?

14. Getting up before the sun rises really is a good thing.

In my 20′s I was not a “morning person”. I stayed up late and slept through several snooze alarms. Today, early mornings are a trigger to a rhythm of life that causes my all-day long communion with God to be deep and rich. I always thought my dad was crazy for getting up so early. Now, I get it.

15. I know at 39 that I didn’t know very much at 29.

My guess is, most everyone who is 39 can say this. I have a sneaking suspicion when I am 49, I will say I didn’t know much at 39. Time is this beautiful gift and makes for a great friend. It gives meaning to the past, present and future. I fight not against the passage of time but instead celebrate all it brings my way.

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