This was a milestone Thanksgiving holiday of sorts for me this year, celebrating with the expanded family. We had every generation represented, from toddler to octogenarian, and looking around at everyone I was as grateful and content as a man can be.

My birthday is also in November and, although I don’t give a lot of thought to age in terms of numbers, I found myself thinking about a personal milestone when one of the many well-wishers remarked that I was now going into my last year of the 50s.

That got me thinking about how our priorities and our way of thinking changes over the years. What is important to me now is a lot different from what occupied my attention in my 20s or 30s. For one thing, I am not as focused on material gains. I am fortunate enough to be entering what I think are the best years of my life, where I have the resources and the freedom to choose what to do and to what level, and I choose to focus on the people around me. That was my Thanksgiving prayer: to be there for everyone I love.

 So no Black Friday or Cyber Monday for me. It was all about Family Thursday.

Knowing what you don't know as dentistsAs I enter this last year of my 50s, I know I have so much more to do and so much more to give – in my work and with the people I hold dear. I have learned a lot over the years, but perhaps the most important thing that I have learned is that I always have so much more to learn. According to the ancient philosophers, that is what wisdom is all about: knowing how little you really know.

I urge you to reflect on that simple but profound wisdom. Wherever you are in your life’s journey, remember to keep your passion for living, to be open to possibilities, and to always embrace (and get excited about the idea) that there is still a lot you don’t know. That will entail humbling yourself and making yourself vulnerable sometimes, but the rewards of ongoing growth are oh so worth it.

So I welcome this final year of my 50s. I don’t know exactly what shape my life will take in the coming months or years, but I do have some specific ambitions in mind and – most importantly – I know I am going to learn some exciting new things along the way. I am going to close out my 50s with energy and purpose, with respect and appreciation for all I have achieved so far, and with eager anticipation for what’s coming next.

I wish the same for all of you who are reading this.