About The Thoughtful Life


The term “thoughtful” brings together the notion of intellectual wonder and rigor with a sense of heartfelt compassion. Throughout much of his adult life, Daniel Boscaljon has delighted in finding different ways to inspire himself (and others around him) to live more thoughtfully. This tendency was the engine behind Daniel’s dissertation work in graduate school, inspired most of his classes and conversations, and has become an increasingly important point of departure for his work over the past five years.

The Thoughtful Life was originally conceived as a loose conceptual framework that Daniel hoped would hold the series of projects on space that he planned to make, following Making Space for Yourself. Throughout that spring and winter, Daniel developed a deeper awareness of the importance of this framework as he started thinking through the notion of the second half of life, a term that Jung had coined in his later reflections (and other thinkers have since begun to use).

The second half of life refers to the time after one has completed (more or less successfully) the identity building tasks of the first half of life. American culture emphasizes the importance of the first half of life—the value of securing your identity through education, vocation, shelter, family, and community. These sometimes expand to include sports, the arts, or religion. These goods are difficult to obtain, especially for those who begin life with socially determined disadvantages. At the same point, the only option society presents after having obtained them is to get more. For some people, the prospect of continuing to acquire more and more things seems meaningless or empty.

Within his own life, Daniel realized that we aren’t taught what to do after we have acquired (or decided against acquiring) these goods: what comes next? Very few people discuss what comes next, or what to do when you decide that the dreams you were chasing have become too small. Daniel’s deep engagement in the humanities—especially literature and theology—provided him with a foundation that provided a wide range of tools and skills that encourage wisdom—the goal of the second half of life. He realized that rather than trying to teach these skills to college freshmen, it would be better to focus on providing these tools to the demographic who would appreciate them: adults who were entering middle life and wanting to avoid a time of crisis.

In the fall of 2019, Daniel decided to bring together all of his various no and low-cost public engagement projects under the umbrella of The Thoughtful Life. The second step is to obtain an official 501(c) 3 non-profit status for the venture, which Daniel hopes will continue to expand in terms of its programs and offerings over the years.