Often, I wish that I had discovered gardening earlier in my life.
Before I started gardening, I wouldn't have been able to look at these pictures and tell the season by the bloom, know what plant is a native and which are weeds, nor much about what kind of pollinator I was looking at, never mind botanic names. This isn't a staggering amount of knowledge to have acquired, but I don't think that I wish I'd started gardening earlier just because I'd know that much more now about plants or pollinators. Keeping score about how much or little you know is something I think of as reserved for school.
Last year, I came to know a lot more than I ever would have imagined I'd come to know about natural gas, whether about extraction or infrastructure siting (and I know I'm not alone there, you really could not escape this topic in New York state right now if you tried), and obviously there's some value in that, as there is in learning anything. Unlike the process of learning about the hoverfly, wasp and plants pictured here around the community garden and Floyd Bennett Field, this was not actually fun or pretty at all. I'd choose hunting for hours for the genus of a hoverfly over poring through FERC files or tracking a bill's path through Congress any old day.