I'd like to think I've gotten better:

this is something i understood before, https://christianwood.net/posts/csv-file-upload-validation/

slight shift -- both intentional and not -- from looking for answers to finding them.

but now am doing it more proactively, not just when facing a tricky problem

I'm in good company

learning a some fundamentals has helped make this manageable: teachyourselfcs.com/