The Dread of Another Birthday?


Earlier in the week I had my 52nd birthday. Birthdays are an interesting thing because while it is supposed to be a positive thing, it is for many people a negative tied to several things maybe like growing older and measuring up against expectations and versus other people.

The struggle or lack there of that people have with their birthdays is intriguing and useful for measuring up but not in the way I mean it in the previous sentence. I've only had one bad birthday in terms of struggling with the age; 25. I viewed that as a line in the sand between being a kid and being an adult and I believe that I learned from it.

I have come to believe that birthdays are far less likely to be difficult if you're happy at home and enjoy what you do for a living. There's probably more to it which I will get to in a moment but these are pretty crucial building blocks given how much time is spent on both. There is certainly an element of luck involved with both and each situation requires a different kind of work.

In many of my posts I define being as wealthy as making enough to pay the bills, save a little for retirement and have some leftover for some fun then you're doing better than most folks. Being rich isn't something I've ever really been too concerned about except when I was very young but not stressing over money has always been a priority. Think about all the troubles that people have with money in terms not having enough or fighting over it or making poor decisions about it. Most of those troubles are avoided by staying out of debt and living below your means.

I also believe that health and fitness play a big role in how we feel about aging. We all age different physically but generally, I think we will have an easier time getting older if we are able to continue doing things that we enjoy that we have always done. An easy example for me is the pack test for the fire department (to fight a wildfire you need to be able to hike three miles, in 45 minutes wearing a 45 lb pack). The ability to do this ends at different times for different people. You probably have your own things that you love doing as much as I love firefighting and if you love doing them then you probably want to keep on doing those things without being limited by age. The fewer instances you are limited by age the less likely you are to worry about getting older.

Building on the comment above, if you're happy at home, enjoy what you do for a living, have minimized financial worries and can do what you enjoy doing then you have a much better chance of having an easy time getting older. There's nothing getting away from you in that scenario. You're living in the moment and a lot of your moments are pretty good in the scenario I am laying out.

If this is not where you are in life I would encourage you to explore how to makes things better. I am not giving Altucher-like advice that you should Quit Your Job Today! but figure out how to make improvements that can help make you happier. Look, I make no claim to having all the answers but I may have figured out for myself how to deal with something that is difficult for some folks and hopefully sharing it is useful.