Here I am, on the eve of my 55th birthday, pondering 5-1/2 decades of life. This afternoon I read through old letters that I had sent to a dear friend over the years…postmarked Berkeley, CA (1989), Atlanta, GA (1996), and Alexandria, VA (2000). And that brought back memories of some very challenging years, which made me feel a bit melancholy by the passage of time. And then I woke up! Dog gone it, I’m going into this next year of life with great eagerness and the freedom to reinvent myself. It’s time to turn off the melancholy switch and push the lever to celebration!
Fun thing #1 – Senior discounts!
Okay, so I’m not fond of the term, “senior citizen,” and technically, I shouldn’t qualify at age 55. But I’ve been eyeing one senior discount in particular – my local recreation center offers a discount for those aged 55 and above. And that perfectly aligns with my goal of getting in shape and prioritizing my health. Very cool thing.
Fun thing #2 – It’s okay to say “NO”
One of the advantages of aging – at least for me – is that I no longer feel obligated to do things that I don’t like to do. Okay, so I’ll bend that rule on occasion, like suffering through antique malls to accommodate some good friends. More than ever, the “people factor” outweighs just about every other factor these days. No “Debbie Downers” in my tribe! I know what’s important to me at this age, and I’m not going to waste the time I have left by doing things that diminish my happiness.
Fun thing #3 – I know where I’ve been
Perspective! Like many, I’ve experienced a topsy-turvy life. And I managed to come out the other side. I know in the long run, I’ll persevere. So why raise a fuss over the little stuff? It’s just not worth it. I’ll save the drama for life-altering events.
“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” – Chris Pine
Fun thing #4 – I can afford to try new things
When I was younger, I was POOR. Very poor. But once I caught a break, I saved a good chunk of my paychecks. So here I am, reinventing my career. I’m trying something totally new and exciting…and scary. And I can do so for one reason – I built enough financial freedom to give myself the time to explore and create a different path. As I build the Early Exit Academy to help others reach financial freedom, I feel like the stars are aligning. And even if it fails to take off, what a great opportunity I will have had!
Fun thing #5 – Friends become “family”
My family is scattered throughout the country and I don’t get to spend much time with them. And like many older singles, sometimes I get lonely in this empty house. Increasingly, the wonderful friends who surround me have become “family.” And I plan to build and nurture enduring friendships in the years to come. “Family” is something you make, not something you’re born into.
So what’s in store for the big day?
In my previous career, I typically spent my birthday on the road, attending an annual conference. So I’m delighted to be home this year. The highlight of the day will be meeting my friends at Busch Garden’s Christmas Town. I’ll gawk at the lights and cherish my time with people I love. Perfect!