Yesterday, I turned 42. My “silver” birthday, as my son tells me.
I had a great birthday, too. Maybe my favorite in recent memory.
It started with a surprise round of golf (organized by my wife) with my brother, Mom and Dad. That would have been good enough on its own merits, since I haven’t played golf (amazingly) with those three people all together in probably 6-7 years (we used to play golf together fairly regularly in my younger years). But, I also managed to shoot 73–my best round in 10-plus years.
Follow that up by an afternoon hanging with my kids and wife, dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (Al Vento) and the legendary Hanson chocolate cake. Yeah, it was a good day. A damn good day.
And I couldn’t help but wonder: It this as good as it’s ever going to get?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot from many different angles lately.
Professionally, I’m working for myself doing something I love to do each and every day. I actually look forward to Mondays! Every Monday!
Personally, I have two healthy kids and a wife I love. My parents are healthy. My brother just got married.
And, if I really think about it, I don’t want for anything. We live a pretty modest live. Don’t have a huge house. We drive reasonable cars/trucks. Sure, we go on a few more vacations than the average person, but that’s probably the one thing we spend money on.
So again: Is it all downhill from here? How could it possibly get better?
I don’t say all this to gloat. To throw my good fortune in your face. I certainly know there are many people out there less fortunate than I. And I definitely know how lucky I am.
I say this merely to consider the fact that I may have hit my personal and professional apex in life. And, I’m perfectly fine with that. It’s been a heckuva ride, to be honest.
But, I’m also reaching that point when life will inevitably change.
The older I get, the less attractive I am as a consultant and (potentially, down the road) employee (older employees make more money and are often easier to cut than younger employees who make far less money).
The older I get, the more health issues I’m sure to have.
The older I get, the older my kids get, which means the closer they are to leaving the house, which means….hold up, I don’t even want to think about that yet.
The older I get, the older my parents get, which I also don’t love thinking about.
I realize it’s not really that bleak, but the older you get, the more you think about this kinda stuff.
What if we took out the personal side of things. Professionally: Is this as good as it’s going to get?
I’d like to think the answer to that question is ‘no’, but I’m also smart enough to know that you can never take anything for granted.
So, my approach is as it’s always been: One day at a time. I figure, if I look at life (professionally and personally) that way, I’ll never get ahead of myself. And if I never get ahead of myself, I really can never go too far.
Would love to hear what others think about this–especially from the professional side. For those in their 40s, do you feel like you’re topping out in your career? Or, do you look at your career more as a journey with peaks and valleys?