Monday, December 25, 2023

Thoughts as I enter my final year of my 40s


Thanks for all the well-wishes coming in from social media. 

I'm officially one more year from my 50s, and the latest health scare has led me to think about what will happen soon. Typically, entering the 50s would mean crossing over from the unhappiest moments of your life and reaching peace with yourself. For the folks I know who reach their big 5-0, many take a long trip somewhere to reflect upon their lives. The question is whether I should do the same since I enjoy travel quite a bit.

With almost 2/3rds of a person's spent, it makes little sense to still think about achieving more and hitting more life goals. Only some people can be Colonel Sanders, who started KFC quite late. The over-arching theme for someone who got into life's third trimester is some kind of gentle retreat and reprioritisation of life. 

Let's go through some of these strategies I've observed.

a) Compromise

For some folks, compromise is a strategy. As we age, only some get to meet all their life goals. A person who could not get a publishing advance has settled with self-publication, or like myself, I had to pare down my goals of doing legal work to becoming a law lecturer. 

A compromise is good because it conserves energy, allows the attainment of small wins, and enables us to refocus on other important matters in our lives. 

b) De-invest

While I'm still fully vested in the markets, I have told my community my wish to stop applying leverage to my portfolio because I'm simply too old for this, given that I'm still leveraged with my residential property. This does not mean that leverage is terrible as interest rates drop. 

Anyway this is not meant to be a point about finance. We've invested quite a bit in our careers for most of our lives. All it takes is one restructuring exercise to end this. I'm seeing this happen to many folks in their 40s, and inevitably, the strain will cause them to retreat from their peers, isolating them further into loneliness. 

That being said, I recognise how difficult it is to do this - it's something that even a five-digit monthly dividend cannot solve. For me, I try to run multiple gigs to maintain my relevance and find something new to do every few months. 

c) Re-Focus

Finally, there will be things that you will not like in your 50s as much as in your younger days. I've always enjoyed GunPla, until my trip to Japan when I discovered that the kits here are marked up 50%. Since then, I've realised that Japanese goods are a scam. Just because something is Japanese is an excuse to sell $25 sandwiches and $50 Demon Slayer figurines. I hope someone takes revenge by going to Sinjuku to sell Ang Ku Kueh for 500 yen.  

One of the things about getting older is that nothing excites me very much. I'm bored most of the time. Reading is probably the last thing I do with enthusiasm, but turning it into a social event is quite challenging because a lot of the book clubs here are dedicated to the elderly. Many must attract the ambitious and dynamic types I like to hang out with.

While not totally healthy, I am getting increasingly interested in this hobby of solitaire war games. These wargames should not exist as a hobby because they can be converted into software. But it is a thriving hobby for geeks and wonks. You can be commanding the Luftwaffe one day and then trying to survive a US presidential term the next. 

d) Re-dedicate

This leads to my point about people. I observed folks in their late 40s begin to tire of others and their peccadiloes. Some friends are talking about just bailing out. In many cases, this move is justified, as I've done this myself a couple of times - some relationships don't add much value. We came from a generation lacking social media, so hobbies were a unifying theme for making friends. Things are very different these days. I don't have to join a D&D group if I don't like their wokeness. 

But note that making friends is more challenging as you age, and loneliness can be fatal, so remember to replace this with networking sessions. If you don't want to go alone, go with your remaining pals. And these days, I realise that my students often make my best pals. 

So for now, I leave these four points. 

Perhaps in the New Year, I will talk about my plans for 2024.

Have yourselves a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

No comments:

Post a Comment