Age is something I don’t normally think about. Well that’s not exactly true — I do think about my age when I stand up on cold mornings and my knees click like castanets. I also seem to spend a lot of time looking for a bathroom these days .... but perhaps I’ve said too much about that. I can honestly say I’m not bothered by my age, but I am mindful of time.
Everybody told me that 40 would be my hardest birthday because I’d finally realize I’m not a kid anymore. Maybe that’s true, but I didn’t miss being a kid that much. When I was younger, I stayed broker than the 10 commandments and spent a lot of time trying to make a living instead of making a life.
By the time I reached 50, I got a little smarter and started doing more things I enjoyed. Jilda and I traveled all over the country and to Ireland, playing music, taking pictures and writing.
I became more mindful of my time when I finally realized that I wouldn’t live forever. That’s a humbling realization.
I read a book called “Your Money or Your Life,” and as you probably guessed from the title, it is about the relationship between life and money.
It’s a fascinating book that looks closely at how much time one can expect to live, based on statistics. It breaks the number down into hours.
For example, someone here in America who is 60 can expect to live to be about 78-years-old.
The 18 years between 60 and 78 comes to 158,000 hours give or take a few. That is if you don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, abuse drugs, or find your self driving on a narrow country road with someone doing some of the things listed above.
When I was younger, I thought I’d live forever and have an infinite number of hours to waste as I saw fit. As a result, I found myself wishing my life away — I wish it were Friday, or I wish I were out of school, or I’ll be glad when I retire.
But once I read “Your Money or Your Life” and I realized just how many hours (hopefully) remained, it was a sobering experience.
The book not only slaps you in the face with how little time you have left, but also makes you question how you’re spending your money.
To put it in perspective, if I’m bringing home $20 an hour working, do I want to spend $1,500 of my remaining hours of life to pay for a new Mustang GT? Or do I buy a used Camara and spend the hours I saved fly fishing in Vermont, or having fun with family and friends? I won’t depress you by saying how much of my life-force we spent on our house. Let’s just say, it was a huge investment.
Life is like a gently flowing river and what’s moved past you is gone forever. All you have here on earth is right now — this moment. The Good Book backs me up on this point.
The gift I’m giving myself on my 60th birthday is a promise that I won’t fret about being 60, but I will be more mindful of how I spend the hours I have left in my life.