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Turning 39 and Starting Over

Technically, I’ve just about hit the midway point of my life.  I’m hoping for more, but I’d better make the most out of what’s left of my life.

Today I turn 39 years of age.  I neither feel old or young.  But my wife likes to remind me that I am old(er) because she’s two months younger than I am.  So be it.

By mid November we’ll (with God’s blessing) have a second bambino in the family and that makes me very happy.  Especially at this age, I don’t really want to work the 40+ hours a week and miss watching my children grow.  These little creatures evolve so quickly.  If I’m going to leave any kind of legacy that’s meaningful, it will be with my children.  All I can truly hope and aspire for my children is to provide them with a balance of first hand experiences and skills to give them the insight to make good decisions throughout their lives.

We all want ‘more’ for our children.  That means different things for different people.  For some it means financial security and for others it may mean education or experiences.  I think the ‘best of times’ in a Dickenson sense has passed and we can no longer expect that each new generation will earn more, have more, and be more than their parents.  If this is the case, I want to prepare my children with the ethics and skills to build something.  A business, a house- whatever, but they will need to be able to rely on their skills to overcome the natural sine wave cycle of growth which is best described by Newton’s Law of Gravity, “What goes up must come down”.

My wife and I were just discussing the ‘ups and downs’ of the last two years.  Despite the financial nosedive, a complete simplification of lifestyle, the eradication of my industry and career- we’re surprisingly happy!  Even more surprising is how relaxes we are compared to the stressful lifestyle we once had in Atlanta.

While I cannot lie and miss having ‘some’ form of financial nest egg, I am really enjoying the challenges and excitement of creating a new future.  Having been around the block already, metaphorically, I have an opportunity to create a future and lifestyle that is ‘out of the box’ and designed to satisfy more important goals- like raising children.

I would never wish our fate and the turmoil of the last two years on anyone, BUT I’m far more excited about our future now than I was in Atlanta building lofts, flying airplanes, and living a much more comfortable life than we are now.

Breaking the 50% percentile of your life expectancy makes one very thankful for the treasures around us.  I am eternally thankful for my wonderful wife, my lovely daughter, and our as of yet gender neutral baby enroute.  The friendship, kindness, and generosity of our friends and family, who are dealing with their own uncertainties in life, have given us a renewed faith and comfort that, in the end, everything is going to turn out all right.  It may not be exactly how you planned the future, but it just may turn out better!

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9 comments to Turning 39 and Starting Over

  • BrokeNotBroken

    Happy birthday!
    -david

  • Roxanne Slater

    I look forward to reading your blogs. You are truly a skilled writer and I think you should write a book on your experiences. I bet it would be a great sell. Financial worries….gone!! So excited you guys are having another little miracle. Keep truckin!! Please tell Hil I said hello and wish her a happy & healthy pregnancy. Roxanne

  • Jerry Latell

    Happy birthday! Any plans to head north?

  • big cheese

    Thanks-

    No plans to head north in the immediate future until after the baby is born. We have the St. Simons house rented Jan through April, so we could escape away for a few months.

    They say writers write. I guess I qualify, but I sure wouldn’t mind a little more formal direction.

    One step at a time.

  • Forrest

    Great blog! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on all of these topics, as I think they apply to many folks who have faced a major reality check in recent days, months, and years. I find myself in the same “boat”, but about 18 months behind you (we’ve already had our yardsale!). I’m anxious to hear more about the Gemini.

  • Jim Wethington

    Perspective

    I realized today as I looked back on my own life that perspective is what it is all about. As parents we get wrapped up in the day to day things like work and home responsibility that as things come at us we may lose the true importance of it all. Yet as children life seemed to take forever and birthdays and Christmas, Halloween and Easter never came fast enough. The reality of it is this, If you have a child or children do you realize that you only get 18 of each of those before they are gone? 18! Not a big number when you put it all in perspective.18 days out of the 6,570 days in 18 years. 18 days that you can never get back once they are gone. How many of you wish you could get back just one Christmas eve when your child was 2 or 3? To see the glitter in their eyes as they round the corner to see the tree lit up and presents of all colors underneath… What about the joy of sitting around the living room floor and dumping out the bags of candy from the Halloween pillage as you search for that dreaded needle in the apple or razor blade in the candy… Never happened did it? Still to watch the joy in their faces as they realize all that candy is for them… Pure joy for the family that loves deeply. In these days of financial concern and who is to be the next president, take a minute and think about what is really important. Your children. Go home tonight and hug them or if they are grown call them. Make plans for the upcoming holidays and make sure you take lots of mental pictures along with the digital ones. You see you only truly have 18 of each to start with, how many you actually get is known only to God. Make good use of your time, sacrifice if you must.The smiles on your children’s faces and the warm hugs and kisses are well worth it. Enjoy your family.

    Jim

    I wrote this in October of 2008… Your blog brought it back to me. Enjoy your journey.

  • big cheese

    New to being a dad, you’re spot on! Regardless of the financial mess and the state of the union, I think we would have opted to do something completely different than our lives before children.

    We’re defining success now as ‘time well spent’ versus financial accumulation. There is a balance, but less money and more time with family is a whole lot better than the opposite.

    Thanks for the comments and keep them coming- It’s all about perspective :)

    JC

  • Shawn

    Wow, I wish I could be as positive as you…I turn 39 on Friday and I am down. You are an inspiration.

  • big cheese

    Hi Shawn-

    While seemingly contradictory, life is both long and maddeningly short. While 39 is the turning point to the back forty of your life, it can also be the turning point in peace, happiness, and more importantly fulfillment.

    In short, if you are unhappy with your life- do something different. Maybe even extreme different, for there is little time to waste. In reality, if you have little assets and more debt than you realistically repay- abandon the status quo and search for a little slice of happiness before you’re too old to enjoy your freedom.

    Best of luck,

    JC