My own personal experiences as I am about the same age and went back and forth with similar thoughts:
In my mid 20s and early 30s, I worked jobs in the IT field (mainly help desk/ general IT) as it was easy to get a decent to good paying job, save money and go hiking.
I loved that time of my life. Planning for the next big adventure and the going on it. In between long hikes, I’d be out every weekend. Go to a happy hour and know tons of people at the local bars.
And, even with my ugly mug, dated a fair amount, too. : )
At about age 35, I figured I was getting tired of the boom-bust life style. (Saving money, go hiking, starting over again). Getting laid off in 2009 helped me evaluated what I want, too. Time for a career vs a job, planning for retirement, and all that normal so-called adult things.
At about the time I figured it was time for a change, I met my now wife. If I met her at 30, I would not have been ready.
So here I am at 39. Turning the big 4-0 in a few months.
Are my best years behind me? The glory days of adventure, a free lifestyle and all the good things in life gone? Nonsense.
I am just at a different stage of life.
We are planning a future together. One where I hope to go into consulting and maybe (make that *I will*) if not take off for 4-5 month chunks, where 4-6 week chunks is definitely doable. It is what a very good friend of mine does and one I can see myself doing.
Since Mrs Mags and I both enjoy the simple things in life, retirement in our early 60s looks attainable as well. Assuming we both maintain a healthy lifestyle, I look forward to a retirement full of good health and new challenges. My Dad retired at 59 years old and he, is quite frankly, loving life. A paid for home. A modest, but comfortable pension (Rare as hen’s teeth today. I know!) and the freedom to enjoy what he wants after nearly 40 years of hard work as a sheet metal worker.
Not much to ask for. And something Adrianna and I hope to have experience as well..without perhaps more freedom in my younger years than my Dad experienced.
To be honest, part of me laments my “lost freedom”. But my much like the thru-hikes I’ve been on, it takes work to get where we want to be in the long term.
It would be easy to again save money and go hiking, but perhaps at the expense of our long term goals and true freedom: Crafting the life we want and not just a boom-bust lifestyle.
If my younger years are about doing what I want, my middle years are about working to get where I want to be.
In the meantime, I don’t think of my younger years as my glory days but a wonderful experience that shaped who I am.
I still get out and experience things most people dream of seeing and I have a wonderful community of friends. If I sometimes call my job “The Salt Mine”, it is in jest and something I have to remind myself of, too!
Compared to the work the previous three generations of my family did, a well –paying, non-physical career (with no long term injuries such as the one experienced by my grandfather and father) that gives me flexibility and options is rather wonderful. It helps give me the future we want rather than have me look fondly on the past I used to have. And think life passed me by.
Life is good. Sometimes difficult, sometimes not what we expect, but it is still good. This too shall pass. Life has not passed you by.
OK..off my soapbox. : )