MY WIFE RECENTLY ASKED me if there was anything I wanted for my 65th birthday. She was racking her brain for a special gift, but was coming up empty.
I thought for a while, but couldn’t think of anything I really wanted. We have all the stuff we need. We’re blessed with a wonderful family, we live in a great beach town and we have enough assets for a comfortable retirement. We’ve spent 2022 working on our health and fitness, and we’ve made significant gains. What more could I want?
But the question nagged at me and I finally thought of some things I’d really like for my birthday. One of the common themes on HumbleDollar is the superiority of experiences over possessions. My wife and I embrace that ethic and are planning to take advantage of our retirement years to capture as many experiences as possible. These can be simple or grand. I think mixing the sublime and the prosaic makes life interesting.
After I drew up that list, I came up with a second list—one that includes loftier ambitions. These may be tough to attain, but I think we should focus on what’s really important to us as we age. None of the things on my second list can be bought at the mall or on Amazon.
Just as I was finishing this piece, I read an article on HumbleDollar about two different types of happiness. The idea of eudaimonic happiness clicked immediately. As it turns out, I have many birthday wishes. None includes more stuff.
My two favorite trips, Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. Great choices! We took a cruise on the inside passage in Alaska and train across the Canadian Rockies. Best to dress in layers as the weather is unpredictable. Take all the optional excursions that match your interests. Happy Birthday.
Your second list is the most important, Richard, but sadly mostly beyond control. Go for the first list. We are on our third across US road trip, the main goal to add the 49th (Idaho) and 50th state to our completed list will be in a few days – Oklahoma. In Idaho now. Did you know there is a potato museum and the largest ever Idaho potato was 7lb 2oz. The things that amuse seniors is amazing – and we received a 50 cent admission discount too.
So far we have driven 2600 miles since last Thursday with many stops. We don’t plan much in advance, just stumble on things to see like the Thomas Edison birth place in Milan, OH. I had no idea.
My wife and I gave up gifts for any occasion years ago. There is nothing we need or want except more time and good health, and not to get a ticket driving 5 mph about the posted limit of 80.
Safe travels Dick. We also gave up gift giving years ago – at least theoretically. We just booked a trip to Alaska for 2023.
Happy birthday sir … I’ve read that you have taken up a healthier lifestyle recently … “Today I will do what others won’t so that tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t” Keep moving!!!
thank you George.
Happy soon-to-be birthday, Rick! And thanks for your many excellent contributions to Humble Dollar.
If you ever do make it out to Pacific Northwest,one of the great national parks is Glacier national park. I definitely recommend a visit.
Your second list exemplifies the difference between a life defined by “experiences” and a life experienced.
A distinction underexamined by travel bloggers and selfie seekers.
Happy 65th birthday Richard! Best wishes on striving and meeting your goals and aspirations.
Thank you Wiliam.
A really thought provoking and enjoyable article; well done! You’ve succinctly articulated many thoughts that I’m sure are shared by a majority of Humble Dollar readers. In my case, while many of the items on your list are also on mine, you’ve also given me several new items to ponder. Thanks for sharing.