This is 40

Fiona's 40th birthday

This is my 40th year. I like birthdays.

I’ve never understood why people sometimes say they like to forget their birthdays. Not many people like to be reminded they are getting older, and a birthday is certainly a reminder!

It’s just another day, people say. Just another day?

There are no ‘just’ days. If you live for 100 years, that’s ~36,500 days. On geological timescales, that’s almost unmeasurable. Over the time it takes to build mountains and carve valleys, 100 years isn’t even a reasonable margin of error.

That’s not to say that life is too short to be meaningful. That’s another story, but every day is unimaginably precious. I like to celebrate my birthday because:

  1. It’s difficult to be grateful and remember to live in the moment every second of every day, but I can certainly make time (at least) once a year 
  2. I know it’s never guaranteed that I will get another birthday.

Knowing that the days are finite is not always helpful. Some people say to live every day like it’s your last

Perhaps, live every day like it’s your birthday! But that’s not really practical. From a financial perspective, I certainly can’t live every day the way I would if I had known it was the last one. There are practicalities to consider. The likelihood is that we will be alive tomorrow, and I’d sometimes rather not see the washing up in the morning!

But you can at least live your birthday like it’s your birthday. Give thanks once a year, and be glad for all the days you’ve had so far. I can do that. It’s not always easy to be grateful every day, but once a year is definitely a time for celebration!

Every day can’t be a birthday. Some days are mundane, some days are challenging, some days are, well, just fine but unremarkable.

But if today is my last day, then there are little things I can do. I try to do something I enjoy each day. Have a nice lunch and coffee, go to the gym, dance to a favourite song, or see a friend. I also try not to get hung up on anything too much. 

Nothing is worth spending a day, potentially a last day, feeling angry, anxious, or too upset about small things. There are big things to get upset about, and these can determine our values and what matters to us. 

But small things aren’t worth ruining a potential last day. If you are having a bad day, do what you can to make it a good one.

And if it’s your birthday, revere it and celebrate it. Each one, not just the “big” ones. Because they’re all big ones.

1984 Events, what else is 40 years old this year?:

Big songs of the year: Careless Whisper, I Want to Break Free, When Doves Cry, I Just Called to Say I Love You, Relax, Agadoo, 99 Red Ballons, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Like a Virgin

Big films of the year: Ghostbusters, Gremlins, The Karate Kid, Police Academy, Beverly Hills Cop, Purple Rain, The Terminator and Oscar Winner for Best Picture: Amadeus.

Notable events;: Band-Aid, Miners Strike, The FTSE 100 was “born” in 1984, Apple Macintosh went on sale, Torvill and Dean obtained a perfect score at the Winter Olympics, and O-Levels were replaced by GCSEs.

Premier League Winners: Liverpool

Bank of England Base rate; 31st December 1984: 9.5% (!)

RPI (inflation); 31st December 1984: 4.6%

What are your memories of 1984, and what’s your favourite thing to do on your birthday?

Leave me a comment below.

Fiona Price

Chartered Financial Planner

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