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Old 18th April 2016, 12:36   #31
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

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Originally Posted by navin View Post
I dunno. I don't think most of us really missed anything. There was not a lot of materialism around.... There were no mobile phones, no PS3s, no Internet so we got out a lot more. It was a simpler world.
Navin, we are talking about the terrible career uncertainties and low expectations, not gadgets. According your intro post, you did your school and college in USA, and returned to India in 1995. I wonder how many 40ish guys here can relate to that experience...

Anyway, back to the common man's experience of my generation. While the ambitious ones in my class were writing their GRE/TOEFL in the late 80s, I had realised my family had no means to finance any foreign studies. But I was also aware that typical engineering graduate from Bangalore University had very little chance of getting a decent job. So I started preparing for GATE exam to do M-Tech in India, since one can get stipend (₹1800/pm) while doing M.tech. But my dad reminded me that he will be retiring soon and I will have to support the family. So I had to back out of M.Tech plan and start looking for a job, any job that will pay. In fact I became a teaching assistant for few months, while learning multiple programming languages on the side.

At that time I was really hurt that I couldn't get a master's degree. However, it didn't remain a regret for life. I fixed it my 30s by doing MBA which turned out be 10 times (or more) useful to me than any M.Tech, since the latter carries no weight in IT field.

Same goes for my passion of martial arts and fitness. I spent the 80s eagerly trying to learn from anybody who could teach me for free. I even watched 100s of chinese movies to pickup techniques. But eventually I slaked my thirst in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. Now I am happy with what limited things I know, because there is only so much one can explore while balancing a career and family. I can do physical feats in my late 40s that I couldn't do in my 30s or even 20s. Who knew I would be stronger at 47 than I was in 27? [this occurred to me recently when I saw a topless photo of me at 27]

Another thing I am trying to correct is my ignorance of math/science. I always loved science. But the lousy math education I received after 10th grade really stunted my ability to explore science. Every few years I buy books on math and physics hoping to finally get it. I haven't gotten too far thanks to other priorities. But I know someday I will.

The point I am trying to make is education need not be completed by early 20s. You can keep learning about things of your interest forever, just keep your mind and body sharp and don't give up.

PS: I finally learned to swim in the last one year. Now I know two different styles and can complete a 60ft lap. Planning to extend my range in future.

Last edited by Samurai : 18th April 2016 at 12:48.
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Old 18th April 2016, 12:45   #32
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
A couple of small other things; Forgive me if this sounds like high philosophy...

While absorbed in the business of living, take time to be kind. Take time to smell the flowers and the earth after a shower of rain.

Help poor people when you can, especially those disabled unfortunates.

==========

Create happy memories and leave great relationships behind wherever you go in life - for we will not pass this way again.

Life is good. Enjoy it.
Shankar Sir, i have always been an avid follower of your posts and I won't hesitate to say that this one has to be the BEST till date. Thank you for those words of wisdom.

Last edited by khan_sultan : 18th April 2016 at 14:19. Reason: Edited quoted post for better readability
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Old 18th April 2016, 13:01   #33
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You know, when I saw the original post, nobody had replied at that point. I was thinking of being the 1st one to reply.

But I am so glad I didn't!!!

Superb thoughts of all, and I now realize that TeamBHP has not only automobile aficionados, but also very wise and DECENT men!!!!

With the exception of one Tharki . The reply I was thinking of typing would have definitely got me booted out of here !

Last edited by john doe : 18th April 2016 at 13:05.
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Old 18th April 2016, 13:43   #34
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
The both died, unexpectedly, at 63. They worked extremely hard their whole life. Worked 6 days a week. Maximum two weeks holiday a year. They both raised a family, had a loving wife, were very well off financially.

They both were thinking and talking about retiring for years. They had all sort of plans on what they were going to do and see once retired. They never made it.
Lovely message you have there.
I hope more people get wise and mature at an early age to realize this ...

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Originally Posted by airguitar View Post
I loved the attached. I'm not in my 40s yet. But what I've learnt
Nice, the attachments shows how thinking process and priorities change in life.

This is the most important thing: What is important today in 20s may become your least concern in 40s, and something that you feel is unimportant in the 20s may become the most important thing later in life.

I mean this is not just 20s and 40s, but the story of entire life.

Don't live in the perpetual fear of missing out (FOMO). It (thing that you missed out) may not hold any importance to you later.
Don't stop exploring and learning and enjoying new things. People become old when they stop doing this (a typical person stops doing this in late teens).

###
Nope I am not in 40s, I just observe a lot of things, people, their expectations and frustrations, their philosophies, their illusions ...

Last edited by alpha1 : 18th April 2016 at 13:47.
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Old 18th April 2016, 14:11   #35
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Navin, we are talking about the terrible career uncertainties and low expectations, not gadgets. According your intro post, you did your school and college in USA, and returned to India in 1995. I wonder how many 40ish guys here can relate to that experience....
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The one thing no one touched on (if they did I missed it) is that you cant fight luck. ..The best thing you can do is grab what lady luck throws your way and go with it. .
As I said, you cant fight luck. Maybe I got a tad luckier. I lived in Mumbai, pretty close to what was then the US Consulate. This was in the mid 70s when security was not as tight as it is today. As neighborhood kids we were permitted to play tennis in the lawn behind the consulate. There I met some Americans and one of them told me about the Scholastic Aptitude Tests etc. The rest as they say was history (aka to quote myself "The best thing you can do is grab what lady luck throws your way and go with it").

I know at least 2 Mods (one is now an ex-Mod), Stratos and Flying Spur, who also opted for international exposure when the opportunity presented itself. I am sure other BHPians have had similar experience.

Last edited by navin : 18th April 2016 at 14:13.
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Old 18th April 2016, 14:59   #36
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

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As I said, you cant fight luck. Maybe I got a tad luckier. I lived in Mumbai, pretty close to what was then the US Consulate. This was in the mid 70s when security was not as tight as it is today. As neighborhood kids we were permitted to play tennis in the lawn behind the consulate. There I met some Americans and one of them told me about the Scholastic Aptitude Tests etc.
Well, you were certainly lucky to have had the exposure and wherewithal to go abroad at 17 in 1980 for your studies at premier institutes, and return after the reforms were in full force.

But what shankar.balan, Hayek and myself are referring to is the dark uncertainties that faced the people of my generation (1967-75 born) who remained in India. The mandal commission report and the students riots that followed, the indifference of the government to the riots, and the fall of that government, only made our futures look very gloomy. Then Saddam attacked Kuwait and India nose dived into the worst economic crisis. It was a very bad time to be looking for the first job. So trust us, it was very scary time for us in India.

However, the very dark future promised by mandal commission report was blown away once the reforms came and rescued us all.

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The rest as they say was history (aka to quote myself "The best thing you can do is grab what lady luck throws your way and go with it").
I favour the quote "luck favours the most prepared". I live by that quote.
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Old 18th April 2016, 15:24   #37
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So just live your life. As you hit 25, start getting sensible with your savings a little bit. If you live beyond 30, you can start getting more into savings. Before that, just blow it up, and live it up.
Lots of good advice on this thread to which I can't add much, but I am going to suggest that this be ignored. Saving is a habit, and it isn't easy to switch to savings mode after getting used to blowing up the monthly income for ten years building up a standard of living it isn't easy to retreat from. Building a savings habit from the start also doesn't have any conflict with living life to the maximum.

If you live in India, there is no social security safety net. Those of us who took care of our parents can consider ourselves lucky if our children do the same for us - don't count on that happening. The government will do squat, there is no money for anything on these lines, as exists in the West.

There is a recent very sobering ad I seem to remember: 30 years of studying, 30 years of working and 30 years of retirement. Try calculating what you will need at age 60, to live in reasonable comfort for the next 30 years taking inflation into account, and see how hard it is to get to that amount. Every year lost of the 30 working years makes it a tougher task, and the initial years are invaluable and irreplaceable - compounding logic is relentless.

One can toss this off by saying - I don't plan to live that long - but that is easier said than done. Life won't let go.
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Old 18th April 2016, 15:50   #38
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I am not there yet but if I had to give you just one advice that could really make a difference to your 40s or your future life is that make sure you build your career in a profile and industry that you love. In your 20's try out many things until you find the one that brings out the best in you and still does not feel like 'work'.
Wiser words were never said. I totally agree with the idea that one should strive to find his calling in life.

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
A couple of small other things; Forgive me if this sounds like high philosophy...
These are the most treasured words I've heard. I'm writing these down and putting them somewhere I can see them often

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
As I'm 57 years of age, I'm not sure if I qualify but let me share one experience I had during my early 40s.
I thoroughly agree with you. So many people just keep looking into the future and never really take the time to enjoy life in the present. The same was portrayed in the movie ZNMD.

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Originally Posted by Axe77 View Post
I'm kind of just shy of 40 but am taking the liberty to pen a few thougths from my end. Sorry if this sounds philosophical on occasion but its what I feel life has taught me.
Exactly. The chase for material wants is what keeps us in the rat race, always under the burden of some emi or the other, ignoring the other vital aspects of life.

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Navin, we are talking about the terrible career uncertainties and low expectations, not gadgets.
Good to know you're still trying to master concepts that you've not succeeded with in the past. It's this desire to know that keeps us going.
For me, concepts related to electricity are always confusing, what with voltages, ampereage, earthing etc etc. I hope to master these someday.

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Originally Posted by navin View Post
As I said, you cant fight luck. Maybe I got a tad luckier. I lived in Mumbai, pretty close to what was then the US Consulate. This was in the mid 70s when security was not as tight as it is today.
I've often wondered about the part that luck plays on our life. Do you believe that no matter how hard one tries, his efforts will be in vain unless luck is on his side? Also, do you believe in astrology?

Glad to find someone I can discuss the matter of luck with

Last edited by ampere : 18th April 2016 at 19:15. Reason: Reduced quoted content.
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Old 18th April 2016, 16:13   #39
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Went through the posts on this thread with far greater attention than one normally devotes to a Shifting Gears thread .

Of all the replies, the one that resonated closest with my own was @Hayek's- not surprising because we share an alma mater (though we've never met). I wouldn't really describe myself as "successful" in the context of what some of my peers have achieved, but I hold a steady job that I enjoy doing which allows me to enjoy most of the things my family and I desire.

Nobody has really covered the dark side of turning 40- that dreaded "mid-life crisis"- so let me touch upon it briefly. In the year leading up to my own 40th, I was besieged with doubts about which way my life was going. It must be noted that nothing materially changed leading up to this feeling: but in my mind it was real. It became my dream to exit the rat race completely. I even acted on it and began pursuing what I imagined was my dream career. But as I went through the process, I began to realize a lot of things about myself that had unconsciously sunk into my self-image over the years. Suffice to say I had turned into the type of person who avoids taking on big challenges head-on, in favour of the safe and the familiar.

This realization in turn triggered off a desire to return to what I had abandoned (or at least put on hold) and give it my absolute best shot. I went back to the rat race and tried my hand at stuff that was outside the comfort zone. I deliberately raised my visibility in the things I did and started playing big (at least much bigger than I used to). And that spilled over into stuff that had nothing to do with work either.

A couple of years down, I am happy I went through it all. It's left me with a deeper appreciation of my own abilities and what matters to me. I'm not saying everybody needs to go through this phase but if you do- and from what I see in my immediate circle, it happens and increasingly early as well- don't fight it. Use the opportunity to discover yourself and refocus your priorities.

As for the mundane aspects of turning 40, there are several. Health concerns start rearing their ugly head and one's lifestyle needs to keep up. You realize that your parents won't be around forever and start investing more time (and patience) in them. Your kids become increasingly important and how you raise them starts feeling critical because that's the only true legacy you leave in this world. On the plus side you stop sweating the small stuff. You accept there are things you are just not meant to succeed at, and make peace with it. You have more money than you did in your 20s and 30s and a better understanding of where to put it!

Some advice for the 20-somethings out there:
- If you are given an opportunity to achieve something different, which scares you yet excites you at the same time, take it. It gets increasingly difficult with age.
- At the same time, never use your age as an excuse to not chase something you are convinced is good for you.
- Eat, drink and make merry- but do not neglect your body and invest in some basic fitness. See a dietician if you have to.
- And for God's sake do not smoke. If there is one thing I wish I had never done, it's that.
- Call your parents once a week rather than wait for them to ring. Share things with them, like what you ate for lunch or some interesting things about your company. Drive them to doctor's appointments when you can.
- Seek out your true friends and stay in touch. Not for help on a rainy day but simply because you will find it harder and harder to make new, true friends when you're older.
- Learn about money: how to save it, invest it, grow it and give it away. Most importantly: how to spend it. Focused and planned spending on the things that you enjoy is always worth it. Don't forego today's happiness for a tomorrow that may or may not come.
- Develop the art of effective and constructive communication with your significant other. In the end that's all it is. Common experiences will only bind you so much. You have to live with the best and worst of each other.

Most importantly, don't think you owe how you spend your life to your parents or to society at large. You may think marrying that girl your Mom chose, or sticking to that job your Dad is so proud of is good for you. It's not! Find your own path. It will make you happy, and if you are happy, those who genuinely care for you, will be happy too.

Simple as that!
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Old 18th April 2016, 17:00   #40
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I've often wondered about the part that luck plays on our life. Do you believe that no matter how hard one tries, his efforts will be in vain unless luck is on his side? Also, do you believe in astrology?
I do believe in luck but not in astrology or all that horoscope stuff.

And the only (and I mean this 100%) reason I believe in luck is because my life is a living example of it. With no attempt to try anything, it seems to me, that I was somehow always where I should be at that particular time. Take for example Samurai's post in which he mentions that I was lucky enough "to return after the reforms were in full force".

To be honest I did not want to return to India. My mom broke her back and there was no one else who could care for her so I was "FORCED" to return against my personal desires. Sort of like "I tripped and fell but I fell on an escalator which was moving up".

Every couple of months or so whats left of my school graduation class in Mumbai meets up to share old stories and chill a bit. We were a class of 100 or 110. 6 are known to be dead (there maybe more I don't know). Many others have fallen by the wayside. Only a small fraction (maybe 20-30%) "made it". I believe luck had a big part to play in all of this.

I have had a reasonably interesting life and I am happy I did. And looking back, the only credit I can give myself for any of this was the fact that I did not fear an opportunity. That's all. Others were smarter, more hard working, sharper, better looking, better diplomats, focused, etc... but some of them had fear, some greed, and some just went nuts. The ones that survived were lucky not to fall into those pits.

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Nobody has really covered the dark side of turning 40- that dreaded "mid-life crisis"- so let me touch upon it briefly.
Lovely thoughts Noop. I never really had a mid-life crisis. Maybe after my son leaves home I will. Maybe it is because I married so late that my mid-life has still not come.

40 came and went and I don't even remember it. 50 came and went and really I thought of it as only a number (though my body keeps reminding me I am not 21 anymore). 60 is coming and I am looking forward to that because it means I can retire!

Last edited by navin : 18th April 2016 at 17:15.
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Old 18th April 2016, 19:36   #41
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My take on 40s.

Two aspects: One : You know in your heart; your job is not the right one. And hence you start having more doubts about it as time goes. If you think you are in the right job half the problem solved!

Second: Now coming to non-job aspects:

As age goes, I have realised you take more effort to keep up with the same levels of motivation compared to what you did when you were young. So if you have to keep-up with a mentally active life style, you need to work that much harder for any thing new worth spending.

I also realise time spent on 10-90% ramp-up on a new learning is more fruitful than spending that same effort for 95-100 of an old item. You learn more things in the bargain. So that helps explore new avenues right from scratch.

As you age, I also realised you can divide your motivation into multiple things. When I joined work, all my motivation was work. Later I realised only level of motivation I need for work, is what it takes to get you up from bed (or not sleep!) and head to office to face another day.

The rest of the motivation pie can be spent elsewhere. Like hobbies, friends, travel etc. Thats how photography, travel, team-bhp etc happened to me! It pays to have multiple circle of good friends in different walks of life.

And last but not least, I also realised the importance of physical fitness. You dont need to go to a gym for that. Be regular with regimen, food etc. A regular walk for an hour is also more than enough.


Also please note: All the prior realisations are with reference to non-job related hazards. I have no idea what it means to be stuck in a wrong job. Never experienced it.
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Old 18th April 2016, 20:04   #42
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The rest of the motivation pie can be spent elsewhere. Like hobbies, friends, travel etc. Thats how photography, travel, team-bhp etc happened to me! It pays to have multiple circle of good friends in different walks of life.


Also please note: All the prior realisations are with reference to non-job related hazards. I have no idea what it means to be stuck in a wrong job. Never experienced it.

Never give up what you love doing. Some of us are fortunate in that they can make a living at what they really really enjoy doing. Others are not that fortunate. You may choose an occupation that interests you but that is NOT your first love, but that does not mean you drop the dream or the hobby. Keep doing it, you never know what opportunity life throws at you in the future. At the least it will make life interesting.

Edit: just realised why I never had a mid-life crisis at 40. I got married late enough that close to 40 I was still having a mid-wife crisis.

Last edited by navin : 18th April 2016 at 21:13.
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Old 18th April 2016, 23:08   #43
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Can I share my two cents, Im almost there I think one should keep options open than a corporate life. If there is some passion to do something on our own, we should pursue it. It gives a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Like OP said he was into baking and stuff, thats great!! I wish him all the best and luck, he is going to be a very happy person when he opens his own bakery. Toiling for corporates while sacrificing our precious time for them seems a unfulfilling path of life unless they reward people well. And watch that waist line after getting married, one will be caught surprised by the increment from 32 to 36.
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Old 19th April 2016, 10:04   #44
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I am in my early 30's and mid way between where the OP is and where the other members he is referring to are. Let me add how things change mid way down the line.

College days were the best, needless to say. Getting a job offer on campus was the only worry we had and I got a decent placement. Coming from a lower middle class family, a good job, that too in Delhi was a dream come true. We lived a royal life, sharing a large 3+1 BHK apartment with 5 other bachelors. We partied, we enjoyed a lot. Life was good. and we saved very little.

I chose to marry my college GF, against the will of our parents (coming from an orthodox family, inter caste marriages are mentally draining). We spent all our savings to splurge on marriage and honeymoon, and started my married life on a clean slate. But life was still good. Two life goals (job and marriage as per my choice) accomplished. I dont know about others, but I have not planned any goals after these 2 goals were met. So I and my wife continued to enjoy and save little. I was earning decently and she was also in a good job. So far so good.

Lack of long term goal makes you look around for what others are doing. Everyone was either buying their first 4 wheeler, or was booking a house. We did the same. Spent whatever we had managed to save, and more (taking money from our parents and loans from banks), and bought a car and booked an apartment too. Change of fate and my wife had to quit her job, we had moved to Gurgaon (with very high rentals), and were planning to extend our family. Rent + home loan EMI, combined with the realization that I am the only earner now, made us fall into a tremendous financial stress, which I am still coping with. Now saving was not even possible, we were just surviving hand to mouth and only credit card to fall on in case of even small monetary needs over and above our monthly expenses. Last 4 years, we have gone through managing our life somehow and didnt get any holiday, no travel, very less to splurge on shopping or recreation. 4 glorious years of youth lost, only form of contentment is that we coped with it together, and we have an appreciating asset (a 2BHK apartment) which should turn out to be a good decision in the long run.

Becoming a parent is the watershed moment. This is the time when the real "mid-life crisis" begin. You realize how much a new born means to us, how much our parents had sacrificed to raise us. How many dreams are lost to raise children in a middle class family. You become wise, old and mature, all of a sudden. Relationships start mattering a lot more than just get togethers and parties. And finally you start pondering over what and how to plan ahead, for you, for your family, parents and child. Medical, healthcare, insurance, planning for school admissions, and things like that, start filling your mind space.

Professionally, it is said that 30 to 40 years are the most crucial times, which will define where you would end up at 60. These 10 years are where you get into middle management, and thereafter its open avenue, you can get to wherever you want, provided you decide on what your priorities are. I am still trying to figure out what is more important, how to work out a good rationing of my time between family, job and myself.

But the good part is, every year of struggle, identity crisis, financial crisis or whatever life throws at you post 30, makes you stronger and when you look back, you tend to be proud of yourself, that you coped with it and faced it head on, on your own. And it is intensely satisfying. This (30 years +) is an interesting phase, and I am sure 40+ would be even more so, judging by what other members have posted here. It gives me even more confidence going ahead.

Last edited by GTO : 19th April 2016 at 18:08. Reason: Spacing :)
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Old 19th April 2016, 18:09   #45
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I must confess. I am not yet 40. I am in my early thirties. But from what little bit I have seen in my life so far I can tell you that with age you get certain perspective about your life. Mistakes that we make in our youth, makes us wise and we do get better in the business of life. You begin to value more and more the things which you already have and crave less for what you do not. Being 10 years older than you, let me give a word to the wise, enjoy what you are doing and do what you enjoy the most. As you said you have a passion for baking. So pursue your dreams and build a life for yourself. You will always do well when your passion becomes your profession. Wish you good luck
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