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13 Things No One Tells You When You Reach the Age of 35

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Life

In a few months, I will lose my home.

It’s brought me to tears many times in front of my wife and one year old daughter. I spent a good chunk of my life savings to buy this house.

Soon…gone…forever. The memories can never be replaced.

The temptation is to keep fighting my bad neighbor (famous charity) after more than a year.

But sometimes you can’t beat a charity that pretends to do good while simultaneously doing evil. The sunk cost fallacy tells us that everything has an endpoint.

Sometimes it’s good to give up and redeploy your energy elsewhere. Otherwise, you become a crazy person who keeps chasing a goal that leads to madness.

I’m 37. No one tells you at age 35 that not all battles are worth winning.

Some have a huge mental cost that steals your happiness and stabs you in the heart. Here are a few more things no one tells you at 35 (or older).

Forgive your parents (no matter how evil they are)

I held onto grudges with certain family members for too long.

A friend of mine moved from Melbourne to San Francisco 4 years ago. They haven’t spoken to their parents since.

They got a few tattoos to look more rebellious. They’re into psychedelics because everyone at their tech company employer is doing it. Tim Ferriss does it, so why not him?

In the last few years, I’ve forgiven 99% of grudges. It’s like a huge semi-trailer has been lifted off my shoulders.

I wish someone told me sooner that holding onto anger isn’t worth it.

Everyone is doing the best they can. If your parents messed up your childhood, just forgive them. They love you and they did their best. No one is perfect, most of all, you.

There are citizens and tourists in everything

I love to write.

There are people who share my passion. They’re what I call the citizens of the online writing country. We live here despite the weather. We’ll never stop writing. We hold our nation’s flag up high.

Then there are the tourists. They fly in and fly out based on what platform is paying money at the time. They chase shiny objects. They see “make money on X” and wee their pants. They try it for a month then give up.

Then they become a full-time commentator (a.k.a. critic) who flings poo at anyone who’s trying to make a living writing because they couldn’t do it themselves.

Stay away from tourists. They destroy your environment.

Spend more time with the citizens of the obsession that is the cult you worship — the people who’ll die as the Titanic sinks because they believe in what it stood for.

Not taking enough risks turns into regrets

I spent a decade as a banker who hated corporate.

I wish someone told me earlier that you can take risks when you’re younger with little to no consequence. I wish I did 5 years in banking not 10+ years. I could have gone all in on my writing obsession much sooner. But I didn’t.

I was afraid.

The thought of quitting my banking job gave me runny poos. I saw small risks as catastrophic future failures.

Now at 37, I’ve realized there are two types of risks:

  1. A risk that is nothing more than a gamble built on false hope
  2. Calculated risks

If you do the research and take calculated risks that won’t ruin you, it’s easier to level up in life. People hold on tightly to everything they’ve worked for when, often, it equates to peanuts and could be made back in a year if it all went away.

No risks, no growth.

No risks = Extreme boredom

Invest in your body or your body will steal your time

Now I’m 37 my friends are starting to age.

We’re all at different stages. The ones who partied hard have no energy. The ones who endured extreme stress at work are now full of wrinkles, have two black eyes, and look like Bruce Lee has beaten them up.

If your body starts to give up it costs a lot of time to fix it. Medical appointments. Tests. A mountain of drugs. Money to pay for all the doctors. It’s cheaper to take care of yourself.

How? Good diet and exercise. I feel like a grandma for saying that.

Aging occurs when individuals start focusing on their past — Nassim Taleb

Being a ghost makes it hard when you need a new opportunity

At 20 I was young, dumb, had a nice bum, and everyone wanted to work with me. Now I’m older the shine of my youth has warn off.

Someone younger than me can do any banking job I used to do smarter, faster, better. That means if I rely on being chosen for opportunities then I run the risk of being ignored.

I experienced this in 2019 when I got fired from my job and AI resume-checkers ensured I never got to do job interviews. All my experience and overinflated achievements meant nothing.

This is how most people live. You google them and nothing comes up. They’re a ghost. They’ve never written anything. They have no published ideas. They’ve never appeared on a podcast related to their job.

They just live in the shadows … afraid. When chaos comes for them they’re not ready. They get laid off or caught up in a 2008-style recession.

Now they have to beg. The desperation shows on their face. They’re dripping in perspiration. And often they take ten steps back in life and never go back to the position they were in.

I wish someone told me at 20 that you need to be visible.

You need to occasionally put yourself out there and, perhaps, dare to write something online. Otherwise, opportunities can’t land in your email inbox. So … you starve. And it hurts.

Habits mean nothing if you don’t have humility

I used to have habits that were the definition of insanity.

For example, I’d make electronic music every day of the year, then never iterate or get any feedback. So I spent 10 years making music that no one ever heard and I never improved.

Sure, I did 10,000 hours. But without 10,000 iterations I never got better.

Thinking you know everything is a disease. Repetition doesn’t increase your skill level without iteration.

Mental Model: The person you are now should be embarrassed of who you were a year ago. If not, you’re not iterating fast enough.

Settling for second best hurts like hell

The average person settles.

They find a good enough job, good enough spouse, good enough house, then live out the rest of their years in quiet desperation.

I settled for less than I could be for years. I ran from entrepreneurship because I was afraid of another startup disaster. I stayed in romantic relationships for way too long when I knew the person wasn’t a fit.

Dare to expect much more out of life. Raise your standards.

Habit building is a crock of sh*t

People talk about habits like it’s a new-age science. It’s a religion.

My friend Dan Koe says, “It takes 1 second to build a new habit if you are absolutely fed up with where you are.”

It’s amazing how when you have urgent motivation to achieve a goal, the barriers and excuses just disappear and you get it done.

When I lost a big chunk of my life savings in 2021, I celebrated. My wife nearly put me in rehab. My business partner thought I’d lost my mind.


Because I had free motivation to put in 10x more effort and make it all back again, so I didn’t have to go back to 9–5 hell. And I did it.

No fancy systems. No $50,000 life coaches. No Instagram motivational quotes. Just free motivation that came from total catastrophic failure.

Losing everything or getting pissed off is a huge life hack.

We’re all rich and famous authors

Our lives are just one big story.

We get to be the author of the story. The most powerful stories are the ones we tell ourselves in our heads. They can either empower you or limit you.

At any moment we can write a new chapter, add a plot twist, switch genres, or burn the book and start writing a new one.

Once you play the role of an author life becomes a series of decisions you get to make, rather than a series of random events that are happening to you (victim).

Write the story your own damn way.

We ruin our future selves by waiting to “feel like it”

I used to love waiting for the perfect time.

I’d scream “one day” or “someday” in response to any big goal. Or I’d start doing the work on a new goal when I had my once a year chunk of 4 weeks annual leave. But I never felt like it.

Life always threw curveballs at me. Someone got sick. The dog died. My best friend was in a car crash. The bank I worked at had a huge round of layoffs. So I kept delaying, delaying, delaying.

A helpful way to overcome this that I now know at 37 is to imagine you’re two different people:

  1. Present self
  2. Future self

When your present self waits to feel like it, your future self gets stabbed in the back. If you can get good at taking action when you don’t feel like it, you become unstoppable.

The pain of daily exercise is a great practice for getting good at *not* feeling like it and showing up anyway. It bleeds into other areas of life.

The best things in life hurt like hell

At 37, I don’t value the things that came easily.

It’s the things I struggled for that mean the most. They form the stories I share with friends and strangers. The more I struggle to achieve the goal the more I experience happiness and fulfillment.

20-somethings on TikTok are taught to think differently.

They subscribe to the culture war, the victim mindset, the “life ain’t fair” philosophy, the complain and blame addiction, and rely on politician grandpas to solve their struggles.

Essentially, they outsource their personal power to a few dudes in suits with white hair that they’ll never meet without the Secret Service throwing them to the ground and putting a gun to their heads.

We all struggle. Being human is a struggle.

We’re not supposed to avoid it. We’re supposed to embrace it.

Words that start with “self” have enormous power


Dan Koe

There’s this meme on X that basically says everything in life is self-improvement in disguise.

If you master the “self” you master everything. It’s 100% in your control. No more outsourcing your power to random fake bosses who don’t give a damn about you.

I ignored self-experimentation for a long time. I thought I was an introvert with a mental illness and my path was set. So I did nothing to improve.

Once you master words that begin with “self,” everything starts to shift.

You will die

As a young buck I never thought about death.

It felt depressing and a waste of time. Now I think about it more. One brutal analogy that changed how I saw the world took place when my nana died three years ago.

She was the last living grandparent. Once grandparents die it’s then your parent’s turn. Then you’re after that.

I now think of the cemetery like a supermarket checkout. We’re all in line, and once you get closer to the end of the queue, everything starts to feel more urgent. This view of the world has made me deeply emotional.

I look at my wife and kid differently. I stopped taking everything for granted and thinking I had unlimited time.

Don’t wait to reach the end of the cemetery queue before you make your move. Do it while you’re a few steps behind in the line.

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