36 Thoughts As I Turn 36

36 Things I Have Learned in 36 Years of Existence

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” -Jean-Paul Satre

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It was my birthday last week. It was just like all my other birthdays since I became an adult. A non-event. Just another day.

That’s how I like it though.

The funny thing is I still think I am about 25 in my mind. If you asked young me, 36 would have been ancient. It’s all perspective I guess. I am young to a 60-year-old guy.

I am far from being old really, but I can tell you what age you start to feel the first, ever so slight, inclinations of age – 26.

Yes, at some point when you are age 26 you will feel that first taste of your body telling you it’s aging. You feel it only slightly, and maybe just once that year, but that is when it happens. I have discussed this with many people, and they will usually agree with me on this point. So if you are under 26, congratulations you haven’t felt your body tell you it’s getting older yet.

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So having just had my 36th birthday, I felt that a few words of wisdom* should be shared.

  • Haggle – They want to sell the thing more than you want it. You will be amazed where you can talk people down on the price. Always negotiate.
  • It’s what you keep in your pocket, not really how much you earn – Lifestyle creep; it’s real. Keep it at bay, you lived with what you earned when you were 25 so you can still do it now (if single). Inflation not withstanding.
  • Work is work – There is plenty to do in this world, so don’t forget to get out there and discover what you really like. Usually this doesn’t happen at work.
  • Save to invest – Don’t wake up in 30-40 years and still have to go out there and work to live. You need to be investing about 20% of what you make. Things that make you money without much effort on your side. Real estate, farm land, the stock market, Lego (yes, really), cryptos, or old-school precious metals are just some things I can think of right now.
  • Buy used mainly – Make thrift stores/garage sales your go to place for things. Avoid brand new cars, the sweet spot for a car is about $5-10k. You can check the reviews to see how these cars are doing for the current owners of that model. Look to get out of the car one year of use and 10,000 miles per $1k spent. Remember to haggle!
  • Naps are awesome
  • If you buy new, buy quality – Check the reviews, weigh the cost against how often you will use the item. If you are going to buy something that you will use the hell out of, check the reviews and buy the best value (cost to quality). It’s usually cheaper to buy one good thing once for more than to buy multiple low-quality items for less.
  • Don’t buy the extended warranty – They only offer it because they make money off it. Chances are you will never use it, and even if you need to they will find a way to not honor it.
  • Beware sales pitches – Know what high pressures sales tactics are so you don’t fall for them. Basically, they all come down to trying to have you make snap decisions.
  • Have at least one side gig – Besides just cultivating your independence and entrepreneurial spirit, a side gig allows you to know you provide value. It could be related to your job/education, it doesn’t have to be. Bonus points if it’s your passion.
  • More isn’t always better. Everything in moderation or else it loses its effect on you.
  • Only have friends that are positive people are not going to stop bringing you down until you reach their level.
  • Can’t change the past – But I can learn from it and use those experiences to not do those things again and improve myself.
  • Learn something each day- I don’t care how old you get, continue to learn things. It will make you a better person.
  • The best knowledge isn’t in a classroom – Go out there and do things! You can learn only so much without actually doing stuff.
  • Build/fix things yourself – Don’t be afraid, you were just about to pay someone to come fix/build it anyway, weren’t you? Youtube it, I bet someone has a video on the subject. When you fix/build it, you will feel so good about yourself. And save tons of cash.
  • Trust your gut – You feel that way for a reason, trust your animal mind.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – Especially on social media. All you see there is the top highlights of their life, nearly everyone’s life looks good on the highlight reel.
  • Keep your word – If you say you are going to do something then do it. If you can’t, let the person know.
  • Be silly – Lighten up, don’t take life too seriously.
  • Watch things narrated by David Attenborough – Seriously, this guy is a legend, so calming.
  • Be that guy – When you are with a group of people and one guy is talking but no one else is paying any attention to him, be the one that is looking at him and listening. This is just one example – but ‘be that guy’.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure – I know losing sucks, but you learn so much from it. Not only does failing toughen you up for life, it makes you want to do better than before. In all the movies the hero fails at first but then strives to become the best and wins at the end!
  • Listen to advice, follow what makes sense to you – Things work differently for each of us, so listen to it all and pick the best bits out. Customize it for yourself. This is especially true for this list!

*Wisdom may or may not be present, probably not though


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  1. Cody @ Dollar Habits

    Happy Birthday, Old Man! ? I hope you had a great day.

    I love your list. Lots and lots of sage advice here and I second your recommendation for anything narrated by David Attenborough. Haha.

    1. MrDD

      Haha! I don’t know how old you are but you will be 36 sometime too!

      I could be watching a group of alligators tearing apart an African buffalo and if Sir David Attenborough is the narrator it will be so calming.

  2. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Cheers to 36 years, friend! I think you are full of wisdom–especially about naps. Frickin’ life changing. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…Eating Cheap ‘N’ Healthy Without Hating YourselfMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Mrs. Picky, I need a nap right now! Been working extra hours.

  3. Mr Defined Sight

    Very good list there buddy! I was trying to find one in particular to comment on but frankly, there are several that hit home for me. I really like the one about being “that guy”. I try to pride myself in being a good listener instead of a guy who just waits his turn to speak. Those kinds of people bug me too. Happy belated birthday my friend!
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Leverage Is A Powerful Thing If Used CorrectlyMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Thanks for the birthday mention. 🙂

      Two ears, one mouth for a reason, right?

  4. FIbythecommonguy

    Happy Birthday Mr.DD! Great thoughts. I love the nap one!
    FIbythecommonguy recently posted…Incomes: 2 incomes to 1 incomeMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Naps seem to be wasted on the young.

      Mine are always screaming and crying when it is time. I am like c’mon, naps are awesome! But they are like ‘naw.

  5. Mitch

    It’s amazing what 10 years of wisdom can do for us. 26 more so hit me as in – I am a full fledged adult there is no excuses of “in my young twenties.” Good lessons.

    1. MrDD

      Much like compound interest, I don’t think wisdom adds up to much until you’ve let it percolate for a few decades. Thanks for stopping by Mitch!

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