What I Learned about Birthdays and Leaking Car Engines

My old car was dripping oil onto a very nice driveway. The driveway was owned by my future boss. We had just met. I was a college student doing some “handyman” work on his house, and I had parked my car in his driveway. He asked me to move it, and then he promptly cleaned up my oily mess.

I was embarrassed and apologized for messing up his driveway. He was gracious and told me that it was ok. We talked about cars a bit. I admired his beautiful car and acted ashamed about my old piece of junk.

He then said something that has stuck with me for over two decades. He said that he would be willing to trade his nice car for something that I had. When I asked him what that was, he said just one word…birthdays. And then he walked back into his house.

His point was clear to me. I had a lot more of something than he did, and that was future birthdays. I guess I needed to appreciate my situation in life a little bit more. Here are some things that I have thought about since that conversation:

Be Grateful for Your Future Birthdays

No matter what your age is, you have time to make a difference in the world. When you are young, you have time to learn and grow. You have time to build a career, learn new skills and fix mistakes.

When you are older, you have time to put what you have learned into practice, do what you love and have a greater impact.

Make the Most of Your Time

Appreciate the time you are living in and do something. Our culture is very good at distracting us from doing anything significant. We can spend hours consuming entertainment, sports, talk-news, or even learning new things. None of it has any value if we don’t DO anything with it.

If you love sports, go play that sport with someone. Coach a Park and Rec team. Play ball in the neighborhood with some kids. Do people still do that???

If you are in to politics, get involved with your local party. Volunteer. Make a difference. Maybe even run for office.

You probably have more spare time than you realize. Do a zero based time budget, which means, write down what you do with each of your 168 hours in a week. What do your spend your time on?

Be Smart With Your Time

If you have gained skills and have proven yourself in your field for a few years, don’t wait for a new opportunity to show up, go get it. This can happen at any age, if you have a good plan. Don’t just endure your situation if it isn’t right for you or your family. I just made a job offer to a man in his fifties. He has the skills I need, and I had an open position that he needed.

Being smart with your time also means being careful how you spend money. When we are young it feels easy to “buy things on time” because the monthly payments seem small, and it feels like we have lots of time.  However, those choices, including paying for a college degree over time can consume your life and your resources.

So how many birthdays do you have left? What would you trade to get a few birthdays back? Since that’s impossible, take a few minutes to plan your remaining birthdays. Tell me about it in the comments below. Let’s connect on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!




About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!