Lately, despite my best efforts, I've noticed more gray hairs at my temples, recurring fashion trends, and a sharp memory of events from two decades ago, all of which frequently remind me that I'm getting older.

The other day, I was wondering what my official year of retirement would be if the German laws don't change and I don't die or get very sick before then. I'm writing this in 2024; I turn 35 in May, and the current retirement age is 67. My last year of officially having to be an active member of the working force will be 2056.

Two thousand fifty-six!

That's 32 years from now!

My entire mentally present life, once again.

At this point, there's a fork in the road of how to feel about this. "Oh shit, I still have to do this for more than 30 years?" or "Oh wow, that's so much time left!".

Fortunately, I landed on the second option.

Your mid-30s are a weird age. You meet people who seem convinced (or have to convince themselves?) that they've arrived. They worked, found success in some kind of career and are now ready to settle down. All of this makes it feel like there's nothing yet to come.

That's completely wrong, though. We're not talking about 32 years until I'm basically dead. They're productive years full of potential building, transformation and growth.

Let's say you studied and started your first real job in your early 20s: You worked for just one quarter of what is considered the norm. What's left is enough time to start three new, completely unrelated careers, if you're so inclined.

32 years!

How cool is that?!