I successfully turned 59 on Saturday. I celebrated with tickets to Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo", courtesy of my sister. I intended to go as a gift to myself, but to do so, I would have had to raid my income tax refund which would have been difficult, given that it has already been spent.
Fortunately, my sister paid attention to the hints I dropped and gave me two tickets as my birthday present. To quote my 17-year old: "SWEET!" The show was amazing, well worth the big bucks I didn't personally spend.
I did spring for dinner out at Todai with four of my five daughters (one lives too far away). It's a pricey seafood and sushi buffet, but the quality is a cut above most buffets. Dinners are free on one's birthday, and the many food choices kept the picky eaters happy. All in all, my 59th birthday was a good one.
But here's the rub.
I've been paying close attention to my finances for the past ten months. I've cut back in several areas (cable TV, subscriptions, clothing, etc.). I've kept up my contributions to my 401 (K). I am definitely "smarter" about my savings and my spending that I have been at any other point in my life.
So why doesn't it feel better? Why don't I feel ennobled by all this effort? Where's the smug satisfaction that should be my due?
More to the point, why was I happier when I was blithely charging up my credit cards and not worrying?
Whoever said "Ignorance is bliss" might have been talking about me.
It feels weird to be at the peak of my personal earning powers, to be doing work that I love, to have "empty nest" coming my way in just a couple of years, and to be unable to shake this sense of financial doom.
As I say this, or write it down, I realize that I don't feel doomed as to my retirement, which is pretty much on track. It's the day-to-day finances that are getting to me.
OK, enough of this! My financial and emotional goal prior to turning 60 is to find a way to get over this depressive hump.
(Love that last phrase--isn't it the perfect oxymoron?)