My 40th Birthday: Thoughts and Lessons Learned

Every year I spend a few hours on my birthday or the day afterwards to sit down and reflect on not only what I learned that year, but also how I grew, what I did well, what didn't work out, and what my goals are for the upcoming year. This year was a big one. Turning 40 in America marks officially being old. When you're in your late 30's, you can still kind of get by and fit in without being the old guy in the club, or look out of place in society. But here's the thing, I've since realized how much of a waste of time trying to be part of the social ladder is, going to nightclubs, or even trying to be cool.

A big reason I like living in Ukraine is that people here base your worth not on arbitrary things like your age but instead on your accomplishments. In the US, the 28 year old guy who is an aspiring musician or DJ that lives like a college student with roommates and has zero dollars in the bank is somehow seen to be attractive and socially creditable. Here in Ukraine, it's the opposite. They have a term that in American English sounds like a bit of an insult, and definitely not a compliment, but in Russian when a man is said to be "Adequate" it's actually a good thing, a very good thing. 

How it Feels

To be honest, it doesn't feel any different. People say age is just a number, or that it's a mindset, and it's partially true. But for me, it didn't happen on July 11th when the clock hit midnight. I started changing my mindset a few years ago now, and my priorities started to change. I no longer enjoyed loud music or going to late night parties. I said no to festivals or crazy parties, concerts, and heavy drinking. I used to think I would never be that guy, or that old guys were somehow missing out. I honestly thought they were sad. 

But here's what I realize now. It's sad if you are the old guy in the club because you have no other options, or if you are unhappy with life at home. It's sad if they guy is 40, broke, hates his job, is unhappy in his relationships and has nothing going for him. It's sad to know that if I had never had the courage to quit my job in California 12 years ago, there's a very good chance I would be stuck in a sexless marriage, dead end job, and have a pile of debt like many people have. 

It feels good to have made sacrifices, took chances, delayed gratification, built businesses, invested and to be where I am today. The only thing that honestly doesn't feel good is being 15kg/30lbs overweight. It's the one part of my life that I've not prioritized and I know it's keeping me from enjoying life. The good news is that 10 years ago, I had no idea how to get in shape, what to eat, and how to work out. Now I have the opposite problem. I know exactly what to do, I just need to prioritize doing it, which has been difficult as the bread here in Ukraine is just too good to say no to. 

Financial Goals

One of my big goals was to become a $US Dollar Millionaire by the time I was 40. My original plan was to make a big announcement, and even write the 3rd book to complete the trilogy after 12 Weeks in Thailand and Life Changes Quick. I even wanted to contact the local news channel to burn my University of California Diploma live on TV as a way to demonstrate how useless going to college was and how little that piece of paper has helped my life. 

I graduated University with honors and a B.A. in Social Science, but was $50,000 in debt, and had zero skills or life experience. I luckily prioritized paying off the student loans in 5 years instead of letting it pile up over 30 or hoping for someone to give me a handout and magically forgive it. 

A lot of people don't understand my financial situation or how I've made money, and honestly I don't care to explain it. Being public and sharing everything that I was doing, things I learned, and the contacts I made for the past decade has created at least a dozen people who have reached out to me since and how me they've become millionaires based on what I shared with them. Hundreds of others have reached out and thanked me for showing them a way to be able to quit their normal jobs to build a business that is now making over $100,000 a year. Even this week alone one guy flew all the way from Missouri to Kyiv just to hang out as he's now making over $250,000 a year from a business that I helped introduce him to. 

For me personally. Part of me wishes I would have just kept everything quiet to myself, and just ran my own businesses instead of spending so much time and energy helping others become even more financially successful than me. I wish I would have spent 4 months building my last dropshipping store by myself, instead of with those two partners who are now trying to screw me by cutting me out of a store doing over $10,000 a month profit. But even then, with all of that going on, I'm still happy with all of the decisions I've made and where I am today. 

Friends and Relationships

Most people in the world choose their friends and relationships based on who just happens to live near them, go to their school, or work nearby. Sometimes it works out as you naturally have a lot in common, but other times you realize you're only friends or dating someone because of proximity and not because of choice. 

With being location independent, we get the paradox of choice. We can live anywhere in the world, have friends or even relationships from different countries, we can seemly have it all. But the truth is, we only have so much time and energy to have 5-10 close relationships or friendships at any given time. 

There are friends who I get along with splendidly, but only talk to or see once a year just because they live so far, or are based in different countries. Part of the reason why I've chosen to settle down in Ukraine is so I can develop a small, close group of friends again who are mostly in one place. Spending 1/3 of my time in Kharkiv, 1/3 of my time in Kiev, and 1/3 of my time traveling may seem like splitting myself too thin still, but since all the places I now go are within a few hours of each other, it's actually a good balance between changing up my environment so I don't get bored, while still seeing my friends at least once a month, instead of once a year. 

Goals and Plans

I can safely say that I am enjoying this new chapter of my life. It's refreshing to get to a point in my life where I no longer care what other people think. I don't know of this comes naturally with age, or if it just takes this much time to figure it out, go through the bs, and finally accept yourself for who you are, but either way, i'm glad it's finally happened. 

My goal now is to balance not letting others judgement or the need to try to impress others dictate my life, while still improving myself, and being the best version of myself for me. It's easy to stop caring, become lazy, sloppy and bitter as you get older. I don't want to ever be that guy. Instead, I want to do things for me and not for what others think or to impress others, gain their approval, or even their business. 

It feels good to have turned 40, and just the fact that I'm okay with saying my age out loud, feels great. I think the worst thing in the world is trying to act like something you are or trying to hold onto the past. It feels crazy to think about it as I always thought turning forty signified the end of the good years in life, but now I see that it's exactly the halfway point and if anything, i'm at my peak. I'm on top of the mountain. I've done the hard work to get to where I am today, and now I can finally see the horizon clearly, and enjoy the walk back down. I hope everyone reading this finds your joy and happiness as well.

With Love,

Johnny FD

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  1. Happy 40 my man! I enjoyed your birthday video. Great to have such friends.


    1. Thanks Sam! We'll have to grab a drink when I'm back in San Francisco.

  2. Johnny, try KETO, I lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks just watching Youtube videos about this diet.

    1. Yes it works. But giving up bread and carbs is hard here in Ukraine. =)

  3. Happy 40th Johnny! Glad you are happy with your life and many successes! As I get closer to the big 4-0 I also realized I no longer give a shit what other people think amd am so happy i spent the past 6 years travelling the world.

    Glad you are enjoying your new home in Ukraine and maybe I'll visit you there one day!

    1. 100% Agreed Kristy! I'm glad we started traveling when we did.

  4. Congratulations Johnny and happy 40th to you! I'll be 39 this year so I'm catching up. Lol. Glad you've found a great balance in life. Take care and I'm sure I'll see you in Kyiv one day soon.

    1. Thanks Curtis! It's all about that life balance!

  5. Happy Birthday J FD. Nice read and I think you made a lot of friends and fans! All the way. As a wise man once said, deduct 30 from your age and make plans again! NoFearFPV

  6. Happy Birthday "old guy"! (He calls himself while being surrounded by beautiful young women, ha ha ha). Don't you know that 40 is the new 30? Anyways, it sounds like you're taking it well and making good plans. Enjoy!

  7. Hi Johnny,

    Well written post. I am 43 this year. I think that you have achieved the best possible outcome in the first 40 years of your life. I believe that you will achieve better in the next 40 years or more. Like you have mentioned, age is just the number and it is the mind which matters for one.

    You are spot on mentioning the importance of not allowing the opinion of others affecting one's decision. I think that this is the correct approach and allow one to be happy in the things which he/she desires to embark on and take action accordingly.

    You have contributed the best possible on how you managed to achieve the financial aspect in the past decade or more. I think that these posts will be beneficial for those who want to be in the same path as you. I understand your decision to limit such sharing going forward. I think that this is the right approach as long as it makes you happy. It has been inspirational to see your posts as it reasonates closely with my philosophy and direction.

    There is no need to gain others' approval on one's decision. The most important things is to be happy with the things which you enjoy doing. If these things are no longer in one's interest, move on to the next interesting things. Life is that simple.

    Best Wishes


  8. Happy 40th Young Man! Be safe!

  9. Happy 40th Johnny...

    Thank's for this post, your life updates make for an interesting read!

    There is no third book on the horizon atm? :)

    All the best for the year ahead,

    1. Thanks Lee! I actually sat down to write it, but then realized, "What For?" and decided to put it on the back burner until I can think of a good reason to invest 3-5 months of my life in it.

  10. Congratulation! I am 35 years old and still struggling on the path of starting a business!

  11. I commented and then *poof* it was gone. So hopefully this doesn't double post, sorry if it does.
    Happy (belated) Birthday Johnny. You look smashing! I have loved Ukraine from afar and hope to move there straight away....but with so many obstacles it will take time, delayed gratification and all that jazz.
    You make FANTASTIC videos, a true talent but I also recognize that being beautiful likely makes the numbers rise quickly. Even your 'merchandising' videos are watchable (and I LOATH ads).
    Best of luck and may life give you great health.
    -A keto health junky (but I too will not be able to resist the European breads, my most missed part of Czechia).

  12. Johhny, would be great if you could reflect on the choice of forgoing kids/family. Could you speak to that element of your life? Any regrets? Do you experience loneliness/lack of sense of belonging? Thank you!


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