UNITED STATES—I recently had a birthday, and as I get older, the day of celebrating just doesn’t seem so important anymore. Yes, am I thankful to be alive for another year? Absolutely, but at the same time, you start to appreciate the things in life that you have taken for granted that you should have made a focal point. I spent most of the past week in the hospital after discovering my dad had a leaky valve in his heart.

When you have urgent situations arise it forces you to put the perspective what matters in life, and what things you stress about should not be your focus. That is the thing that I’ve learned about aging, not only do you get older, but you start to reflect on your life as a whole. What things do you want to accomplish? What things have you not accomplished? Are you happy with your professional life? Personal life? What are you doing to change those things?

My latest birthday screamed to me that I’m not happy in my professional life. I am not screaming with joy with the things that I want to do and what I am currently doing. My latest birthday reminded me of something crucial: you’re not getting any younger. You cannot place things on the backburner. If there is something you want to do, now is the time, just do it, screw everything else. You need to do what makes you happy, because at the end of the day, a paycheck is a paycheck. You need money to live, but it shouldn’t be determinant of the life you live.

I feel like a lot of people fall into that boat, where they tell themselves, “Well, it’s a check, I have bills to pay, I’ve invested so much time into this company, do I really want to start all over?” That last part is something that has so many people frightened to make a move, but guess what do you want to invest another 5 to 10 years at a job that makes you miserable? I don’t think so, so take a leap of faith. Yeah, it is always scary when you don’t have a complete career path, but you know what you want to do, you know what gift or gifts that you have and that you want to explore them a bit more, so do it.

The celebrations of a birthday are always great, but as you get order, perspective of the situation becomes more important. Are you headed in the right direction that you want to professionally and personally? Every birthday that comes around reminds you of those two questions and it results in some deep soul searching. If you are not, you can do one of two things: continue down the path that you’re in or make actual moves to change the course of your life to achieve the things that you want.

Perhaps the biggest thing that I’ve learned recently is that time is of the essence, you never know you’re your time is up and if you’re not living your life to the fullest than what are you doing, just letting time pass you by and for what? We all deserve happiness and that means sometimes doing the thing or things that make you happiest in life. You cannot always put others before yourself, because in the end they reap the benefits of your hard labor and you’re left with what?