What do you think of when you think of being rich? Is it how much money someone has in the bank? Is it a big paycheck every two weeks? Maybe it's being able to afford expensive things? I've asked this question of many people over the years and in almost every case I've gotten answers that are somehow related to these types of answers.
For a long time I focused on earning more and more income, having lots of cash reserves and buying fancy stuff. What I learned was that as far as cash reserves are concerned, it has a way of getting spent/used/lost/or whatever. Shit happens, emergencies happen, life events happen and the nickels and dimes, add up and the result is your cash pile gets smaller. What about a big salary? Well, as we all know, for many reasons, most people raise their lifestyle to meet their income which creates a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. Living large pay check to large paycheck is still broke. It's just broke on a higher level and broke is broke period. Finally, the ability to buy nice things. For this one, I refer back to either of the previous "definitions of rich". Also, for me, once the novelty of new wears off of a widget, I start to lose interest which makes the whole process of acquiring expensive stuff somewhat pointless and stupid.
For me, I've come to realize that freedom of time and location is the truest indication of wealth and that's what I want. I'm only getting older (just like you) and the one thing that none of us can buy, no matter how much money we have, is more time. It's cliche' I know, but it's true. The Deferred Life Plan (the plan that says you should work your whole life and finally get to enjoy yourself when you retire in your golden years) is a shitty plan. I'm choosing Plan B. Plan B for me includes prioritizing great experiences over owning enviable things. It includes vague answers such as "It depends" when asked common questions like "Where do you live?" or "What do you do for work?" It's not meant to be cool or aloof. It's just a different perspective and a different set of objectives which result in a non-standard answer.