Is Age 37 Too Young for a Midlife Crisis? 1st World Problems and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

I’m pretty sure that at age 37, I’m currently working my way through my midlife crisis. While at first mention, it might seem I’m getting mine out of the way a little early, consider that the average American man in Tennessee lives to be about 74 years old. So actually, I’m actually right on cue:

If I live that long, then my life is already halfway complete at this point.

Perhaps the biggest struggle I am sorting out is that, as of this year, I have officially found myself at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Actualization.

The way I like to explain how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs works is this:

If and when you are able to overcome needs in each stage of your life, they are simply replaced by new ones that you didn’t have the privilege of addressing before.

Things started progressing quickly on my journey up the pyramid, in my mid-30s, when I discovered that it was always my decision whether I allowed other people to emotionally affect me. During that same time in my life, my wife and I had become completely debt-free, other than our mortgage.

Now in our late 30s, we have found ourselves in a new income level bracket; having both progressed our ways up the corporate ladder, in addition to the aforementioned pyramid.

I think the identity crisis I am going through right now is that we both work full-time jobs in offices, in addition to side jobs online. The money simply goes to paying off our mortgage, our kids’ college funds, and our retirement.

It’s just sort of demotivating to consider how much of our time is spent working- and how little time is spent together as a family.

Plus, I really want a Jeep Wrangler. I’ve been dreaming about owning one for years. But having gone years without a car payment, and knowing that buying my dream car would only take away from our savings and our ability to pay extra each month on our mortgage, I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy it anyway.

Clearly, I have first world problems. Yet according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they are still legitimate challenges that I am sorting out in my life.

This is my midlife crisis at age 37.

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The Search for Wisdom, Truth, and Meaning Ends with Life’s Responsibilities; Including Marriage, Children, and a Mortgage (Or, “I Used to Be a Lot More Fun, Yet Self-Centered and Emotionally Needy”)

As my 20th high school reunion is coming up in less than a year, I think it’s funny how certain people probably remember me as a person I no longer am; for better or worse.

Sure, I used to be a lot more fun back before I was so well immersed in all my current responsibilities. But I also know for a fact that I used to let a lot of things bother me that I no longer do.

One of the least favorite years of my life was when I was 20 years old, back in 2001. And no, it wasn’t necessarily because that was the year of the September 11th attacks. It was because, at the time, my identity as an adult was still forming.

I was finishing up community college, before transferring to Liberty University where I would get my English degree. I had a part-time job as the supervisor of an after-school program. I was a Junior High Sunday School teacher and youth leader at my hometown church. And I was single.

Back then, I was still on a noble quest for things like wisdom, truth, and meaning in life.

Fast forward to present day: I’m 37, I have been married for 10 years (as of next Thursday), I have 2 kids, and I have a full time office job in the Nashville area; in addition to my 4 side hustle jobs that also generate income (this blog, doing SEO for a major university, and 2 YouTube channels).

My wife and I are on a passionate mission to pay off our mortgage early, as we’ve been otherwise debt-free for many years now; including no car payments. We are very inspired to outsmart the system of having to work our entire adult lives just to pay interest to the bank for our home loan.

That’s where I’m at in life.

So honestly, I can’t remember the last time I thought about searching for wisdom, truth, or meaning. I don’t need to.

By default, I get my daily share of wisdom, truth, and meaning through all of my many responsibilities in life; as a married father of 2, with a total of 5 income-generating jobs.

It may seem a bit anticlimactic or unromantic, but responsibility is the answer to trying to find wisdom, truth, and meaning.

Google, YouTube, and Amazon: How People are Constantly Making Money from All 3 Forces of the Trifecta of the Modern Day Tower of Babel

Allow me to introduce you to the underworld of the Internet, where people earn passive incomes, thanks to the rest of the world constantly searching for answers on Google, products on Amazon, and education and entertainment on YouTube. These are the 3 forces that help sustain the modern day Tower of Babel.

I think of it as the perfect relationship between creators and consumers.

While it might make us uncomfortable to admit it, these 3 search engines combined serve as a man-made, all-knowing, instantly accessible, god-like entity with instant answers that people can literally see right there on the screen.

No praying required, no real faith involved here. Just type a few words and immediately become more enlightened.

It’s like we’re climbing the stairs to the top of the Tower of Babel, like finding our own way to Heaven; or at least to a more convenient version of life. But hey, if that thought really makes you feel bad; that in theory, we’re all participating in the the modern day Tower of Babel, just promise to never use Google, YouTube, or Amazon again.

Do you want to instantly know how to predict if a young man is going to go bald? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to know what the best yet affordable espresso machine is on the market? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to instantly know how to be cured of dyshidrotic eczema without depending on prescriptions from a doctor? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Okay, so maybe you personally aren’t currently looking for answers to these questions. That’s okay. Because somebody else is. All the time. And I am getting a piece of the pie.

How so? This is a glimpse at the way it works.

Having an SEO rich website, for people to stumble upon while searching something on Google:

I own the equivalent of real estate here on the Internet. I have this blog you’re reading now, which has been around since May 2009, which contains over 2400 different articles, all of which contain a minimum of 300 words each. This serves as my dragnet to “capture” a decent portion of a great number of things people might be searching at any giving moment on the Internet. Every second of every day.

Because of this, and other secret reasons, my blog (this website) has good SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Therefore, companies realize this when they themselves search for certain keywords (which I carefully implanted here on my website). They obviously want their product featured on easy-to-find platforms like mine, so they reach out to me; offering a free product and/or payment in exchange for being featured here on my “real estate”.

Having a YouTube channel with a decent amount of subscribers:

I have come to the realization that most people don’t realize YouTubers actually make money every time someone clicks on an ad that shows before a YouTuber’s video. With over 2,000 videos, and each one averaging at least 4 minutes long, I have a steady stream of newcomers landing on my YouTube channel each day.

The more who subscribe, the more views I get, the more money I make. From there, I make videos to coincide with certain blog topics that I write about here on my blog. That way, I can use both my blog and YouTube channel in connection with one another; potentially bringing my audiences together.

Having an Amazon Affiliate account to earn a commission from any items sold, from links I plant on my website and YouTube videos:

Fathom this truth… anytime you click on a link that takes you to Amazon and you end up buying anything, the person who put that link there gets a portion of that sale. The link you clicked may have been for a children’s booster car seat, but after clicking the link, you may have wandered off and instead, ended up buying organic vegan Ramen noodles. 

It doesn’t matter. Amazon rewards people like me who have popular enough platforms to usher people over to Amazon and buy a product.

So obviously, in each of my most popular blog posts and YouTube videos, as well as most of my newest ones, there is at least one link to an Amazon product; as I capitalize on the fact I have a decent sized blog, with an accompanying YouTube channel.

Now knowing this about me, do you think differently of this family friendly daddy blogger?

Am I a sneaky guy who preys on unassuming people who are casually searching things on the Internet?

Or am I just another business-minded creative personality who understands how the system works; that consumers are constantly searching for answers and that I might as well be the one with some of those answers. I have just enough answers to get more than a thousand people to stumble upon my website and YouTube channel each day.

So the next time you Google something random end up on someone’s website, think, “I’m improving their power and presence on the Internet.”

The next time you need to learn something by watching a YouTube video and click on the ad that shows before it, think, “I just made that person a fraction of a penny.”

And the next time you click on a link on a website than transports you to Amazon and you buy something, think, “Somebody somewhere is getting a percentage of this sale.”

You now understand the basics of the business model of the modern day Tower of Babel.

For $100, I Will Promote Your Business in a Guest Blog Post and Help Enhance Your SEO (7 Reasons to Hire Me)

So far this year, I’ve had 2 separate businesses approach me about essentially buying ad space in the form of a guest blog post…

For $100, I Will Promote Your Business in a Guest Blog Post and Help Enhance Your SEO (7 Reasons to Hire Me)

By hiring me, I not only helped those companies get exposure and establish authority in their field on an established 3rd party website, but it also ultimately helped increase their SEO (search engine optimization); as Google rewards the link in the bio, and that provides ranking value when people search, especially if there is semantic content surrounding the key phrases.

I could easily and quickly do the same for you.

Not to mention, I would be publicizing your blog post(s) on my social media channels: I have over 1,000 “likes” (followers) on my Facebook fan page, in addition to over 1,100 Facebook friends on my personal account, over 700 followers on Twitter… plus over 400 blog subscribers through WordPress.

The first company to utilize my services this year was Comcast; they ended up hiring me for 3 separate posts:

XFINITY X1 DVR: Taking Entertainment on the Go for Road Trips

Comcast + DreamWorks Animation = Future of Family Entertainment

XFINTIY’s Share App Lets You Stream Live from Smartphone to TV

More recently, Superior Honda hired me to publish their guest blog post as well.

3 Tips for Getting the Best Deal When Buying a Car

I base my $100 fee on the pricing that Comcast proposed to me when they reached out to me. It was worth it to them to hire me for that rate; as was the case with Superior Honda, who was next in line.

So my rate is not simply arbitrary. It’s based on what I’ve been paid 4 times now by 2 different companies this year. That is the rate that the free market has decided my services are currently worth, based on my size and reach.

(For a bit more, you can hire me to write the article myself, instead of you sending me a pre-written guest blog post yourself. I have an English degree from Liberty University, so I am skilled in this area.)

In case you’re considering doing business with me, here is some information about my website, Family Friendly Daddy Blog, that I feel you will find appealing. These are 7 reasons to hire me for the gig:

1) This blog was born in May 2009; making it over 7 years old- meaning that my blog is an established website to link to, which is important for SEO.

2) Visitor traffic on my blog averages around 14,000 views per month. That’s pretty solid traffic for a 3rd party blog. The fact that you’re reading my blog post now proves my blog is effective in reaching new readers.

3) I personally feature no “official” ads on my website (though occasionally WordPress does use discreet banner ads at the bottom of my posts), as my blog only earns money through sponsored guest blog posts. What that means is my blog isn’t flashing ads like Time Square. If you choose me for the job, visitors won’t be distracted by other companies or products when they read your guest blog post. Instead, they’ll be more focused on your brand.

4) For no additional fee, I am happy to include one of your YouTube videos to further reach your potential customers through yet another social media platform.

5) In most cases, I can have the guest blog post up within 48 hours. I will simply invoice you through PayPal the moment I publish the article, after I email you the blog link.

6) I begin every sponsored post with the proper disclaimer, to make readers immediately aware of our independently contracted business agreement. I play by the rules.

7) My rate is pretty decent; as a legitimate 3rd party independent blogger. I feel that 100 bucks is a good deal for the package I offer.

If you’re interested in moving forward, there are just 3 simple steps. Here’s what to do next:

1) Send me an email to nickshell1983@hotmail.com, including your guest blog draft; ideally between 300 to 400 words relevant to a “family friendly” audience. (Please see the standard set by Superior Honda, 3 Tips for Getting the Best Deal When Buying a Carwhich serves as a useful blog post that readers would choose to read anyway. It’s very clever!)

2) Attach at least one related photo to illustrate your blog post.

3) Include a bio line, which will trace you and your company’s website to my blog. For example, at the end of the guest blog post: “Max is a marketing assistant for Superior Honda, a new and used Honda dealership in Louisiana.

That’s it. From there, I will follow up to confirm when the post will go live. Then I’ll send you the link and a PayPal invoice.

Let me know if I can answer any questions about my services. I am Nick Shell with Family Friendly Daddy Blog and I believe I can help your business.

I Am the Last Cool Person You Know to Finally Get a Smart Phone

Last night I finished the 1989 movie, Back to the Future Part 2, which takes place in the future: October 2015.

I Am the Last Cool Person You Know to Finally Get a Smart Phone

I suppose now that I’m officially living in the future, it’s quite appropriate that I announce that as of last night at 9:01 PM, I am now a smart phone owner.

That makes me the last cool person you know to finally get a smart phone.

At this point, who do you know who doesn’t have one? I literally don’t know anyone in my social circle who doesn’t have a smart phone.

In fact, it’s not unheard of here in the Nashville area to see a homeless man selling newspapers to people stopped at the red lights, but then to see him check his smart phone during the green lights when the cars are no longer stopped in front of him.

I’m not sure how that all works out, but obviously, it only proves how counter-cultural my own lack of a smart phone has made me up until now.

Here’s the truth: I kind of hate smart phones. Actually, if it were up to me (it’s not- it’s up to my wife), I wouldn’t own a cell phone at all.

I Am the Last Cool Person You Know to Finally Get a Smart Phone

Sure, it’s ironic that a blogger with a YouTube channel doesn’t like the idea of always being “connected and plugged in”.

It’s just that I refuse to become another cliché who looks down at my phone to acknowledge another Facebook “like” while you are trying to talk to me, face to face in real time. It’s perhaps my rebellion of that cliche that keeps from wanting to be so connected and plugged in.

After all, a guy I recently met at Whole Foods, Jarrid Wilson, did a blog post that went viral; which addresses this social issue: “Why I Am Getting a Divorce in 2014.”

He’s actually talking about “divorcing” his smart phone.

See, that’s the whole point. I despise the concept of naturally and gradually disconnecting from real life via a smart phone, allowing myself to believe the illusion that what’s going on in my Facebook feed is more important than my family right in front of me.

It reminds me of the 1980 Genesis song, “Turn It on Again”. The protagonist of the song watches TV so much that he begins to get lonely when the characters of his favorite shows aren’t on. I see a parallel with people who constantly check and update social media, via their smart phones:

“I can show you some of the people in my life
It’s driving me mad just another way of passing the day
I, I get so lonely when she’s not there

Turn it on, turn it on, turn it on again
Turn it on, turn it on, turn it on again
I can see another face”

Someone on my Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog immediately asked me last night, after I posted my 1st official Instagram post (featured below), what made me decide to finally get a smart phone.

I Am the Last Cool Person You Know to Finally Get a Smart Phone

Here’s my answer:

After being with Verizon for at least a dozen years, things finally got to the point with where they no longer offered incentives to faithful customers like me to stay; customers who always paid on time; no more free phones, for sure. Those days are gone.

I even walked in to my Verizon store to calmly explain I would be leaving them if they couldn’t provide me a free “dumb phone” to keep my budget the same; since I was nearing the end of my latest 2 year contract.

Verizon sincerely yet simply apologized they could not. I tried.

This time around, it was going to cost just as much to have “regular service” with them, as it would to finally just get a smart phone.

So now my wife and I are with a hilariously named service provider called Puppy Wireless; which is basically a 3rd party that uses Verizon’s towers.

Here’s the one and only part of being a smart phone owner that excites me:

There’s a good chance I can grow my “blog business” because of it.

I now have access to Instagram, which means I am more attractive to Acorn, an influence company I have worked with a little on the side.

For example, I did a project for them earlier in the summer in which I promoted the mobile app game, Best Fiends, by featuring the product in a Jack-Man video I made, in lieu of an Instagram post.

With my Instagram account @nickshellwrites, which is the same as my Twitter handle, I am pretty sure I will find myself with a much steadier stream of blogging gigs through Acorn, which pays me to advertise for their clients.

Also with that in the pipeline, my YouTube channel has finally begun to start making me some money. Plus, in the near future, I will be featuring ads on my blog for Beacon Ads; a Christian company who found my “family friendly” daddy blog to be appropriate for their advertisers.

Over this next year, I am going to really be making a much more conscious effort to make my blog more of a business; not just a hobby.

And as much as I don’t want to admit it, a smart phone can be a great tool to help make that happen.

One of the main reasons I refused to get a smart phone all this time is because I refused to change my budget over it. But if I can make up the financial loss of having to pay for a data plan, not to mention my phone, I suppose it’s worth it if it also leads to me actually making money.

I am a bitter, cheap, old man. I just happen to only be 34 years old.

Sure, I have a smart phone now… but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

Last week I revealed that my wife and I sold our townhouse after it was on the market for just 3 days; for more than our asking price. See Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse… It’s Official! Thank The Lord!

And yes, we made a profit. Today, I would like to highlight what enabled that to happen.

I have to start off with what is, for me, the most obvious part of it: God orchestrated all the events I’m about to talk about.

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#1: We prayed for the right people to find our house. More important than focusing our prayers on our house selling for our personal benefit in our time, we focused on the future buyers being blessed by finding it. That way, they would know our home was the right one once they found it. Here’s an email excerpt from the buyer of our townhouse:

“As for selling points these are the things that really sold us: Open concept, large bedrooms, more bang for your buck with a townhouse versus detached home, safe neighborhood close to entertainment and work, reasonable HOA fees. The extra half bath was also huge; huge garden tub and double vanity in the bathroom.

We looked at 2 others. One was unimpressive and we actually put in an offer on another one that was an end unit. It was a blessing in disguise that we missed out on it because this home really is so much more perfect for us.”

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#2: We had an excellent real estate agent. I have known Dave Stanley with Reliant Reality for most of the time I have lived here in Nashville, since 2005. He is assertive and calculated. He went through the process of figuring out exactly the perfect price point for our model in our neighborhood. We actually received more than our asking price for our townhouse which set a new record for that model in our neighborhood.

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#3: We had kept our house immaculately clean. I mean this as a compliment to my wife: She is obsessed with cleaning to the same degree as Monica from Friends. We don’t smoke, we don’t have pets, and we clean everything weekly. Here is another excerpt from the buyer:

“The fact that [your home] came from what looked like a good family who kept it very clean and up to date was huge. At least 50% of our decision if not more.”

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#4: We staged our home well. It went on the market in October, so we made sure we set out a pumpkin, as well as seasonal flowers, in our staged home. As for the bigger stuff, my dad and I put in a backsplash in the kitchen (seen in the picture above, where I had my smoothie station set up). Not to mention, we painted some of the rooms to bring them to life, but not that same dark red color that most people in the neighborhood used: Another email excerpt from the buyer:

“YES! I totally forgot to mention the backsplash. This was the only house we saw that had a backsplash. That really set the house apart from the rest. I can’t believe I forgot that! It’s one of my favorite features!… We [also] really liked the paint y’all had which made the transition easy.”

5 Reasons Our Townhouse Sold In Just 3 Days

#5: We were debt-free when we put the house on the market. Like most “normal” young couples, we were tens of thousands of dollars in debt for the first several years of our marriage. Thanks to following Dave Ramsey, on our 5th wedding anniversary we official paid off our final debt (as seen when I originally posted about it on my corporately sponsored blog, The Dadabase on Parents.com). That enabled us to be better prepared financially for when we found our new home. Had we not been debt-free, the time would not have been right for us to be able to afford a bigger home when we did; taking advantage of a good deal when we saw it. Additionally, we were able to put our townhouse on the market when the market was ready; not simply just when we were ready.

Hopefully our experience in selling our home in just 3 days for more than the asking price can help you. Individual results may vary.

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Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse… It’s Official! Thank The Lord!

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse... It's Official!

Dear Jack,

The pictures you see here are not totally recent… they are from December 1st, 2014; more than 2 and a half months ago.

I’ve been hinting that we sold our townhouse. But for me, there just wasn’t closure with the story:

We were waiting on a reimbursement from taxes that we accidentally double paid, which ultimately was the profit we made from selling our townhouse.

Well, that check arrived in the mail last week; about three weeks after moving into our new home. Closure has now arrived.

I don’t want to portray this story lightly. I consider it a miracle of God that it happened the way it did:

After just 3 days on the market, our real estate agent, Dave Stanley with Reliant Realty, informed us that a nice young couple bought our townhouse from us. And we didn’t have to simply break even to sell it.

We had been praying that God would bring the right people to our townhouse. I believe God prepared them in their lives to see our townhouse when they did. (And it turns out, all the little upgrades we had been working on, like repainting the walls, and adding the backsplash, actually impressed them. They also liked our clean we kept it.)

To me, this is miraculous because it was mostly wishful thinking on our part that we would actually be able to sell it (especially for a profit) before we moved into our new house.

Dear Jack: We Sold Our Townhouse... It's Official!

I was miserably prepared to become a landlord for the next couple of years.

Instead, we don’t have to worry about it anymore!

Our townhouse was great for what we needed it for when Mommy and I first got married. It was our brand new starter home.

And now, I am so grateful to know it went to a good home.

No, wait… that doesn’t make sense. What I meant to say was, I am grateful to know that our good home went to such good new owners.

I am so happy to be where we are in life. As I’ve said it before, we worked very hard to get where we are today.

It’s not that things are just handed to Mommy and me. But every once in a while, people like us get a break.

And our townhouse selling (for a profit) in 3 days to happy new owners is definitely one of those breaks for us. Thank the Lord!

The townhouse chapter in our life is now complete. Right on time.

Love,

Daddy