7 September 2023, 09:37 CEST — 4 min read

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

First of all, thank you for sharing this! Having turned forty earlier this year myself, and being myself in the process of a major overhaul of my life, I’m rather interested in your perspective (and somewhat amused with the coincidence).

I can’t deny I’m glad to hear of the prospects of you sorting things out so that new podcast episodes keep coming. But I’m even more glad to know that, presented with a choice between the podcast and your wellbeing and happiness, you have been chosing to postpone the podcast. Optimizing for happiness and wellbeing is a tough choice in our overachiever-promoting modern culture, but it’s the only sane one. Yes, you might end up not doing some things you could have done, but there will be other things you do, and you’ll end up doing those much better than you would have otherwise, the net benefit being very noticeable (putting it mildly).

Also, I envy you getting first into running, and now into the exercises — in a good way. I gained quite some weight during the lock-downs, and am so far failing to incorporate the much-needed physical activity into my daily routine. I’m looking forward towards the end of the fall, when my schedule hopefully becomes less tight; meanwhile, your example is firmly among things that keep my spirits afloat.

Still, more than anything I enjoy reading that you’re well and doing good. Thanks again for keeping us in the loop!


Do you want to talk about it? I’d be interested. Do you feel it has something to do with the “magic number 40”?

People really seem to not understand if you do that, though. Or is that just me? For me it might be that I’m also failing at all the goals society has set before me. Having kids, having a big salary, owning a house, saving the planet…

This bears thinking about. Might be a podcast episode in this…

I know it’s hard. I never managed when I was employed. But I have recently learned that having someone you like inspire you can help a lot. I have a friend who has the busiest schedule I know (not kidding). But she loves exercise so much, that she manages to do it almost every single day. This inspires me to no end and makes me not want to slack off. I always hear her voice in my head when I am trying to find excuses not to go to the gym or go running.

If I can do the same for you in a small way, I am happy.

Thanks for this reply. Made my day!

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Why not? My life changes are more on the professional side of things (it’s not yet set in stone, but if things go according to the plan, by the end of the year I will have left both the university and medicine behind).

You know, I think it does, despite the obvious fact that dates are actually arbitrary and don’t mean anything.

You’re hardly a traditional role model, I’ll give you that. But you’re quite an accomplished person in many ways that a lot of people can’t claim they are. In the end, with you in the picture, humanity is much better, and stands a better chance than it would have without you, and I honestly don’t think it’s an overstatement. And the process of internalizing this without slipping into self-righteousness is one of the things our age is about, according to literature. :wink:

I can’t help quoting a song by my favourite singer-songwriter: «Перестань волноваться за судьбы Земли — она много прочнее, чем ты». (Stop worrying about the fates of the Earth, it’s way more durable than you are.)

Right on!


Oh wow! Interesting. I presume you’re going into the private sector?

Interesting. For me, I would not know why it would be that way. For me, the changes that have happened are much more due to the people I’ve been spending time with recently and how they’ve inspired me to change my own life.

I am not joking when I say I regard this as one of the highest compliments I can imagine. :grin:

Wow. I mean. Thank you! Wow. :face_with_peeking_eye:

Anyway, that Grebenshchikov guy looks interesting! I know next to nothing about contemporary Russian music, but his solo stuff and the Aquarium records seem to be on Spotify, so I started giving it a listen. Not that I will be able to appreciate the lyrics…

As an upside, I can listen to this music while I am writing, as I don’t understand a word. That is a bonus! :grin:

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You could call it that, I suppose. :slight_smile: In fact, just before the summer started, I signed up for a half-year half-time software development internship programme at a little IT shop here in Moscow, and it looks like they’ll be willing to offer me a full-time position when I finish (and I think I’ll be willing to accept it).

Well, the actual reasons are, of course, much more substantial. For me, it was a series of events in my life, including (but not limited to) the birth of my daughter, my nothing-short-of-a-miracle COVID survival, my father passing away last year, all the (geo-)political situation full with uncertainty of the future, that put me into this “I can no longer just somewhat passively live on my own life, it’s time I started consciously making every decision to live the best out of it” state of mind. And then the number 40 served as a trigger: “old enough to know who I am, young enough to still be able to grow and adapt, the perfect age to live” — I’d say it was a big part of it.

He’s somewhat of a living legend as far as the Soviet/Russian rock scene goes. Considered ancient and irrelevant by millenials (of course), but rather beloved by public at large. He coined in one of the hymns of the falling of the USSR back in the day («Этот поезд в огне», “This Train Is on Fire”). You missing on the lyrics is a great pity (he’s a big poet, and his ties to the Leningrad absurdist movement make his lyrics even more interesting), but then again, a quote from another Russian singer-songwriter seems to cover it:

Ах, не дели ты с музыкой слова,
Они, как мы с тобой, неразделимы,
И если не сольются воедино,
То лгут слова, а музыка — права.

Don’t you try to separate music and lyrics,
They’re inseparable, just like me and you,
And if they don’t really merge into a union,
The words are lies, and the music is truth.


OK, I also did a life overhaul at 40, but that was also shortly after my son was born and also right after someone gave me Jocko Willink’s book to read. So I’m not sure if it was the magic number, the becoming a parent, or finding a good role model. I suspect a bit of all of that.

I also have to agree with Fab’s point of having a role model that is making the things you want to achieve look more attainable. All to often it is too easy to put things off or think that we can’t achieve them.


Wow! A significant change from medicine, best of luck then!


Oh cool! Good luck with that! I presume you’re taking this step out of passion? I admit I’d be pretty cool to know someone who works at Yandex…

I don’t know if I forgot about your dad or didn’t know about it… Damn, that is a tough thing to happen at our age. Shit. :pensive:

I like your characterisation of the age of 40, though. Thinking about it some more, I feel much the same way, I think.

That sounds like he’s the Russian Springsteen.

As for the lyrics, Russian is probably the language I would want to learn the most. But realistically, I already have too much projects and to-dos for something like that.

:arrow_up: THIS :arrow_up:

Absolutely. And so far, I’m not disappointed.


Excellent news! I love it when people follow their passion. It really is the culmination of one’s life, I feel. I try to support such endeavours whenever I can!

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