Birthday wisdom and turkeys

I read a blog post this past weekend that stuck with me all weekend. Now as much as I love blogs, blogging and all things wordy this is a bit unusual.

It was James Altucher’s piece entitled “Turning 50”.

It was a celebration of life, learning and birthdays and as that birthday is upon me the headline dragged me in.
But what stuck with me all weekend was this:

“One toxic person requires about 100 nontoxic people to make up for them. So better to just be with good people and ZERO toxic people.”

Read that again.


This got me to thinking, as this point in my life how much of it have I wasted on toxic people?

Now I did not go into that with regret and self-incrimination. One of the best things about this birthday is that I realize that baggage is to heavy to lug around on my travels. I can look back and see that I did the best I could with what I had to work with and when I didn’t I learned some valuable lessons.

But thinking about the toxic people I have known and spent way too much time with got me to thinking about just how valuable time is. I spent miserable years in a marriage that was dead and decayed.


I continued to maintain friendships that were obviously a one-way street, but I bought the birthday gifts and licked stamps for Christmas cards.


Mostly fear. I wanted to be loved, liked and not alone. I wanted people to know I was nice, helpful, a worthy person to be friends with. Just being brutally honest here.

Now at 50, I have grown up enough to dump those insecurities and just be me. If that is not good enough, so be it. I like myself now. I know what I need and want.

And here is the true catch of the day: I want you to go ahead and dump your fears, insecurities NOW.
I don’t care what birthday you are facing. 20, 40, 50 or 70 the time is now.

Time and health are our two most valuable possessions and they must be spent wisely. Survival is not selfish.
No matter your age it is time to de-toxify your life.

Cull your herd.

Surround yourself with people who matter. Positive people who want to lift you up.

There is an old saying, “You can’t soar with eagles if you are running with turkeys.”

I love that because where I live I have ample opportunities to see wild turkeys running down the side of the road. Sometimes they are flapping their wings and may even get a bit airborne, but not much. And there are always several of them together.

But I also can sit by the bay and watch the osprey’s soaring. They soar effortlessly, and to watch them fold their wings and dive for fish is a breathtaking sight no matter how many times you have seen it. They strike with surgical precision and rarely come up without the prize.

Think on that for a minute. Would you rather run down the road flapping your wings and getting nowhere, or would you rather soar effortlessly, even if you soar alone?

“one toxic person requires about 100 non-toxic people to make up for them.”

I don’t have the time for all that! And as the birthdays tick on, time becomes an even more valuable commodity. It is the one thing that once spent, cannot be returned or redeemed. Time is a one time only expenditure. Spend it wisely.

So, James, thank you! For “Turning 50” I hope you had a wonderful birthday! I wish you many more toxin free celebrations!


Alana is a nurse with 26 years of experience in caregiving. She is also a copywriter, copyeditor and creative writer who believes our words should always inspire, encourage and delight. Visit her online at

Leave a Reply

Close Menu