I’ve been blessed in this life, and I’m a happy person. A 34 year old father, husband, son, brother, and friend – probably in that order. I enjoy life and enjoy people. I’m a Christian. I care about others – have a soft heart. I’m quite smart. I like to do a good job and work hard. I like and have known material success. I have also experienced loss – materially and otherwise.
In the past 2 years, I’ve done an about-face on personal finance. Used to be, I just made a little more than I spent. I felt fine with that. But as I became a father, I started giving real thought to my priorities and goals in life. I quickly realized that my values didn’t require me to obtain infinite stuff to find happiness. Instead, my happiness is independent of my spending after a certain (low) point. Next realization was that my work gives me some satisfaction, but I could do much better if I didn’t need the paycheck.
So 2 goals came from this:
- Define “Enough” for me (thanks YMOYL). Don’t let Enough be: more than I currently have. This has become a journey into frugality. I would consider myself still a “seeker” here. We’ve cut some expenses, but have plenty more room to learn & apply lessons.
- Enjoy Life now, but seek higher levels of joy in the long term (thanks MMM, BNL, Toxic Success & the Bible). Slow down, pay attention, and value the blessings that I have in life. But also understand the great opportunity to improve my future life – shape my life however I desire!
Coming out of this, our family goal (with me pushing the hardest) is to get to financial independence & “retire” by 2017. Honestly, I think we’re about financially independent now, but we’re building up some cushions and have some large payouts coming from work if I stick around for the next couple of years…some extra contingency.
Me: The Bad
I’ll write articles as if I have the topic figured out, but really its more of a hypothesis and work-in-progress. And many times a fix in one area of life exposes the soft underbelly of another under-performing place. Lest anyone gets the feeling that I have it together or are holier than thou…here is an abridged list of my weaknesses. Plenty of areas for improvement:
- I don’t like being corrected
- I overvalue whatever is in front of me…for instance I end up being late for more important things bc I couldn’t stop talking to someone to not be rude
- I get progressively more annoyed with little repeating things…leading to reactions that are out of scope
- I’m typically overconfident when right
- I have a hard time sticking to longterm goals
- I over-criticize my inaction/missed opportunities in the past (more-so than wishing I hadn’t done something)
- I can be condescending when I think someone is being ignorant, irrational, or thoughtless.
- I pull away during conflict
- I get lazy in spurts. Not a huge problem, but see it in my downtime as well as when I’m working
- I overly value people thinking I’m good at something, or that I have things under control
- I’m not good/comfortable making quick decisions
- I get restless/bored quickly with repetition (except weirdly with food & music)
- I don’t feel comfortable in conflict and try to lighten with comedy too much
- I hold onto grudges too much sometimes and not enough others
- I get scatterbrained when going too fast, and this impacts others negatively
- I don’t compliment enough a job well done.
- I am bad in keeping in touch with people.
- I get socially uncomfortable in new situations with people I don’t know very well
- It all gets worse when I’m tired
Me: The Good
Even with all that, I am generally ok with myself. I even think I’m a pretty good guy. Here are my good points to counteract the tough stuff above:
- I desire to be a good person – husband, father, brother, son, teacher, student, community participant, friend, etc.
- I have aptitude to learn a variety of things quickly
- Achievement is a large motivator of mine. Achievement for achievement’s sake. Doesn’t have to be large things, or even financial.
- I desire to improve myself, understand what I believe, and let myself be improved through my beliefs throughout the years.
- I have a critical mind to discern right from wrong when I pay attention
- I am in decent physical shape
- I am compassionate – don’t like others to get hurt, especially unfairly. I care
- I’m a good listener
- I’m fun (maybe arguable, but I vote yes)
- I have a good sense of humor, decently self deprecating
- I’m not too prideful (I think) – at least don’t think I’m better than others
- I’m rational most of the time
- I try to know myself
- I don’t get self-righteous. I don’t think I’ve figured everything out, and certainly don’t believe I’ve applied all my beliefs to my life.
- I try to see others’ side in a debate.
I think my life will always include dealing with self-created problems and with changing interpersonal dynamics. But by thinking deeply and tweaking my lifestyle, I hope to deal with progressively less-bad problems. I’m happy and thankful to only have the problems I have. But I want to work to minimize these, and focus on even higher level goals.
I write this blog to try to figure out things for myself. I think of it like a journal. With a couple of added benefits.
- The mini-publishing of each post forces me to really give thought to my beliefs, research where needed, and rewrite it until it is (relatively) concise. And believe me, it is quite concise compared with the garbled mess that runs through my head at first. And I am learning a ton through the research.
- I’m pushed through this project to think through various areas of life. In the past I have been content to go through life trying to be generally good, but not worrying about the periphery details. If I have learned anything through this blogging to date, it is that being truly thoughtful is worth the time it takes.
- I could (ultimately) get feedback on my thoughts. I don’t have too many readers to date. Probably comes from changing sites, not publishing many articles, and not being a great writer to start with. But maybe at some point there will be enough the get a decent number of comments and spur critical debate.
- Writing info publicly keeps me more accountable in my daily life to actually live closer to my ideals. I have a huge overarching life-fear of being a hypocrite, so when i write a post containing recommendations/advice, I try to be very careful to try to have applied (or be currently applying) the advice.
So that’s me in a couple of paragraphs and bunch of bullet points. Stick around, and get to know me through some posts too.