Tag Archives: philosophy

Monday 110: Struggles

Monday, 29 May 2017

This month, for me, has been a bit of a struggle.  It has been a long work month, and a month filled with getting things fixed.

The Acura needed to be fixed, to the tune of $1700.00, which took a lot of money out of “the plan” –  the plan to pay off debt, to continue to save, and to move forward toward greater financial independence.  It has been a month seemingly filled with niggling expenses, little needs, big needs, but nothing especially rewarding other than the fact we at least have the money to do what needed doing.  That feels good – being able to afford these things.

What I don’t like is the fact I could not meet our intended goals for the month.  In other words, life got in the way!  When I think about it, perhaps work has been the problem this month, rather than our economics . . . ?

Work has been filled with intensity – getting things prepped for one big day, and a day which I did not thing was worth the effort.  It was a waste of time and energy and focus – too much focus.  There were a lot of other things which could have been done, things which, in my opinion, could have better served those involved.

Now I am feeling burned out and even more desirous of a change in my job, but that is not going to happen.  I have too much invested here, and at my age, no desire to find another place to be.  I really like where I work – I am just not really happy with some things.  I don’t know if I could change anything at present.  Even changing my work schedule is not really possible.

In reality, this is a conundrum.  I would love to be able to retire now, but that is not what I want, because I want to meet certain financial goals.  Maybe a year earlier than planned?  Sometimes, I think my job is killing me, and that’s when I have to fight it in creative ways, and for the past two weeks, creativity has been non-existent.  Time to return to the part of my life which is my life saver.

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Monday 162: Connections

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Monday, 23 May 2016

I like aphorisms, which are, according to the online Merriam-Webster dictionarya short phrase that expresses a true or wise idea.  This includes things like “laziness looks attractive, but work gives satisfaction,” “efficiency is intelligent laziness,” “make hay while the sun shines,” and so on.

What is this all about?  It is about using one’s life, one’s time on this planet, in a way which after all is said and done, can be looked upon with satisfaction, not a series of “I should have” . . .

This past weekend was a big family birthday party to celebrate our sister-in-law’s mother’s 85th birthday.  When I first met this family, I felt as if I had come home . . . there was, and still is, an openess to bring anyone into the family, whether or not related by blood, but simply related by friendship.  In the years I have known this family, it has become my own.  There is acceptance, warmth, and love.  My own immediate family did not have this, so at first I could not believe this was real, but after years of seeing this, I know it is real, and it is what I hope to leave behind myself.

All of this requires a bit of work.  Not hard work in the sense of blood, sweat and tears, but work in the making of an effort to keep connections alive.  We, in our own family, do not tend to do this that well.  We tend to be wary, not sure if we are wanted, not sure if we are imposing, and so on.  What causes this?  Can it be changed?

Right now, I don’t care whether I know what caused it or not, but what I do want to do is to change how we live.  I want to bring into our own small family more community, more of the village that raises children and family and provides glue at a level which is psychological and emotional.  More and more in our society we see this fragmenting, see it disappearing in preference for computers and devices and the virtual world because its escapism is addicting and so much easier to face than the challenges of daily life.

As I approach retirement, I know I will lose the community represented by my job.  I am not especially close to any of my colleagues, but I could develop social connections heretofore avoided.  I can revisit friendships I have let slide because of a nasty work schedule.  Within my own family, this village can be rebuilt and nurtured, regardless as to the past . . . but it will take work and a conscious and conscientious change of habits, just as rethinking of finances and spending does.  Rumi said, “Whatever you seek is seeking you,” is perhaps an easy way to sum it up, as is “Seek and ye shall find.”  What this means is look, focus.

I have been pondering this question for the past several weeks, and realized within myself I have a longstanding sense of dissatisfaction because I have a difficult time staying focused on one thing.  I am scattered into myriad interests, and the result is I can do many things, but perhaps not do anything especially well.  I want to be more focussed.  I want to master some things more than others, but I do not want to wait until I am retired.  My work-life balance is not satisfactory . . . and while we do have financial goals, the personal goals have been falling more and more to the wayside.  With The Student graduated, our own inner circles as a family can become a new village  . . .

Monday 176: Entertainment

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Monday, 15 February 2016

With the focus of getting things paid off, what do you do when your family wants to get together and do something?  Me, I say family is important . . . so go along with it, and reciprocate when you can.  It is not the cost – it is the connection.  People do not live forever, so it is important to have memories, even if they fall outside of “the budget.”

A couple of weekends ago, my in-laws suggested a whale watching excursion in the local channel.  We agreed, knowing they would not expect us to pay them back.  We decided that we would pick up the tab for pizza once home.  With 5 people paid for out of their let, it seemed only fair to pick up the tab.  And so we did.  However, I will admit I was rather surprised, but not surprised, by the final bill.

Entertainment does not have to cost much.  Most of the time, our entertainment is free.  We take the dogs out for walks, watch movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime (we do pay for those every month), and play board games.  Sometimes we take a long day trip (gasoline costs money) to see a favorite or new part of the world.  Or visit friends.

Our hobbies are also our entertainment.  The other half likes brewing beer, building rockets, and a few other things.  Yes, there is cost.  For me, entertainment includes photography, hiking, and various rather artsy-craftsy things.  Costs are here, too.  These costs are usually rather minimal, but sometimes they do get expensive.  However, hobby costs are factored in every month as we both know sorta what we might need.  For instance, in beer brewing, there is always a need for fresh yeast – $10.00 or so – and perhaps some specialty malt.  Maybe another $10.00.  Having a roll of colored film developed only is $5.00.  Not a biggy, either.  The big costs are usually hardware based, such as working on a new brew rig.

The expression “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is very true.  Being dull is being bored and boring.  Why yawn your way through life when you can sing and dance or chase butterflies for a few bucks?

Monday 177: Health

Health

Monday, 8 February 2016

Most people take health for granted until something shakes them up.  Then, there may motivation for change to improve the situation, or there may be a succumbing to despair and giving up.  Overall, I think most people prefer to try to overcome whatever limitations they may have to face, but in reality of truly hard work, it becomes easier to give in.

Health comes in many forms.  Mostly we think in terms of physical health, but there is also mental, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, financial, environmental, and others.

For me, financial health has never been a big issue.  Mostly, I have chosen to ignore it and be like Scarlett O’Hara – “tomorrow is another day.”  Tomorrows, though, eventually become today.  That is now why I am forcing myself to write here once a week, whether or not anyone reads a word.  The point is to keep me focused on my goals.  I will never be a Ramsey gazelle, but I will be the plodding tortoise.

Mental health is very important.  How we perceive the world – whether true or false – impacts our perception of our own abilities.  If we feel the world is against us and we are victims, we have an external locus of control – someone else is always why we cannot do things.  An internal locus of control means we believe we can do something.  It also means taking responsibility for our own lives and decisions.

Emotional health is a big variable, it seems, as our emotions fluctuate throughout the day.  Here is where mental health plays a big part, and our sense of control.  The truth is emotions are not rational – but they can be thought about.  Too often no one is there to help an individual think about feelings – sorting them out, analyzing them, figuring out what the cause of the emotion (negative,usually) and the effect (behavior).  Money is a big emotion for many . . . I know for me it was as money was always a secret, as well as a sign of success or failure.  I was always the failure.

Spiritual health goes beyond the emotional and physical content of our worlds.  For some, organized religion comprises the spiritual.  For others, a philosophy or set of ethics.  What these do, I think, is to provide us with guidelines, a sense of our place in the universe, as well as a sense of our own unimportance and importance in the big picture.

There are many kinds of health.  Each one impacts us.  Their impact is felt at different times and in different ways.  The key is what we choose to do – to consciously choose to do.  And one thing to remember is that choices can be changed – all too often if one thing fails, we believe we have failed, but in reality, it is just a message to try something again, and differently.  It keeps the adventure of life interesting!