Today we have a treat with a post from my wife. I thought it might be interesting for people to see life in the household from my better half’s perspective. I hope you enjoy it, and please do leave feedback and ask questions.
Do you find yourself focusing more on the future than living in the moment?
Now that my husband and I are getting closer to the finish line for early retirement, we find ourselves spending more time talking about the future and plotting new ways to arrive at the finish line sooner. Consequently, I’ve noticed we are spending less time living in the moment.
Perhaps we spend more time thinking about the future because it gives us the impression that we have some control over what will happen. To be present in the moment, we have to face reality – and if we aren’t exactly where we want to be, this can be uncomfortable. Or, maybe we are simply being impatient.
Obsessing about the future
I think spending too much time thinking about the future can lead to dissatisfaction with where we are right now. Can we learn to accept our current situation, or will we always be trying to change things? When is enough, enough?
I wonder if we will ever get to a point where we feel completely comfortable that we are ready to retire from our jobs. Will we know we are “there” when:
- we have enough money saved up?
- we are able to let go of the illusion that being employed equals security?
- we are ready to put our physical and mental health before material things?
- we are okay to stop working even if 100% of our debt isn’t paid off?
When is enough, enough? Is it realistic to assume we will never acquire debt again? There is no doubt marketing does influence us to think we need “more” as well as society influencing us to “keep up with the Joneses”.
Focusing too much time on money matters
Eliminating debt is important and certainly can bring happiness. However, focusing on other priorities such as health, family, friends, or having a hobby can also bring happiness. My husband and I are consciously working toward balancing our lives by incorporating other topics of conversation than just how to get out of debt. We can now recognize when we are going around in circles but not really coming up with new ideas. If we are not conscious of this, much of the weekend can slip by while exhausting strategies to pound down debt sooner. Going for a hike, watching a movie, having a nice meal together, or reading a good book can help keep things in perspective.
Another way we try to keep life balance is through planning our monthly and six-month goals. We create multiple categories: mental, financial, emotional, spiritual, and physical. This exercise points out areas of our life that we are neglecting. For example, if I haven’t focused enough on my spiritual goal to meditate once a week, usually my emotional state suffers with more stress and anxiety. If I am less stressed, then my physical goal to eat healthier generally improves. There seems to be a chain reaction. What is also amazing is that when we renew our goals, we notice that we achieve just about everything that we wrote down. Just the act of writing it down can have wonderful results. Also, adding emotion and passion to a goal seems to give it more power.
Enjoy the journey AND the destination
I think the more we can accept where we are right now and find balanced ways to create our own personal happiness, the path to financial independence will become that much more fulfilling. I really think once we get THERE we will be faced with similar dilemmas of wanting more and maintaining balance in our lives.
I have found Eastern philosophy and spirituality helpful in teaching me how to embrace living in the moment. Here is a particular article, Mindfulness: Finding Joy in the Present Moment, from The Enthusiastic Buddhist website, which you may find helpful.