An excellent and relevant post at MyMoneyBlog, today.
Life Planning Exercise: Creating My Perfect Day
I have so many thoughts about this, I wouldn't know where to begin.
Of course, this exercise was an idea from Guillebeau's book, "The Art of Non-Conformity"
"The underlying message of Guillebeau's book, based on his popular blog, is that "You don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to." Those who are open-minded, ready to challenge the status-quo, hard-working, and personally responsible can lead lives of rare authenticity through radical goal-setting..."
Okay, so I have GOT to read this book. My curiosity is definitely piqued.
Anyway, my perfect day? That is an exercise that needs some thought and care. Something I will definitely meditate on some time after tax season.
I think this is a GREAT exercise and one that should be done often. I can't help but notice that life changes rapidly and humans have a tendency to think the grass is greener. As much as I feel in touch with what is truly important to me, I have found over the years that sometimes I was wrong, or things changed very quickly. Instead of making New Years' resolutions, maybe it makes sense to reflect on what our perfect day is, and how much that ideal may have changed from the year prior. Food for thought.
I was thinking about it because what I have been wanting more than anything is just some down time at home. Interestingly, I got that opportunity after my surgery. I felt great for about 100% of my time at home, recovering. But, I did not feel like there were enough hours in the day. I just felt like I more easily wasted more hours in the day. Suddenly, instead of planning summer vacation at home, not doing anything (which I always TRY for), we now have 2 vacations planned. Time home sounds nicer than it really is, to me. In more recent years when the kids were little, it meant more and I needed the time to accomplish more. But, the kids are at school and I have plenty of leisure time. I don't really need MORE.
Likewise, I have tried to warn other women about the lure to be home with their kids. Never felt it with my eldest, but had a harder time with child #2. There was a year or two in there that I felt a strong pull to be able to work part-time and be home more.
Those times? Dead and gone. My kids get home from school about 4:00 - I get home at 5:00. I am the type person who is far more productive and happy with a schedule and a job to go to. More time at home means little to me at this point in my life.
Just, don't turn your lifetime upside down for a pull that will only be there a short time, is all.
On the flip side, dh and I are very practical hard workers. It was only once we were ready to have kids that dh could put aside a well-paying job to pursue something lower paying or less "responsible." Between this mind shift, and all we have gone through these past few years on the medical front, we have come to a much deeper understanding about what is truly important to us. By the same token, when he first stopped working, we had a very limited income. As my income has grown over the years, we have made an effort to reflect on what was truly important, and how to best allocate that money. I honestly can't tell you what has made us think more - finite resources, or more time. Both, I guess.
As such, though I haven't sat down and planned out a "perfect day, hour by hour," my spouse and I have spent a lot of time reflecting about what is important to us, and how we want to live our life, these past 10 years or so.
Things that are important to me and that I do keep top of mind:
**Sleep - I value my sleep so much. Nothing gets in the way of a good night's sleep.
**Exercise - I know regular exercise elevates my mood. Exercise in the a.m. will improve my day ten-fold.
**Weather - I prefer to live in a mild climate, with lots of sun. My work schedule kind of works around the weather nicely. (i.e. summers are by the pool after work - many perfect swimming hours. Mornings and evenings usually pleasant for exercise/walks. The days are hot and suck, but then I am happy to be inside with the A/C. Winters are not my favorite - but that's when work is busy - so just kind of works).
**Quality of life - I don't do traffic and I don't do crowds. I think I have made that abundantly clear in my blog.
**Work - I prefer NOT to work at home, but somewhere close to home. This may seem idealistic, but I have always lived a few minutes from my office, and spend many lunch hours at home. These days I get nice lunch dates with my husband - with the kids in school. LOVE it. I personally can not stand to mix home and work. Work is work. Home is home. Completely separate. I do better at my job that way. I do better with my family that way. The boundaries are clear.
I prefer little supervision, and I'd be happy to not talk to anyone all day.
That said, being self-employed does not appeal to me in the least. (I have been self-employed and I hated it!)
What I really like about my job, besides all the numbers (which I LOVE), is the feeling of appreciation and really helping people. (Even if I have to talk to people more than I would like!)
Though my current job is amazing, this would describe most any job I have worked. I have many positive work experiences, and so know clearly what I want and what I don't want.
I am fine working 8 hours a day. 4 days a week might be nicer than 5, but I think it runs a bit "the grass is greener." Not sure it would actually make me much happier. I actually find since I work extra during tax season that 9-5, 5 days a week, feels very leisurely to me the rest of the year. When it is light out until 8pm, I am happy as a clam. I wake up early, hit the gym, take the kids to school, work, and have 3 hours daylight left to enjoy at the end of the day (lounge by the pool a few hours, go for a bike ride?). That's when life is good!
**I don't want my life bogged down by chores. So I hire out chores that I absolutely can not stand (yard work) and dh and I share in the other household duties - to our strengths and preferences. Thus, neither of us spends much time doing things we don't want to do.
**Kids - spending quality time with our kids is everything. When they are grown, that time will be replaced with more time to volunteer, grandkids (I hope), etc. As much as our kids are everything, I know that there has to be something else, for the long haul. This may be one reason working less doesn't overly appeal to me.
An excellent and relevant post at MyMoneyBlog, today.