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Don’t Forget to Enjoy Life Along the Way

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I have recently confessed to my girlfriend that I review my checking account multiple times per week…sometimes multiple times per day. My thoughts are always consumed by the next opportunity and how it will help me arrive at my next major goal. I swear it’s not an obsession, I am just incredibly focused when it comes to hitting goals that I have set for myself. For instance, I have recently challenged myself to spend zero dollars at the gas station this month. While this seemed like an impossible goal, I might actually be able to make it through this month without worrying about filling the gas tank.

Thankfully, my girlfriend is okay with my seemingly obsessive behavior, but this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take a step back once in a while and evaluate my goals and dreams. Are my aspirations really that important? Do my goals even matter when looking at the grand scheme of life? What truly is important? Certain life events have recently spurred some thoughts on these topics and I thought, “Who better to share my thoughts with than my loyal readers?”

Life and Death

20140619 - love sunsetUnfortunately, cancer has proven to be quite common in my family. My aunt has battled cancer for many years and my cousin has recently passed away from an 8 year battle with cancer. Since I did not have a close relationship with my cousin, I first suspected that it would not have that great of an impact on my overall life, but after the funeral procession I was noticeably angry. Mostly, I was angry with God for taking someone that was so young and had so much left to do on this earth. At the time of her passing she was only 38 years old and unwillingly left her loving husband and 3 beautiful daughters here on earth, not to mention her parents and siblings.

I have since developed more of a peaceful position on this loss, but I still do think about what is important in this life. If you know me at all, you understand that I am incredibly frugal. I have no consumer debts and I will soon have my mortgage paid off (hopefully before the end of 2014). Even with my mortgage expense, I can often live on less than $1,500 per month. But, with all this obsessive saving, some of my friends believe that I am not enjoying life as I should be. Many of them live from day to day and are “enjoying life” now. They have large houses, nice cars, a boat (all on credit of course), and many other items that I would never dream of buying, simply because of the immediate costs. But what if I died tomorrow? What is that I wish I would have done?

What If You Were to Die Tomorrow?

I’m sure you are familiar with the country song titled, “Live Like You Were Dying,” by Tim McGraw. Apparently, the man in the song acquired a fatal disease and knew that he only had a couple weeks left on this earth. So, he quickly decided that he’d better do all of the things he’d always wanted to: skydiving, rocky mountain climbing, bull riding, etc. This sounds great and all, but this song didn’t quite seem to cover everything that would make for a good life. No, I don’t mean that the song was missing water-skiing or bobsledding or any other event that would work its way into the song quite simply. I fully believe that there is something more fulfilling than material possessions or one-off experiences.

It’s Not All About Stuff You Know

Even though I am only 29 years old, I have already discovered that material possessions will not deliver happiness. The high of a new car will only last for a couple of weeks. A new house might only feel special for a month or two. But there is something that is much more long lasting and it is really quite simple: loving relationships and experiences. No matter how lofty your goals are or how important you think it is to achieve them, do not forget about those people close to you. Let them know how much you mean to them and be sure to open up your wallet once in a while to experience life and make memories.

Are you enjoying life along with fulfilling your goals? 

 

Battle of the Mind Money

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

5 Comments

  1. Excellent perspective Derek. One word keeps coming to mind. That word is “balance”. I admire your drive to pay off your mortgage and be more responsible than most 29 year olds, but “balance” should be part of the conversation. Enjoying life is very important. This might look a little different for everyone. A new house or car for someone. A new bike for others.

    • Thanks for the comment Tom. I still feel like I do have balance (my budget helps me spend a little since I have a planned “entertainment fund”), but my fun is often a lower expense than the average Joe, which I think is a good thing. No matter who you are though, I wouldn’t think that stuff wouldn’t make you happy.

  2. When your mindset shifts to security and frugal living, nothing else will satisfy. The thrill of consumerism is gone.

    While others looking on the outside might think you are sacrificing happiness, truth is your mind is happy saving
    for your future. Your friends aren’t there mentally so they don’t understand it. You, on the other hand can’t understand
    how they can be mindlessly happy going in debt for stuff.

    That said, spending time with loved ones, camping, hiking, biking, site seeing, beach walking, or simply sitting on the porch drinking your favorite beverage. That is happiness. 🙂

    I hate to hear your cousin passed so young, leaving behind her family. 🙁 Yet, this should make one want to be responsible with their financial lives. Losing a mate is a grief all on it’s own. Imagine if your finances can’t handle the loss. That makes the loss so much harder emotionally.

    • Great comment Joy! It’s true, I don’t get much satisfaction in buying stuff. For others I sometimes think it’s how they get through their week (ie. they hate their job and need a pick-me-up so they go out and buy a new watch, new car, bigger house, etc.). Thankfully, I mostly enjoy my job and do not have to buy myself objects to keep me happy. Plus, I enjoy saving and giving myself options in life. This will likely result in my early retirement at some point. 🙂


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