Reflections

This is going to be a different kind of post.  For those who come here expecting commentary on my investing activity you will be sorely disappointed.  I will try to tie it into why we invest, but I make no promises.

Wednesday Dividend Mantra had a nice reflective post on why he continues to work and save: to one day enjoy beautiful days without work taking away from it.  It reminded me of the balance I have been trying to find this summer: enjoying today while planning for tomorrow.

After reading his post I thought for a while about how many todays I’m willing to sacrifice at the expense of a comfortable tomorrow.  How do I balance the want/needs of the Mike today versus those of the Mike tomorrow?

I recently purchased a motorcycle.  I’ve wanted one for sometime, but had never learned to ride.  A friend of mine was selling his and I figured it was a good chance to get a small beginner bike at a decent price.  I have not been disappointed.  In my first month of motorcycle ownership I logged 2064 miles.  Riding is a beautiful thing and brings great joy to my life.

Last night I had my first accident.  A dog ran out in front of me and I hit it.  It dismounted me from my bike and other than some road rash and busted up hip, I think I will be ok.  Any accident you walk away from is a good one in my book.   This post is being written early in the morning with a nice bourbon buzz and a brain permeated with the effects of pain killers.  The reader has been warned.

The fragility of life is nothing new to me.  My line of work has brought me in contact with the newly dead as well as those who have been dead for some time.  I’ve seen children die and the elderly come to the end of their life.  I’ve watched peaceful deaths and deaths come in moments of tragedy, souls given up too soon.  Last night wasn’t a near death experience for me.  I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes or anything quite so dramatic.  I did have a strong urge to talk to the ones I love most and an almost instantaneous realization of what truly matters to me.  Pain brings an instantaneous recognition that you are here, that you exist and for the time being you will continue to do so.  I am hurt, but not injured.

WAKE UP!!!    You and I are much more than our saving rate, dividend checks or net worth.  Life is temporal and we dishonour it most when we insist on making it permanent.  I’m not suggesting we all go out and spend our saving on whatever.  I merely suggest we find balance in preparation for tomorrow with the enjoyment of today.  Our days are numbered.

Stop.  Take stock of your life at this point.  Are you happy?  Are you happy to a degree that reflects the fact that at this moment you exist, you, mere human that you are, have come into existence for a brief amount of time.  What will you do with it??????

May your days be long and your enjoyment run deep…

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7 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Great post.

    I agree with you. We are more than savings rates and dividend checks.

    However, the above will also lead one to freedom. Freedom to do as one pleases and live life the way they really want.

    For me, I have come to the realization that living frugally is no longer a means to an end. It is the end. I find great satisfaction now in life itself.

    The only negative aspect in my life now is work, and the 50 hours per week it drains from my precious sands of time. The less of it I can trade for goods and services now, the more I’ll have of it later to spend how I choose.

    Just my thoughts. Glad to hear you’re okay after the motorcycle accident. I had a near-miss myself earlier this year and it’s quite a scary moment.

    Best wishes!

    • DM,

      “For me, I have come to the realization that living frugally is no longer a means to an end. It is the end.” I too have found that being frugal is more of a lifestyle than just a means. What I wanted to express in this post is developing the ideas of whether we need ” 50 hr” work weeks. There are two variables at play here. Maximize funds now to live off of in the future and decreasing expenses. I’m wondering, ” How low can expenses go now so that I don’t need to work 50hrs a week?”

      I believe that in nature there is a certain amount of work required to sustain an organism. Man has to “work” to sustain himself. Food, shelter, clothing. That is it. Some how or another over the course of the industrial revolution our needs became easily satisfied. The balance for what man needs became basterdized for a profit motive. I’m starting to get into some hairy issues here. For my own situation I’m trying to figure out a way of needing less and thereby avoiding the need for 50hr work weeks now or later. It is a work in progress.

      Always great to hear your ideas DM. It is what makes blogging so enjoyable!

      Have a great Monday!!

  2. Glad you are ok after the motorcycle accident, scary! I agree with you on life balance, it’s important to find joy now, because it could all end tomorrow. But I agree with DM, I find enjoyment in living simply and frugally (though not as frugal as some, but it works for us). I also enjoy my job, sure there are days that I don’t feel like going and would rather enjoy the outdoors, but I appreciate my situation, I know it could be way worse, I am daily thankful.

    • MSS, If you have found joy in the now while you plan for tomorrow, you have indeed found the balance I’m advocating. Well done. For some, and I’m one of the “some”, we tend to go to extremes. The problem with extremes is that they are usually unsustainable.

  3. Stoic,

    Sorry to hear about your accident, that’s a real bummer. Glad to hear you’ll be okay.

    This was a great post, very thought provoking. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about whats important to me. This reflection lead me to significantly increase fun money as well as vacation money when I created a new budget. In the past I’ve tried socking away everything I made and found it to be too much of a burden. I felt the sacrifice was too high and that I would be willing to work longer in order to enjoy the present a bit. Its important to me to be able to cut loose, go out to restaraunts/bars and generally be able to do things I think will be fun. For me it’s all about finding the right balance but it also depends on how much you like your job. I enjoy traveling very much which works out well being in the military. I’ve gotten the chance to go to parts of the world I would have otherwise never been able to see.

    I think at some point you can be too frugal and miss out on a lot of experiences. Then again what suits me might not suit you. It’s very personal. Consciously choosing not to save is not necessarily a bad choice as long as you understand why you’re doing it.

    Good luck with the recovery.

    CI

    • CI, Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Balance is key in all things. I’m always hesitant about exchanging too many of our todays for an expected tomorrow. This doesn’t mean I advocate people living for today as it is typically envisioned. Enjoy each day and pursue the things that are most dear to you. Plan for tomorrow, but don’t piss away the now in pursuit of a future that may or may not come. I know this it sounds like a “live for the day” argument, but it’s not. I’m just not able to properly articulate what I’m wanting to share this morning. More coffee is needed…

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