I took my kids on a trip.
Two minutes after we got back to the car (parked in pic below), my son started asking “what’s next?”
It was a reminder:
- The world will take as much as you are willing to give (and more than I am capable of sustaining).
- Which is related to “you gotta make choices” (because I can’t do everything).
- And, a reminder that the enjoyment of achieving rarely lasts for long.
- Life is a relative game and meaning is about process.
Relentless positivity is a trait that defined my early 30s.
Somewhere between 2001 and 2021, it’s gone astray.
I’ve been contrasting my life then, and now, to generate ideas.
Ideas about how to shift a persistent dissatisfaction that’s been stalking me and impacting my family.
Money: inflation-adjusted, my cash burn is up 6x in the last 20 years.
Family net worth is up more than that. So technically, I’m more secure. I don’t feel that way.
What I do feel, when periodic dissatisfaction comes, is my life experience is not worth what I pay for it.
A friend summed it up well, “the money just goes.”
Put another way, for every $1 I spend on something useful, another $5 goes out the door.
Flip back 20 years and I was living on a 1/10th of my current cash burn. This points towards a couple things:
- More spending is unlikely to be the answer, to anything.
- Financial security has a significant state-of-mind component.
My current life feels overpriced, and satisfaction is inelastic to spending increases.
I can’t spend my way out of these feelings!
Time: I am 20 years older, with more requests on my time.
This is really interesting to me. As I age, my concerns for financial security could be coming from a sense of my own mortality. Hopefully, a theme of the next 20 years will be making peace with that reality.
An entertaining part of the my life 20 years ago was how much time I spent completely blown out from low heart rate exploring.
Exhaustion, absent external demands, feels quite serene (see pic above).
Exhaustion, with noise and relentless external demands, is awful. I gave up exhaustion, as a coping strategy, when I lived with preschoolers.
I may have swung the pendulum too far away from getting tired.
Get Outside: I’m guessing there’s a “cabin fever” effect on my positivity-to-dissatisfaction ratio.
The last 17 months is the most time I’ve spent indoors in the last two decades. I think cabin fever will doom work-from-home for many.
Turns out, there’s a lot of emotional utility from getting outside my house.
Do what solves the problem.
Our youngest is outstanding at this approach.
Be kind, don’t sweat the rules and do what solves the problem.
On the summit before most folks hit the parking lot.
Pay attention to better.