I flew out to San Diego to have a chat with a friend.
I had a hunch he’d come up with something and he delivered via a well-timed question.
What would that look like?
At the time, I was stuck talking about everything other than what I was going to do about my life.
Put another way, I was talking about what life was doing to me… rather than what I was going to do with my life.
So here goes.
Last time, I outlined what better would look like in my marriage.
Scheduling time for our three “weeklies.” Six hours a week plus a 20-minute planning meeting => huge return on time invested.
This has been great and I have noticed a useful change in my thinking. After a month of rolling our weeklies, my thinking shifted towards my actions to improve my life.
With better thinking I noticed…
Time => this year I added 800 annual hours of driving to my life, without noticing!
Two schools across town, birthday parties, swim meets, swim workouts, jiujitsu, climbing… throw in dishwashing, laundry and picking up clutter… 2021 is up over 1,000 annual hours of s*** work.
Why would anyone learn to take care of themselves when they are offered catering, limo rides and daily maid service at their beck and call?
Have you ever quantified the dead miles from your commute? We are making 450 trips per school year. At 7.2 miles per round trip it is 3,240 miles. Tack on after school activities and we’re over 5,000 miles.
But wait, there’s more… cut cleaning AND driving => downsize into a place that is walking distance from where my kids will be going to school for the next TEN years.
Having lived through the challenges of running a 6,000 sf house, then a 5,000 sf house… I’d like to pull 2,500 sf out of our footprint, while reclaiming 5,000 hours over the next decade.
1//. I wasn’t able to see until I settled my mind to the point where I noticed how my time was being spent.
2//. When I am too busy, I get caught blaming the situation, rather than guiding the situation to a better outcome.
To notice, consider then act appropriately… I need empty space in my life.
Side note for my real estate pals — I’m all set, no need to drop me a line. 😉
Something else I realized about time…
I have no more than 1,500 days left to directly impact my kids.
Somewhere beyond 2025, they are going to stop listening to me as they transition to adulthood.
So I’m going to make time for 1-on-1 trips, my best forum.
Another story, this time about spending.
Just before the pandemic, my identity was stolen. It was stolen to the point where someone was able to call up my bank and get the bank to believe they were talking to me.
Huge pain in the rear. Not because I lost any money. More because I had to change every single thing I could to lock the buggers out — that took time.
Things have settled down but my security protocol means that my watch buzzes every time a nickel leaves my life. This has gradually made me miserable!
Recently, my watch died and the buzzes stopped.
It was wonderful.
I’m going to shift all notifications off my body.
Back to those 1,500 days with the kids. Why are we doing this?
I want my kids to be equipped with the skills to self-direct their lives.
Because if you lack these skills then you run a much greater lifetime risk of being abused – literally, figuratively and financially.
A key value of knowing the why, is being able to discard the noise that surrounds us… politics, markets, crypto, workplace drama, status anxiety…
Also, consider the noise that surrounds parenthood… popularity, college admissions, athletic performance, academic performance, status anxiety, unresolved childhood trauma (being addressed via proxy)…
If the goal is to enable a child to self-direct their life then much of the above can be jettisoned. This enables the family to focus on things that could prove useful…
- Getting along with difficult people
- Knowing when not to engage
- Letting others be wrong
- Building marketable skills
- Modeling the capacity to live within one’s means
- Daily movement in nature
- Understanding, then avoiding, ruin
- Absence of addiction, abuse, disease, ill-health
So the filter I am using with regard to my kids is… is this a reasonable constraint on my time to up-skill them?
My driving and housework are beyond reasonable, which means I’m not doing my best work with the useful.
To fully answer my friend’s question, “how would that look?” I need to get specific with regard to myself. I need to own the actions required to improve.
Say “yes” more often => people who are good at building capital (and fitness) receive an uncommon pleasure from deferring joy. Improving my yes-no balance requires a mental adjustment.
To create the space for better thinking, I’m going to spend 3-5 days exploring, in nature, tech-lite, each month in 2022. I failed to pull this off in 2021.
Something I learned 30 years ago, “there’s always a good reason to postpone the vacation.” In 2020 & 2021, there were many good reasons to say no to myself. Keeping myself far away from the urge to dismantle my family life is a good reason to say yes to creating some space.
Keep iterating towards better.