After binge reading my go to personal finance (pf) sites, I generally feel a sense of reinvigoration to make course corrections, big or small, in my financial decisions. At the very least, I live vicariously through internet pf comrades that will soon or have already reached financial independence in their 30s and 40s.
These past few days have been different though. I’ve felt a worrying sense of ennui. I don’t want to retire to the woods. In fact, most outdoor activities lie somewhere at the bottom of my list of things to do for fun. Allergies to most trees, grass, pollen, dander and mosquitoes will do that. I don’t own a bike and haven’t ridden one since an unfortunate tumble in the fifth grade left me with a chin full of stitches and scratched up knees and hands.
Aside from the errant ksl purchase (my car, computer, and an old couch), I’ve never bought anything second hand. I am not an engineer nor a manager, mid level or otherwise. Neither is the husband. Our combined income is modest compared to the pf folks I’ve been reading. I once tried to ask for a raise and got so nervous I sabotaged myself and only received pitying looks from my supervisor.
The husband and I don’t own any rental properties nor do we feel inclined to do so in the future. We have never maxed out our 401ks. We break most of the things we try to fix ourselves. We are picky eaters and I can’t stand the taste of rolled oats. I don’t want to eat rice and beans for lunch every day. I like eating meat. I like eating out. I like consuming entertainment. I enjoy the occasional vacation to places far outside my zip code.
I like my new house and the pretty things in it. I would like to put more pretty things into it. I went this morning to a yoga studio of which I’ve maintained an almost 8 year patronage. I also got my eyebrows threaded and I buy fancy shampoo.
This listing feels incomplete but long enough. Confessing even a fraction of my excuses/complaints makes me feel a little better though. As I look through all of this whining, I am struck with one clear thought. I have a good life. I could keep at this pace, with these habits and be fine. The husband and I save around 40% of our net income. We have no revolving debt besides our mortgage. We both have secure jobs with adequate benefits and cheap commutes.
What I need to do to shake out of this funk is stop reading what everyone else is doing, and find what’s going to work for me. What do I want?
- I want to be able to raise a family without being paralyzed with worry over money or spending too much of it.
- I want to have more mindfulness in the activities I pursue and the decisions I make.
- I want a financial safety net to help me be brave and overcome my more practical/realist/boring sensibilities.
I’m still working on it.