A Wayward Achiever Rediscovers an Old Interest – Piano

The Problem

I’ve been floundering a bit in my effort to get on track. Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit depressed over a lack of direction and passion. I’m typically driven by goals and results, and with a total absence of either, I’ve felt aimless.

I imagine most people feel motivated to work hard as a matter of survival. The rat race provides the traditional model of motivation, by dangling material rewards in exchange for time and effort. But we’ve graduated beyond the rat race. We’ve reduced our desire for material goods and, at the same time, ensured we have a sufficient level of financial independence to not work.

We’re at a point where we are staring out at an abyss. This is what has gotten me depressed lately. I have just been feeling down and not really interested in things that I typically like. My wife has noticed too. The gloomy weather and near-constant rain has not helped either. Were it not for the weather, I might try playing golf or taking photos outside to counteract my mood.

At the core, I think my problem is I don’t know what’s in store. I’m not driving toward anything, but I want to because I enjoy that feeling of achievement and accomplishment. It is fulfilling to me. And in the absence of any fulfillment, I end up feeling depressed. Continue reading “A Wayward Achiever Rediscovers an Old Interest – Piano”

Brainstorming My Future Using a Mind Map

I’ve been feeling a little restless in my downtime as I try to wind down my sabbatical. Since 2017 has only just begun, I thought it would be good to create a mind map as a brainstorming tool. A mind map is a visual representation of an idea — in my case, the activities I want to engage in this year — that can help the brainstorming process. I hope preparing a mind map will help me set some goals for 2017.

Mind map example

In How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, Ernie Zelinski proposes a similar idea (that he calls a Get-a-Life Tree) to help retirees get a handle on how to spend their free time. Continue reading “Brainstorming My Future Using a Mind Map”

Thrive in a Capitalist Society By Understanding It First

As we consider our next steps, I’ve been thinking a lot about our choices that led us to pursue financial independence. In order to give a better perspective on how we got to where we are, I wanted to share my views about our capitalist economic system and its accompanying societal pressures. You have to recognize how the capitalist system works before you can make it work for you. Continue reading “Thrive in a Capitalist Society By Understanding It First”

Introduction to Charting Our Path — Standing at the Crossroads

We are a couple in our mid-30’s who achieved financial independence by working hard, climbing the ladder, and saving as much as we could. We live in the S.F. Bay Area and would like to stay here for at least the next few years.

We decided to leave our full-time careers a year ago, despite starting to make a good amount of money by anyone’s standards. There was a certain sense of diminishing returns as the extra money wouldn’t necessarily give us more freedom, rather enable us to buy us more stuff (and incur the associated obligations), which we did not want.

At the time, we wanted to travel and experience freedom in the truest sense of the word. We checked that box and learned a lot about ourselves along the way.

Sign crossroads directions

So here we stand at the crossroads of life with an unprecedented opportunity to chart our futures. There are several factors we need to consider as we move forward. Continue reading “Introduction to Charting Our Path — Standing at the Crossroads”