Boy, we really started in the deep end there, but you really don’t know anything about me yet. So, let me introduce myself to you by telling you what drives me:
A while ago, I sat down and wrote out the ten things I want to do with my time, and I keep these visible near my desk to serve as motivation for my progress toward financial independence. I’ll present them to you here, in no particular order:
- Sleep! It may seem silly, but I feel my best when I’ve gotten enough rest and wake up naturally after the sun comes up. I rarely get this luxury now, but this is key to my emotional well-being, and I intend to do it more when I’m able to arrange for it.
- Spend time with friends and family. Cliche, but hanging out with the people I like, eating, drinking, talking, playing games, being merry – an evening spent with friends is never an evening wasted. I particularly love hosting dinner parties with fancy food and tasty wine, which brings me to..
- Cooking! By no means am I an amazing chef, but the blood and endless swearing are all worth it when I can put together a delicious meal around which friends can gather to talk the night away. I don’t do as much cooking as I’d like, but we’re building a large and inviting kitchen in the new house, and I fully anticipate doing more as the years continue.
- Write cookbooks. I like the thought of sharing some of the particularly-wonderful recipes I’ve made, as well as some of the Valentine’s Day menus I’ve put together, but I’m currently working on gathering Russian family recipes, both to keep for myself and to distribute to far-flung cousins.
- Take care of home and garden. I am slowly learning to insource household maintenance, and this will turn into a large learning experience for me*, as the house we are buying is not new, and we already have a long list of renovation projects to complete. I am also very interested in composting and growing my own fruits and vegetables, so expect some information sharing as I start learning to garden and drip-irrigate raised beds.
- Read. I used to read all day and night, but that stopped once I entered the working world. A couple years ago, I picked up a Kindle with my slush fund, and I’ve slowly started reading again. It’s always nice when I have (or take) time to read. I’m a big fan of high fantasy.
- Travel. I’ll talk about this a bit more in a future post, but I love vacations and travel – though I’m happy to stay home for a while after all the travel we’ve been doing recently.
- Exercise. This is actually split out into three different items for me: biking, running, and weight exercises. For a little over a year, my wife and I have been getting more into biking, and I’m very excited about all facets of it. I also ran a 5K a couple years ago, and I want to build up to run a (specific) half marathon. I don’t currently do any weight exercises, but they’re on the list because of the health benefits; I think that adding them would add a lot to my life and increase what my body can do.. but I’ll admit that they’re the last thing on this list I actually want to do.
Not only are these the goals that motivate me, they are also the activities that I try to use to fill my time. It’s taken a long time – I’m usually a very high-strung person focused on the things I should be doing – but I’m finally starting to become more comfortable ignoring** the things that need to get done in favor of the things that make me happy. As they say, life is too short.***
What motivates you and makes you happiest? Leave a comment below.
* And any friends who want to learn alongside me.
** To some extent.
*** I don’t love this expression, but it gets the point across: each person has only a certain number of minutes on this planet, so focus on the things that bring you the most happiness.