Categories
Happiness Life

Priorities

Sam Hagin pointed out that we “all live for someone” on my last post.

You are exactly correct, Sam. We all live for someone. We might live for family, we may live for friends, or we may live for a purpose we’ve set for ourselves.

Or we may just live for ourselves.

It doesn’t really matter in the end who or what you live for. What matters is that you arrange your life to give this area the priority it deserves.

When I began this journey, my children were a priority to me. I wanted to be the best mother I could be to them. I didn’t want my children to be raised by strangers. I had given birth to them, so I wanted to be the one to raise them.

That was my priority.

I had a second priority, however–that of my moral code. The thought of engaging in a relationship knowing, in the back of my mind, that I would be using that person (and essentially prostituting myself), bothered me significantly.

So I asked myself: how could I focus on my priority of living for my children, of being there for them without having to sacrifice my moral code?

By focusing on my priorities, bit by bit I arranged my life, placing my children at the top of my focus.

When employers asked me to choose between my job and staying home with an ill child, I picked my kid. I deliberately picked low-wage positions so that it would be easy to locate another position when faced with that choice. When some of these employers realized that I wouldn’t hesitate to walk away, they began to offer options. The options weren’t perfect, but they allowed me to focus on my primary goal–that of caring for my children.

I only have one life. I only had one chance at being a good mother for my children. Rather than live my life in regret, I chose to live my life by focusing on what was truly important to me.

We can all give excuses but in the end, when you face the darkness of that great night, do you want to go there with regret, or do you want to go there knowing that you did your best to care for what is important to you?

The choice is yours.

Categories
Happiness Life self-improvement

What Would You Do Today if You Were Scheduled To Die Tomorrow?

“Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour.”

Carnegie, Dale. (1948). How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said this: “I can’t wait to achieve….”

We all do this. We spend our present moments focused upon our future in one way or another. We can’t wait to grow up. We can’t wait for the weekend. We count the years until we can take a vacation or retire.

My parents died at 57 and 61, respectively. While I am not a statistician, this made me realize that my personal time on this planet is limited. I may not live long enough to achieve financial freedom again. I may not live until tomorrow even; I could be hit by a truck as I walk to work for all I know.

Many people realize that, like me, they may never achieve their goals. They decide to enjoy life as it comes since nothing is guaranteed aside from our now.

While I may not live to see tomorrow’s sunrise, I live in hope of experiencing many more. While I may not live to achieve financial freedom I choose to live my life as if I will by planning my life and finances accordingly.

Yet I’ve realized that over the past two years I’ve spent the majority of my time working towards that uncertain future. Instead of savoring the life I have today I have kept myself focused upon the steps I want to take to achieve my overall goals. Instead of today, I’ve consistently focused upon my tomorrow, be it my next day off, my next investment, or the next stage of college.

I’ve taken some time off to consider what I really want in my life, focusing on the areas that don’t require money. I asked myself: if I were scheduled to die tomorrow, how would I want to spend my today?

The answer was surprising in its simplicity. If I were to die tomorrow, I would want to spend my today resting, reading, and writing one last blog post to pass on anything I believed might help you as you continue your journey.

I wouldn’t stress over pinching pennies. I wouldn’t constantly search for my next investment. I wouldn’t send every last dime I’d managed to save to my brokerage account. While I wouldn’t spend myself broke, I would allow myself to buy some new music, download an ebook that caught my interest (as opposed to waiting for a physical copy to arrive after I died), then I would stretch out, take a long relaxing breath of thankfulness, and quietly savor my last day on earth as I listened to the new music playing in the background.

That is something I can do right here and now in my current life. All I have to do is shift my focus. I can achieve the life I desire to an immense degree without having to wait and hope for a future that I may not live to see.

This is why I started taking time off each week to relax. This is why I began to eliminate drama from my life.

And this is why I encourage you to do the same.

Goals are a wonderful thing. They keep us alive and moving forward but it’s neither healthy nor productive to sacrifice every moment of your now striving for a future you may not live to attain or complaining that it hasn’t arrived yet.

Today I want you to take a few moments to step back from your entire life. Ask yourself how you would want to spend today if you were scheduled to die tomorrow. Focus upon the things that don’t require money.

Would you want to spend your last day enjoying your family? If so, make arrangements to simplify your schedule so that you can start doing that now.

Would you prefer to spend your last day free of drama? Then begin cutting the major sources of drama from your life.

Would you like to be free of the endless chores that come with caring for a home? While you may not be able to eliminate them entirely, you can begin to pare down your possessions and streamline your routine to eliminate much of the overhead.

Would you like to take one final trip before you leave this life? Start making plans and saving up so that you can take that trip in the foreseeable future.

You can still work towards the future, but you don’t have to sacrifice the entirety of your now to achieve it. I have discovered that, by simply shifting your priorities a bit, that you can live the life you desire to a significant degree immediately.

Take a moment to comment upon how you would want to spend your last day of life below. Share the steps you intend to take now to make that happen. Then share this post with the one friend is sacrificing their now to worry about an uncertain future.

Thank you.

I plan to discuss the specific ways I’ve began to streamline my life in order to spend more time doing the things I enjoy without sacrificing my goals for the future. If there is a particular subject you would like for me to address, leave a comment below.

Categories
Finances

The Power of Priorities

We don’t think much about priorities. We’re usually too busy putting out fires in our day-to-day existence that we shove them aside.

This is a serious mistake. When we don’t set priorities, we set ourselves up for failure.

My personal goal is to achieve complete financial freedom. In order to achieve that goal I set a series of smaller goals like researching various avenues of passive income and targeting them one at a time. I’ve been working on them but I forgot about something that is very important:

It won’t do me a bit of good to become financially free if I’m not around to enjoy it.

I focused my time and energies on studying and working instead. I created a plan to develop a second source of passive income (my first source is my book royalties) through investing in the stock market. I spent every moment I could spare working towards this goal.

When my energy began to wane I rationalized that I was pushing myself too hard. I just needed to slow down a bit in order to recharge. That didn’t work. Despite taking extra time to rest I was growing more and more exhausted, to the point that it was a chore just to make it through my shifts at my public job.

I assumed it was because I’m getting older and kept slogging forward.

That was when my tooth shattered. Within days the remnants of that tooth turned black and began to hurt. The pain began to keep me up at night so I used the time to continue my studies. Might as well do something productive, I reasoned. When the pain became too much to bear I finally worked up my courage and went to the dentist.

He promptly pulled five of my teeth.

Within days my energy level began to increase. It wasn’t up to normal levels but it was enough to get my attention. I was sabotaging my own success because I didn’t set my personal health as a priority.

It is time to correct that. By the time you read this I will be back in the dentist’s chair getting the stitches removed and having a serious discussion about correcting the issue. If I am going to achieve financial freedom in my lifetime I need to have the energy to do what needs to be done–and the health to enjoy it in the end.

It won’t be fun to go through my day looking like an Internet Meme while I sort this and save for a pair of dentures. To be honest, that’s one of the main reasons I’ve allowed myself to procrastinate for so long. It won’t be fun acknowledging my physical limitations even as I take steps to deal with it. It definitely will be frustrating to slow down, if not temporarily stop the physical pursuit of financial freedom during the process but that’s just how things go.

I know that I will be much better off in the end. I’ll have more energy and focus once the process is complete. Hopefully that will allow me to make up for the lost time.

There is a lesson in this for everyone.¬†You must take care of yourself first. That means not only getting proper rest, but taking care of health issues before they become a major problem. It also means giving your goals precedence in your life. You’ll never achieve financial freedom if you spend your time watching television or playing video games, or run a marathon if you spend most of your time sitting on the couch.

You have to take definitive action and set priorities.

Do you have any priorities that you’ve shoved aside? Please share your stories in the comments below.