One of the most interesting aspects of blogging, in my opinion, is that I often find myself concerned that I may run out of things to talk about. Thankfully, however, access to the internet blows the doors and windows wide open to new content to discuss, not to mention the countless learning opportunities that exist online for those willing to reach out and take them.
After posting about our “Guiltless Pleasures” a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but reflect a little deeper on the subject. Why do we not feel guilty about our decisions? Mulling that question over in my mind, the word “balance” kept jumping out at me, followed by a flood of images: scales, yoga, and the Yin Yang.
From my beginner’s research and minimal understanding, the ancient Chinese Tao does not have a concrete definition, whereby it teaches you to flow with life and to learn acceptance within your life. The concept of Yin and Yang, again in terms of my basic understanding, is the coming together of two halves to create balance with one another. Something that is whole is finite, complete, and unchanging; however, I think it is safe to say that few of us live our lives in such a concrete manner. The Yin and Yang are constantly changing and flowing in order to strike balance with one another. We constantly seek out balance in every aspect of our lives, whether it be in how we spend the minutes and hours of our day, divided between family and various other time-consuming activities, to how we adapt to our ever-changing environments.
Our budgets can be looked at with this principle in mind, as well. We sit down with our budget, knowing that there is, more-or-less, a finite amount of money coming in every month. We must balance our various outflows (i.e. the people/companies we owe money to) in order to achieve equilibrium within the constraints of our budget. The utilities are $30 over budget this month? That’s thirty bucks not going somewhere else. We then juggle these numbers around in order to make the best use of our funds.
In the same way, we must evaluate our priorities in order to strike a balance between our guiltless splurges and the ongoing pursuit of debt freedom and FIRE. As cliche, yet very true, as it is to say…tomorrow, and even our next breath, is never a guarantee. While we choose to “sacrifice” cable and ongoing rampant consumption to further our goals, we choose not to sacrifice on things that we truly find enjoyable. Even with our continued splurging on delicious food, we have still been able to pay off over $4,700 of debt in 2016 thus far, putting us on pace to exceed our financial goals for 2016. Sure, we could buy cheaper cuts of meat, regular white potatoes, and a 99 cent head of iceberg lettuce, but would the $20-30/month we save and send to a debt really get us to freedom that much quicker? Literally speaking, yes it would (I’ve always been good at math…lol.) However, would that small amount of time saved balance out our personally perceived “sacrifice”? The truth is, there is no single right answer to that question. It is completely relative to each and every one of our situations, belief systems, and personally determined priorities; as for me and my family, the answer is no.
In what areas of your life do you find yourself seeking balance? This doesn’t necessarily have to pertain to finances. We are constantly pulled in a thousand different directions, often all at the same time! I (as I’m sure you do, as well) find myself constantly seeking balance with my time between working, sleeping, and spending time with my family. Until retired, my time devoted to work is pretty consistent, pending any picked-up overtime, so the balancing act is generally between sleep and family…family will always win in my book. That is what I look forward to the most about retirement…divvying up the time that I now spend working between additional sleep and, ever so more importantly, family time. I work 84 hours (without additional OT) every two weeks; that is 168 hours each and every month that, once retired, will be spent playing outside with my son, teaching him valuable life lessons, and/or having lovely and hilarious conversations with my incredible wife; now that is truly PRICELESS!
Do you achieve the balance you seek in life? If not, what prevents you from doing so…and more importantly, what are you gonna do about it? Let me know below 🙂
– RN on Fire