When reading blogs in the personal finance sphere, it sometimes seems that everyone is so darned busy.
“It’s the end/beginning of the month!! Update your net worth spreadsheet!! QUICK!”
“Get that side-hustle happening! HURRY!! Every day that goes by is another day wasted!”
“Sell some stuff on Gumtree/Craigslist whatever that is… /eBay… TODAY!!! Invest it! NOW!!!! Every day wasted is another day that compound interest won’t work in your favour!”
Yikes! It seems that if you’re interested in FI/RE you have to be in perpetual motion. But I’m just finishing off a two-week holiday where, although you could say I got a fair bit done, there were also quite a few days where there was a lot of sitting on the couch, reading, knitting, taking naps and watching Netflix. And you know? It was pretty darned good.
There’s a lot to be said for staying put and entertaining yourself with what you already have hanging around at home. No racing around, no putting on the glad rags and stepping out dressed to impress. I had more than a couple of days where I basically spent most of my time either reading or napping. They were good days. I’ve got so many books either on my bedside table or lined up in my kindle that I could probably entertain myself for weeks if all I did was read.
I’ve just put a new garden in. Do you know how many hours these holidays I’ve spent planting seeds, watering, plotting and planning what to put into it? Admittedly, there’s also been a couple of trips to plant nurseries to buy pea straw, compost tumblers and a few plants, but the leisurely hours spent at home wandering around the garden beds have been precious, time slipping through my fingers like pearls. There’s a quiet happiness that comes from leaning over the garden beds you’ve planted, gloating at your babies sprouting – similar to a FI/Re person looking at a net worth spreadsheet I suppose. But this comes with sunlight, the sound of birds and the prospect of growing your own fresh food.
The photo is a row of Ballerina apple trees and lavender. The lavender will bring the bees, which will, in turn, pollinate the apples. If you’ve ever picked an apple straight off the tree and bitten into it, you’ll know why I have 5 trees.
Can you see the bee? I can’t tell you how quietly satisfying it is to plan out an experiment such as the apples and lavender, then as you’re watering hear the gentle hum of bees visiting the blossoms. The apples are appreciating it too. Already we have blossoms.
Not everything on this journey is whizz-bang! Exciting! OMG!!
Some of it is simply deeply satisfying – simple rewards from little things. A blossom. The smile from a son in love as he comes home after a date. A contented snore from one of the dogs on the couch beside me.
Oops. I think I woke them up. Jeff looks particularly snakey about it.
Anyone here tried making something with your hands? When I paid off my first house, I celebrated by buying 2 things. The first was a pair of expensive sandals from a Real Shoe Shop, (ie not Target). Poppy, pictured in the first photo, was 5 months old at the time. Those sandals lasted a week before she chewed them. The second thing I bought was knitting yarn. I bought All The Yarn. In Every Colour. I have 2 suitcases full of the stuff up in my walk-in-robe.
Now I’m slowly chipping away at it. Did you know that when you knit, your brain goes into the same waves as when you meditate? So you get the benefits of meditation, with the added bonus of also getting a woolly handicraft to wear as well. Sitting on the couch, hearing the quiet clack of the needles clicking together, with music or a podcast or just sweet sweet silence is one of the nicest ways to spend a couple of hours. Just chillin’ and knittin’.
I guess the take away here is that it’s ok to sometimes let some moments gently slip by. Or hours. Or days. It’s not a race to the finish line to reach FI. Or RE. Don’t let your enthusiasm to reach the big goal blind you to the quiet satisfactions of contentment along the way. They make the journey all the sweeter.