Different Path, Self-Improvement

Ladder’s on the Right Wall

This month has been a very interesting one. One filled with a message that I seem hell-bent on ignoring. I’ve written before about my tendency to use money as a yardstick. This leads to a temptation to bury myself in my work due to it’s easy availability of meaning.

  • Work = Value created for somebody.
  • Work = helping other people
  • Work = More money
  • More money = More Freedom

Work is a win-win-WIN. Until it’s not.

One of my correlated interests due to my obsession with financial freedom is perusing personal finance website and poring over other people’s thoughts on finances, investing, and smart ways to tackle financial planning. As a result I follow a couple people in the blogosphere who pontificate on making smart financial decisions and ways to structure back-door Roth’s or use HSA’s as no-tax retirement accounts.

One of the people I follow was  a young doctor who was in her residency but had managed, through levels of hard work I can’t even begin to imagine, managed to graduate medical school with no debt, purchase a home, and fully fund her retirement while also raising a child. To say I was impressed by her achievements were a understatement. All this was accomplished before her 32nd birthday.

Recently, I learned that she had passed. Possibly (unconfirmed), due to suicide.

For some reason, this death, although I did not know her personally, shook me.

I think, because, she was so far ahead of me in soo many ways. Although, she was younger, I looked up to her. Her work ethic and accomplishments were in many ways- a blueprint for the life I wanted.

So her death (and it’s rumored cause), naturally, threw a monkey wrench into my mental model. The biggest question to be born from it all is, am I living my best life today? If my life was to end today, would I be happy with the way I’ve been spending my days?

I think this has even been on my mind even more due to a couple conversation’s with some people who have known me for  a little while.

  • One conversation with a former roommate. He asked me if I still made music, because he knew how happy it used to make me as a student. I used to get noise complaints weekly (yep – I was that neighbor) because I would spend hours crafting music simply for the joy of creating. My answer to him: No.
  • A friend of mine about a month ago not believing that I made music. Then daring me to create some right that second. I started and lost myself in the process. I looked up an hour later. Happier, although I didn’t earn any money, move forward on any goals, or create value for anyone but me.

It’s really also made me stop and look at the why of why I’m doing the things I’m doing. The last couple of months I’ve been working extra because my car was acting up in late December. I threw myself into work in order to be able to buy my next car with cash. However, the closer I got to my goal, the more tempting it was to move the goal post just a bit further so I could afford a car that was just a bit nicer, had just a bit more horsepower or just a bit nicer rims.

After this event, I started to wonder about the wisdom of working harder to afford a more expensive car, that would mainly serve to shuttle me to work. I was about to willingly  enter into a bit of a nonsensical vicious circle-jerk.

This death, as unfortunate as it was, has helped to pause my automatic decision making. It’s helping me (And I really do struggle) with pausing my knee-jerk reaction to solve problems with more effort, more hours pounding away at a problem, and to take a moment to consider surrendering control to God.

To ponder relaxing and happiness as goals worthy of achievement unto themselves.

To try to re-frame my relationship with money and  work.

“To work to serve. To work to learn. That money is a tool” – DWM

Fly or Fall.

OFO

 

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Different Path, Self-Therapy

Forgiving oneself: A primer

This is a follow up to the love you deserve post. Only feelings that deserved to die were murdered during the making of this post.

So. For some of us during this thing called life, we will make decisions we regret. We will maybe hurt people we didn’t mean to. We may do things that a later version of ourselves (i.e. You 2.0) may look back upon in wonderment, awe, and dismay. These mistakes, whether big or small, may grow muscles and lungs, and take on a life of their own. They may use their strength and voice to later accuse us of being something less than who we really are. People from our past may agree with these loud, muscle bound mistakes. In fact, there may be a general consensus as to who you are to a great many people.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, these mistakes, and the people who saw them born cannot know who you are today. They may have missed your “damascus road” moment. They may not have been present when you moved away from your old self. They may not have seen you peel off your old self like  a snake skin. They may have missed the hours, days, and years that you slaved away at becoming someone unrecognizable to them. Your now different inside. They can’t see the brand new skin on your heart. Or the scars from the operation that replaced your thought patterns.

So you can’t really blame these people. You can’t be mad at them. For not having X-ray emotional vision.

But you can’t believe them. You have to decide they’re liars. Not on purpose. But because they don’t know any better.

You have to decide to forgive yourself. You have to decide to believe what someone else says about you. Someone whose opinion is never wrong.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14

Fly.

OFO

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