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As I was making my way home yesterday, Baby FAF’s teacher texted me and asked if he was teething.
Baby FAF had been well-behaved and not fussy at home, so I didn’t think that he was.
When I picked him up, however, the teacher told me Baby FAF had been having stomach issues the whole day.
I started to get really worried. It could be a sign that he’s teething or that something we cooked at home didn’t sit well with his stomach.
I started feeling guilty that my son had to go through all the pain without me knowing why, and I just didn’t know what to do to help.
While walking home, I started feeling out of sync with my normal life. Something was off.
My son wasn’t feeling well, so I wasn’t in a good mood either.
Baby FAF is the most beautiful gift life has given me thus far.
But when he gets sick, has a diaper rash, or goes through something that’s not normal, I would feel like my life has been turned upside down.
Maybe I just worry too much, but then I started thinking about what are the nice things in life we can have that don’t cause us to worry or stress out.
Related: Why We Sent Our Baby To China
Having children is something many married couples aim for, and we’re no exception.
We’re preparing to welcome our second child in about 6 months.
Raising Baby FAF is a lot of work. Any parents will tell you that you might age faster due to sleep deprivation after you have a baby. I never understood how a tiny baby can turn upside down the lives of two grown adults until I had one.
Our son has brought us so much joy but also tired us out on countless days. After talking to Baby FAF’s teacher about his stomach problem that day, I wondered if I could handle twice the amount of worries that I was going through.
I know it might sound like a minor problem to a lot of parents, and that many are going through a much tougher time. But the fact that other people have more serious problems doesn’t necessarily make our own issues go away.
I know many of our neighbors have 3, 4, and even 5 kids. How they can handle the care and stress is beyond me. I admire them for being able to juggle their work and family. I just don’t know how they can do it.
Maybe we will automatically adapt when we are put into a particular situation. I never thought I could function on 3-4 hours of sleep a day for a month straight. But I did after our son was born. I survived. And I thrived.
I love the joy of seeing our children grow, watching them play and learn their first few words, and helping them explore the world around them. However, with all of that joy comes a great sense of responsibility and constant care.
We need to take good care of them when they are sick, make financial plans to pay for their future, and continue to worry about their happiness even after they get married and have their own family.
If I have 2 or 3 kids, my happiness is likely to double or triple. But it will also double the amount of work and responsibility that I need to undertake. Am I ready for that challenge? I’m not so sure at this point.
Marriage might not be everyone’s dream. But I know it is for many people.
I used to not want to get married before I met the first guy that I used to date. Growing up poor and seeing my parents fight constantly about money was not my ideal marriage dream.
In fact, I knew it was the norm for a lot of families and wondered why someone would even get themselves in that situation in the first place. It just sounded miserable to me. You can be so unhappy in a marriage but still have to stay because of the kids, the house, money, or whatever the reason is.
I know that one of the best things my parents have and are proud of are my sister and I. At least, that’s the impression that I got. Without enduring all those years of financial trouble, arguments, and reconciliation, my parents wouldn’t be better-off financially than they are now and still manage to keep our family together.
For Mr. FAF and me, we have had our fair share of challenges. With four years of long distance, monthly 20-hour drives, multiple arguments, and an unhealthy level of uncertainty, we’re still together.
Even when all the financial trouble seems to have gone away after Mr. FAF got a job, we’re still trying to reconcile our differences and agree on a financial plan that works in our family’s best interests.
It is a financial expectation in Asian families that the man should be financially secure (i.e. owning a home, having a stable job) before he gets marries.
Sometimes we’re so enamored by the thought of owning our own place that we only think about the positive side of it. We can build equity, buy the furniture that we like, decorate the house as we wish, have as many guests and parties as we want, and even turn it into a rental property to earn extra income if we need to.
Home ownership seems like a great investment and a sound decision until for whatever reason we can’t make a monthly mortgage payment, something breaks and needs thousands of dollars in repairs, or a tenant stops paying rent and even sues us.
Real estate investment is one of the best ways to generate passive income and build long-term wealth. We can be hands-off and start collecting rent checks from our tenants.
However, it can also push us further down the rabbit hole of debt and misery when the cash flow stops coming in. And we’re left wondering what’s the best way to sell of those properties quick to pay off the dangling mortgage.
Do you remember those days when you were in college and your goal was to land a job offer? I still remember that vividly. I wanted a job badly. I was tired of taking exams and writing papers.
I wanted to have a 9-5 job where I can work hard during the day and just do what I like in the evening and on the weekends. I wouldn’t have to do homework all the time, try to stay ahead of schedule, and not fall behind my peers.
I wanted to have a life outside of school and got paid real money for my work. Getting a job to make money and not be unemployed was my dream.
Unfortunately, I graduated in 2009 right after the 2008 financial crisis hit, and the job market didn’t look so good, especially for the degree that I had at the time (Economics).
I felt lost and decided to go to graduate school to figure out what I wanted out of life. It didn’t work out so well. After a long journey of trial and error, I finally landed a full-time job with good benefits.
But life isn’t so simple. Nothing is perfect, no matter if it’s something you’ve long yearned for or not. There are good days. And there are also bad days. There are things that I enjoy doing at work and things that I just want to get over with to move on to the next tasks.
I wonder if there’s anything out there who loves their job so much that they don’t see anything cons to what they do. I have never met anyone like that, but I would love to know what it’s like one day.
Related: The Poor Life of A PhD Student
I wrote a post about early retirement when I started my blog. At that time I had just discovered financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) and was fascinated by the concept.
I like the idea of us not having to work for a paycheck and just doing what we love. Mr. FAF and I dream about a day when we can retire early and have the flexibility to travel the world and pursue our passion projects without having to worry about paying the bills.
Mr. FAF wants to be a historian or a lecturer in History. He thinks that there’s nothing more powerful or enriching than influencing the minds of other people.
As for me, my passion projects seem to change from time to time. But for now, I want to become a Youtuber who can vlog about what I eat, how I live, or simply what I think and be able to reach out to millions of people online.
I want to keep growing Frugal Asian Finance and generate a passive stream of income from it. I also want to dabble in real estate and become a landlord who can be totally hands-off and generate passive income from my rental properties.
Sometimes I wonder what our lives would be like when we do have millions of dollars and can do whatever it is that our heart desires. It would be such a wonderful and relaxing lifestyle.
But what if our children or extended family need financial help from us? What if our kids have trouble making ends meet? Will we just let them be or step in to help them?
What if our tenant sues us for millions of dollars – everything we’ve worked so hard for our whole lives? Will we be back to square one?
What if we or someone in our family has a serious health issue that needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to rectify? Will we have enough money to cover such expenses and still be able to retire comfortably?
Those questions drive me crazy sometimes. I just can’t stop thinking, analyzing, and extrapolating. Early retirement is great.
But is it all perfect and rosy as I believe it to be? I’m not sure what the answers to those questions are, but I just can’t stop thinking about the what-ifs.
I realized that many of the worries or doubtful thoughts above are just me overthinking and blowing things out of proportion. But many of my doubts do have a foundation.
I see firsthand what it’s like to take care of an infant and see them grow every day. I know what it’s like to lose sleep over marital conflict and what it takes for a couple to work out their differences and stay happy together as a family.
I own a home and know what how much a big repair can cost us. I have a job and know that even a dream job with stability can be stressful. And I have read about the concerns of some early retirees about their healthcare coverage and the possible increases in the costs of living.
I can try to forget all of my doubt and live in the happy present. But I wouldn’t be myself anymore. After all, worry is one of the things that keeps me motivated about frugality the most.
I do, however, wonder if I will ever be worry-free and not have to stress about anything one day, especially it it has to do with money.
The answer might be that I just need to continue accumulating wealth to the point where I don’t have to think about money anymore. Or it might be that I just need to stop worrying and start enjoying the present.