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It’s been eight months since I wrote the post “How to De-stress During Quarantine: Finding Joy in Frugality” Back then, I wrote about my burnout at work as a new software engineer who had just transitioned from nonprofit to tech.
I tried different things to de-stress, including following minimalism to reduce the amount of stuff we had to deal with and take care of at home. I also tried to find joy in frugality during the quarantine. I thought getting rid of stuff and saving money would help me with my mental state.
Declutter my mental space
But I soon realized that I also needed to apply minimalism to my mental state as well. I was trying to juggle so many things at the same time:
— Focusing my time and energy on my new job not only on weekdays but also on the weekends.
— Preparing for technical interviews (practicing solving coding challenges) whenever I had free time for fear of being laid off and to improve my coding skills.
— Taking care of two young children aged six and three.
— Doing most of the housework since Mr. FAF was having some health issues, and it was hard for us to find helpers during the pandemic. Mr. FAF also spent half of 2021 preparing for job interviews to change companies.
— Writing content on two blogs: one about personal finance and the other about coding.
— Interviewing to change teams at my current company.
At one point, I realized that I was stressed from the moment I woke up to when I went to bed. I became irritable, cranky, and resentful.
I was the one who put myself under that circumstance and under a lot of pressure. I was also the one who felt like I had no time to do my job well and to have quality time for myself.
The breaking point came when I realized that I felt really down about everything. I decided to take a step back and ask myself what are my top two priorities that I absolutely had to take care of.
And that boiled down to two things: family and my job.
That means that I had to prioritize taking care of my family and trying to perform at work. Everything else had to take a back seat until things slowed down.
I put a pause on blogging and only accepted sponsored posts here and there to maintain the blog and cover the operating costs. Some of you commented that you miss the time when I blogged about my personal life. I understand and appreciate that.
However, I think I have come to a point where I realized two things.
First, I no longer want to get so personal about my marriage and all the personal issues we are experiencing in our lives. I have done that before, and I’m glad some of you found that helpful. But as I get older, I do want to maintain some privacy for myself and my family.
Second, blogging full-time is no longer the career trajectory I want to head into. At one point, I did want to turn this blog into a successful business. But that didn’t come easily. And more importantly, I have found a new passion which I want to pursue long-term: coding.
Where this blog is headed
So what does this mean for this blog? That’s a question I have asked myself a lot. I have a couple of options in mind.
— I can just leave it as is and post new content when I want to.
— I can sell this blog.
— I can just cancel the hosting and let it be a thing of the past.
I have decided on the first option for two reasons.
First, I have invested so much time and energy into this blog. In a way, this is a documentary of our lives over the past few years. I don’t want to just sell it off or let it die on its down.
Second, the blog still generates a four-figure income a year, which can cover the costs of operation and provides another stream of income for our family.
Third, I still have some hope that one day I will have more time to invest in the blog and grow it into a successful business.
Sometimes I still check some of my favorite personal finance blogs to see what’s new. I no longer leave comments. I just want to stay in the loop. It feels nostalgic at times seeing some how bloggers have kept up their sites so well and consistently over the years.
That said, I also want to share some of the updates we have in our lives in this post. After about nine months of preparation, Mr. FAF has found a new job at a big tech company in the west coast.
I have changed to a different team at my current company those work is better aligned with my interests.
Both Mr. FAF and I still work as software engineers.
My in-laws came from China last month and will stay with us for one year. They help us with cooking and taking our kids to school. That helps relieve a lot of the stress we’ve been under over the past year.
Financially, we are in a much better place now that both Mr. FAF and I work in tech. We still maintain a frugal lifestyle but try to enjoy life more instead of worrying about saving all the time. But we are indeed saving for our second home.
My goal for December is to enjoy life more, spend more time with family, and not overwork. This is the holiday season. And I want to make sure I take the time to live in the moment with my loved ones instead of always stressing about the future.
This past Thanksgiving break, I went to see “No time to die” with some friends, something I hadn’t done in years. I wanted to go to get out of the house and spend sometime with my friends.
During the first half of the movie, I kept thinking I was wasting my time, and that I should have stayed at home to study, work, take care of kids, or do housework instead.
But towards the end of the movie, I started to enjoy the story and the night out more. I came home a happier person, wife, and mom.
Sometimes it takes effort and discomfort to get out of our comfort zone. But the outcome can be incredibly rewarding and refreshing.
I am learning to work less and enjoy the present more. And that’s also my goal for 2022.
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