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My last post on the blog was on November 30, 2022, almost a year ago. Just about five years ago, I thought I wanted to become a full-time blogger, and that this blog would become by stable side business, if not a full-blown business one day. Well, it didn’t happen.
I realized how hard it was for me to make money blogging. And honestly, I was burned out and frustrated with the slow revenue growth of the blog. In a nutshell, I think I didn’t do it right.
Then, I discovered a new passion in early 2019: coding. I doubled down on this new adventure. And it paid off. I became a self-taught software engineer at a big tech company on the west coast.
I spent less time blogging. And at one point, I just stopped writing new blog posts altogether. My mind and energy was focused on becoming a better developer. I was working toward a promotion. It wasn’t just for the money. It was also a way for me to get validated on my team, at my company, and in the industry.
I started working like crazy day and night. And in the process, I sacrificed time for family, friends, and fun. I had a goal in mind, and I wanted to achieve it, period.
However, it took a toll on my health, my family, and my relationships. And most important of all, although work was going well, what I got out of it didn’t meet my expectations. I become frustrated, angry, disoriented, and disillusioned.
Is it all there is to life?
I gradually realized that the answer is no. My mentors and my husband kept telling me to enjoy life and live in the moment. I didn’t listen to them.
I was working towards something in the future. And I kept creating new goals for myself.
For me, I was living for the future. The present was just for me to prepare for what was ahead. And that is not a good way to live my life. It’s not a good way for me to treat other people around me.
In a couple of days, I’m going to a personal finance retreat. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Personal finance, though put in the backburner due to my career change, is still something I’m interested in.
This time, however, I made the commitment to enjoy the moment and purchased the ticket to attend the retreat for a couple of days. My husband is totally supportive and wants me to take time off work. And honestly, I also want to have a getaway to rethink and reprioritize my life.
I have been married for 10 years, but it be the very first time I will be traveling for fun without my husband and kids, or just alone for that matter.
For years, Mr. FAF have been encouraging me to go somewhere alone for a few days to recharge. But I was worried about so many things: him staying at home with the kids, me missing out on my work time and thus productivity, me spending so much money on just a couple of days away, etc. And I never went.
This time, I will just prioritize my mental health and my wellbeing. I will be at the retreat with other like-minded folks. I don’t have much expectation. I just want to meet new people and forget about my work for a few days.
In fact, I have been taking a week off of work, something I rarely ever do. Even when I’m sick, I will take maybe 1-2 days off and force myself to finish whatever it is I need to do.
Mr. FAF told me it’s about time I took time off work to relax. And I agree.
The meaning of work
A lot of folks in the finance independence community say that our jobs are just a tool for us to achieve the lifestyle that we want. I heard that again and again, but it never sank in.
I let my work be one of my top priority. I didn’t want FI. I wanted to work. I wanted to get promoted. I wanted to become a better developer. I wanted to succeed at work. But the question is for what?
I will still try my best at work. But from now on, I want to work hard during the hours that I get paid for and spend the rest of my day on something else, whether it’s my family or a side business or both. Or maybe I will just try to enjoy life more.
I used to think watching movies was not a good use of my time. At the end of a movie, I have accomplished none of my tasks for the day. One of my friends said that’s the definition of entertainment. You don’t need to achieve anything when you relax. I need to keep that in mind from now on.
I have been debating whether to write about the retreat after I attend it. The truth is although I don’t blog as often as before, I still check out personal finance blogs sometimes. It’s usually when I get burned out at work and want to find an outlet.
Reading personal finance blogs is nostalgic and calming for me. But maybe I should just try to develop new hobbies. Maybe I should try to cook more often. I don’t know for sure at this point. But I know that I can no longer overwork myself.
I need to learn to enjoy life more and spend wisely the money that I work so hard to earn so that it can bring me and my family joy. I need to find joy outside of work. And that’s what I need to try to do going forward.
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