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As an individual who values time and freedom above material goods I come to realize that the real luxury in life is time.
This is not a new realization for me, but I was reminded of this as I got to luxuriate and enjoy a long weekend off from my job. I had grandiose plans, I was going to do some major spring cleaning and clear out the unnecessary clutter from my life in order to live a more minimalist lifestyle and to prepare for my fiancee moving in with me in the next few months into my small one bedroom condo. I thought a few days would be enough, however, I am on my last day of my long weekend and have not yet decluttered. Time, therefore, is a luxury and the ability to prioritize it is a skill.
It would be nice to escape the rat race and be able to spend time with your loved ones. Time to enjoy your children and spend quality time with them, time to spend time with your family and loved ones, and time to think and contemplate life. When one works a 9-5 job, you can't help but feel like your lifestyle has already been designed, and you continue to feel too exhausted to cook on that weekday so you order takeout and continue to spend money therefore entering that vicious cycle of materialism and spending to feel better about yourself.
Financial Freedom is Paramount
I'll admit, I was feeling pretty good about myself in my current situation, feeling financially free because I have the means to pay off my home if I wanted to and have some years ahead of me to continue to accumulate my nest egg.
However, recently I've been feeling the pinch and the stress of worrying about the future and my retirement savings. Perhaps this is because there are expenses coming up (like a wedding) and family!
Whenever I feel like buying something (like a new trench coat that I have been looking to buy for a few years), I tell myself that I really don't need it, that a new trench coat will give me a feeling of happiness for a few months perhaps but this feeling (like everything in life) is not permanent and will fade away. That's my zen mentality I try to adopt anyway.
I tell myself that what might be permanent should I work hard enough to sustain it and continue investing is financial freedom!
7 Habits of Highly Effective People…in Action
I'm a huge fan of the book by Steven Covey, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and have been adopting some of the principles, including starting my Sunday by planning for the week, which includes reviewing menu plans and prep cooking for the week. If I had the luxury of time I wouldn't have to do this, but working 9-5 makes me quite tired at the end of the day and not very effective or productive. I also write in what I want to spend my time on, like exercise, otherwise, I will forget and not set that intention for the week.
In Finishing the Rat Race, Don't Forget to Enjoy the Journey
Of course, it's important to ‘stop and smell the roses' and enjoy the journey. Take some time to enjoy your life (e.g. go on that trip you have always wanted to do) and not wait until the very end when you have achieved the rat race, because life happens and something may happen when you finally achieve your goal that will prevent you from enjoying your life. Like take for example, a disability for yourself, or your spouse falls ill with early onset dementia, or cancer. I have heard many people work so hard until retirement and then when they retire, they become seriously ill or their loved ones becomes seriously ill. Actually this has happened to some of my colleagues who recently retired unfortunately. I guess finding the time to balance the desire for financial freedom and the realization that you need to enjoy the journey as well is difficult.
Readers, what do you think? If you had financial freedom and the luxury of time, what would you be doing with it?
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