On a recent trip to Bali, I decided to take a few beginner surf lessons. After two weeks on the island I had already spent plenty of time relaxing and sightseeing and I figured surfing would be a good way to burn some energy. The Lonely Planet guidebook described Bali’s Kuta Beach as ideal for learning to surf and suggested a surf school, so off I went.
At a recent family barbecue, a cousin asked me “What do you do all day now that you’re not working?” I didn’t have a good answer. That bugged me, because I feel that I spend my time doing a mix of enjoyable and productive things. I decided that I wanted to be able to answer the question more objectively, so I tracked everything I did Monday through Friday of week 35, 2016. Here’s what I did.
How do you keep track of what you need or want to do? Do you have a system? If you do, do you write things down or do you keep it all in your head? I used to have an elaborate system, but now I work with mental notes and sticky notes.
A simple way to look at life is to imagine that you have only three resources and that you are continually trading off between them. They are time, energy, and money. It’s illuminating to ask yourself, from time to time, how you’re trading off between these resources and why. Are you trading off the way you want to be?
For many people, housing is their biggest expense. That’s true for me too and it was especially true when I lived in San Francisco. In the Bay Area, I spent an outrageous amount of money on rent. My coworkers in the Bay Area all did; San Francisco is the most expensive rental market in the United States. Paying the rent was painful. But it taught me that getting your housing spending right is the key to healthy finances.
You might strive to make lots of friends, to meditate every day, to have a successful career, or to become extremely fit. And for good reason: those things tend to make people happy. But there is one straightforward way to become happier that most people neglect: achieving financial independence.
When I meet a new person, I like to mention that I’m color blind in the first few minutes of conversation. This vulnerability—a disability, really—is a reliable conversation booster. People jump at the chance to skip smalltalk about the weather or traffic and to inquire instead whether that means I can’t see any colors at all. And how do I know when the traffic light is green?
Around a month ago I told you about LibreOffice, an open source office suite that is so good that it made me want to try out more open source software. The biggest open source project is Linux, which I’ve wanted to try for years, but which seemed daunting to install. I finally did install Linux on my laptop last week in the form of Linux Mint. I like this operating system for its functionality—but I love it for its developers’ philosophy.
Yesterday evening I visited my family and made my way to their place by bus, ferry, and train during rush hour. The bus was late, the ferry was packed, and the train was both. If I had to make this trip every day as a commute, I might think the public transit around here isn’t very good.
Having a lot of unstructured time on my hands, I read quite a few books. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read books at this rate since I was in primary school. It’s such a pleasure to lose myself in a book on the bus or train to the point where I almost miss my stop. But as I read more books, an old problem has gotten worse: bookstores are now a dangerous place—for my wallet.