Monday, January 16, 2017

The Leap Away from Work

We're finally back from Asia, which was lovely. I'll have a summary next week, but today I have a quick post on leaping away from work.

I’m finishing Tess Vigeland’s Leap, which is maybe the best book I read in 2016. It documents her decision to leave the big, fancy job hosting Marketplace Weekend, without a specific plan for what would come next. No job lined up. Not starting a charity or a business or writing a novel: just an understanding that what she was doing wasn’t working all that well anymore, and that something needed to change. A real leap, without knowing where she would land.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Off to Asia

Off to Asia
This Saturday is Christmas Eve, and our gift to ourselves this year is a trip to Asia. We're visiting Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Siem Reap, doing our normal thing of visiting each city for about four days or so, and with our usual partners in crime: our good couple friends who've leaned into travel hacking as much as we have.

This trip is bittersweet, since my mother's recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She just started chemo this month, and I've been driving back to Southern California to visit her. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a lot of stress, but I'm choosing to trust her doctors' recommendations, and to be optimistic. The last few days have been especially hard. She's been in the ER and hospital on separate issues, which is the last thing she needs while she's trying to beat cancer.

Monday, December 12, 2016

My Two Selves

Thanks to an introduction from a friend, I might have a freelance writing opportunity. It was just a meeting, and nothing may come of it. Still, it's exciting to think I might earn some money doing something I enjoy. While I have some fears about what might happen to the joy I get from writing if I turn it into another j-o-b, I'm learning to come to terms with that fear because I think it might be what I'm supposed to do with myself.

There is one tricky detail to decide on: which name should I put in the byline?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Deep Work, Financial Independence, and Escape

Deep Work, Financial Independence, and Escape
I've been with my current company for four years. Coincidentally, I have about that length of time to go before we reach financial independence, or at least that's what the Mad Fientist's laboratory tells us.

Four years seems like a very short time to reach early retirement. One presidential term. One Olympics.

In another, more real way, the way that involves me going into a job every weekday for nine straight hours, and stressing about work while I'm off the clock, four years is a pretty long time. It's too long to just gut it out: to put my head down and grit my teeth until we're financially independent. I need to find a way to actually make my career more fulfilling and enjoyable, so that these next four years aren't just a slog.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Viceland, Payday, and the Hustle

Viceland, Payday, and the Hustle
This weekend, I heard about a new show on Viceland thanks to a tweet from J Money. It's called Payday, and the show "follows twenty-somethings over the course of a single pay period to see how they spend, struggle, and thrive."

Mrs. Done by Forty and I are hooked already. It doesn't hurt that the show is shot beautifully, like a film that's just artsy enough to be visually cool, but not pretentious and distracting

Monday, November 7, 2016

Onto My Bike, Into My Neighborhood

Onto My Bike, Into My Neighborhood
Just a short post this week, and thanks again to J Money at RockStar Finance, and Eric Ravenscraft and Kristin Wong at LifeHacker for featuring my little blog over the past couple weeks. I really appreciate you sharing a couple recent posts with all your readers, and I've been smiling all week as a result.

Arizona's weather is weird. Now that fall is upon us, we can finally turn off the AC for good and get outside again. A couple weeks ago, I put a new tube on one of my bike tires and decided to pedal on over to our kickball game. It was only about a mile ride, but it was fantastic.

Monday, October 31, 2016

You're Not as Busy as You Think You Are

I keep having the same conversation these days, and it bugs me every time I have it. Coworkers, family, and friends keep telling me about how busy they are. In detail.

At happy hours and dinner parties, it's always the same old tropes. Work is crazy. Management just let go of more people and is trying to do more with less. We're burning the candle at both ends.

This sense of busyness boils over to our personal lives, too. We're so buried during the work week that our weekends are spent cleaning the house, doing yard work, and catching up with the kids. When it's all said and done, there's hardly any time left for yourself, your exercise and hobbies, or personal maintenance.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Your Purchases Can't Buy You Class

Another Monday, another post chock-full of middle class goodness.

The notion that our economic class is defined, not by our income or our wealth, but by our purchases, is fairly prevalent. If you own a house, or a second car, and take the family on a vacation now and again, maybe that means you're middle class. If you rent and take the bus and don't get time away from work, maybe you're not. Middle class people wear certain types of clothes. They eat certain types of food.

This purchase-defined class structure has a historical basis, and it's been portrayed predictably, and inaccurately, throughout the years in television and in movies.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Middle Class & Income by Location

Sad Cayenne doesn't think she's in the middle class.
As we're in an election year, the two major party candidates are talking about how we need to improve things for the middle class. It makes sense. There's a great deal of mythology about the middle class in America, and it's a deep well for politicians to draw from. It doesn't hurt that we still don't have a consistent definition of what it even means to be middle class, despite the efforts of this little blog.

Nonetheless, the middle class exists, even if we can't agree on how to define it, and, somehow, everyone thinks they're middle class. While I like the idea of defining the middle class in terms of household income quintiles, most of us can agree that the middle class is a relative term, not an absolute one. To be in the middle, you need something on either side.