Monday, February 20, 2017

The Unsustainable American Dream

The Unsustainable American Dream
I like thinking about cliche stuff. Like what it means to be middle class, and how we're supposed to feel when we get there. And what it means when we talk about "the American Dream," since we spend so much of our lives pursuing it.

Personally, I think the American Dream means providing a better life for your kids than the life you had. We're most often talking about economics: we want our kids to have a better chance at a successful career, to be able to afford a college education, to buy a home, and to live a comfortable life.

Monday, February 6, 2017

2016 Was the Worst (Our Annual Spending)

Of all the terrible things that happened in 2016, with Russia and the head of the FBI openly messing with our elections, and the president of the Philippines calling Obama "the son of a whore" like it's no big deal, and a sixty eight year old Peyton Manning somehow winning another Super Bowl, the worst thing of all may have been all the money we spent last year.

Maybe I'm too self-centered.

Let's just get in to it. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
I have a recap in the works for our Asia trip, but I'm working on a new format (and website) for that post, so you'll have to wait to suffer through my amateur photographs and mundane anecdotes. But in the interim, please step into our latest, ongoing mental anguish: whether we should stay in our current home, or move to a new one.

I know we've written about this in the past, and came to a decision that we thought was firm: to renovate our current home and make it pretty. And low and behold, we hem, we haw, and question our past selves. So why not crowd-source our living situation?

Come on. It'll be fun.

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.