All is flowing. From time to time you must venture on to new waters. (pic: Approaching north-west coast of Mallorca by sailing boat)
It’s been a long time since the last post.
There were a couple of reasons for this which I think can be best summarized as “creative break” or “philosophical re-adjustment”.
Actually this had three aspects:
- Woodpecker & family were simply quite busy these months
Social “capital” increasingly pay “dividend” in the form of various invitations, visits, social activities etc. Plus obviously the travel season started good and early this year and let to quite a list of trips, e.g. to Verona (see here),Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Freiburg in South-West Germany, a trip to relatives in Hamburg and finally, the last two weeks, I managed to integrate my passion – sailing – deeper into family life by doing a family sailing trip in Croatia. More on this in a separate post. All of this led to a phenomenon that – thanks to downshifting in the job – I seldom encountered before:
Time got scarce!
- I decided to decrease virtual activity a bit
This is on one side connected to scarce time and social activities.
Plus while I like blogging and being in the internet, I am more and more convinced that we (as the western society) spend too much time in the virtual realms and too little in real life.
I mean the internet is fantastic, one of the greatest inventions of modern times (right next to the dish washer), but more information is not always better.
The internet is also dangerous in that it can distract us from living life itself. Distracting us into planning and planning, looking for non-binding contacts and social exchange, flipping from idea to idea without ever sticking to something real and enduring…you certainly know what I mean.
And all the time, the real life is out there right in front of our doors and beyond the screen of our smartphones.
When in doubt better turn off the computer and take a step out (Even if this means decreasing traffic to this blog! 😉 ).
- I had to do a few re-adjustments in my job
In todays world which is centered all around work, progress, “sucess”, career and status, it is not always easy to go the middle way. It is easy to run in the rat-race and it is easy to just quit the job but if you want to go down the down-shifting road, i.e. work in a job, but in general concentrate on maxing out free time rathern than pushing career, then a lot of people around you will frequently get confused.
Because not living 100% for your job is kind of a taboo today and considered almost a rebellious act by many of the rat-racers.
The reason is clear: You do question their view of the world, and people don’t like that.
So you have to do your moves carefully and spend some time every now and then to convince bosses and co-workers that you are committed to do a good job, but you simply want a different balance in your life.
Companies are typically very normed social entities, thus the way to do this is to seek personal contact and build trust. On that basis it will be easier for others to accept you being different.
Thats what I did, and I’ll go on another two months block of parental leave this summer, according to the plan to have a minimum of 50 free days (plus weekends of course) per year.
- The frugal living and thinking about money topic is sucked dry for Woodpecker
We shall not forget that money still is only a tool. It is extremly important and thrilling to set the stage right by getting your financials in order, start to monitor and question your spendings, think about opportunity costs, efficient spending and the fact that happiness and money spending are consumption are little correlated, learn about adaptation effects and psychological traps when dealing with money and consumption, and understand the principles of successfull investing.
But honestly, once this is done, it is time to move on to the next step.
Because if you did your homework, your habits will sustainably change and you can savely put lots of the money related things decribed in this and other blogs to auto-pilot to a certain extend.So I could write 100 more posts about tiny savings and tiny optimizations, but I would start to repeat myself.
Money is merely the tool.
It is the hammer that drives the nail into the wall.
But we should not admire the hammer, but the beautiful picture that you will put on that nail.And the picture is your life.
If you keep on admiring the hammer, you are in no better position than the rat-racers or career-driven, no matter how frugal your life is.
In that case you’d still worship the wrong god, the colden calf.
Only from a different angle.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
So Woodpeckers journey (and with it this blog’s topics) will probably move forward to focus on the next stages on Maslows pyramid: Stage 4 (Esteem) and 5 (Self-Actualization).