You could say that I have a restless mind. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a person about accomplishing goals and tackling on the next challenges in life. If you rewind the tape, this is something that I’ve been doing since probably the beginning of high school.
First, it was get a part-time job so that I could have some play money to throw around. Then, it was do well in school so that I could get accepted into a nice university. In college, it was again get good grades so that I could graduate and secure a high paying job. Once in Corporate America, it was all about paying my dues and getting promoted…
When I finally started investing, it became a battle of growing the net worth and becoming financially independent as soon as possible. So, I kept right on hustlin’ all over again…
Let’s start by purchasing one house! Two houses, three houses… Not good enough… Try harder… Buy more, more, more!
$100k, $200k, $300k net worth… Sure, that’s progress… but wouldn’t it be really AWESOME if I could get to $1,000,000?!?
On, and on, and on… this cycle continued. It was like, no matter where I was in life, it was never good enough because I ALWAYS felt like I had to be striving for so much more… But why was that? I’m not sure…
Perhaps it’s because our society is so out of touch with reality that we no longer even know what’s really worth valuing? It’s almost as though being busy all of the time is considered a virtue whereas loafing around is something to be ashamed of… Hmm, that line of thinking seems extremely flawed when I ask myself, “Is making time in your day to meet up with friends to share a good laugh important, or is putting in more overtime hours so that you can affix a “senior” label to your job title a more worthwhile pursuit?”
Perhaps it’s because we live in a materialistic society where consumption is not only accepted but highly encouraged? How else are we going to keep stimulating the economy?!? Buy more toys and gadgets! If you aren’t going to buy consumer products, well, you still need to do your part and use money for something. Go invest it, instead! Regardless, to fit in with everyone else, the thought of money needs to constantly be on your mind!
Prior to taking a leave of absence away from the rat race, I’ll confess that I was losing myself… Life had become this giant blur and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep up with the pace… I was so busy trying not to fall behind (fall behind from what?) that I no longer even knew what I wanted… Or what it was that I was chasing…
There became this incessant need to keep investing — Greed? Fear? Addiction? Because the 9-5 life had so completely overwhelmed me that I felt like my only recourse of action was to defeat the system by getting to early FI ASAP?
Whatever the reason, one thing was for certain — there was no inner peace.
So, although on the surface I was “doing well”, I never felt TRUE happiness nor content. And it slowly dawned on me that I was again chasing after the wrong things in life.
*Sigh*… I can’t seem to get it right!
My job wasn’t bringing me any fulfillment… But neither was building wealth and becoming “successful” in society’s eyes.
No. In order to find TRUE happiness and inner peace, I would have to do something that I never ever made time for when I was working — I had to search deep within.
I asked myself repeatedly, “What is it that you really want out of this one life that you’ve got? What will actually make you smile and whole again?”
It wasn’t immediately evident to me. I searched for awhile… daily. Whether it was during my morning jogs, while I was meditating in the park, or even late at night when most everyone else was sleeping…
But I believe that my search for inner peace can be summed up most succinctly by the following:
“Health is the greatest gift,
Contentment the greatest wealth,
Faithfulness the best relationship.”
As usual, my search led me right back to the Big 3 in life: Health, Wealth, and Relationships.
As I’m finding out first-hand, Health is the greatest gift because without it, nothing else matters. Without good health, everything and everyone can and will be taken away from you.
Contentment is what I need to realize. I’m at a good place in life right now. I already know for certain that I don’t desire material goods and lifestyle inflation. I’m a very simple guy who prefers to lead an even simpler life. But I need to be content with where I am currently at! I don’t need to own more houses. I don’t need to be a multi-millionaire. I don’t need to be chasing more $$$. Actually, I need to resist greed with all my might, otherwise the vicious cycle that I’m trying to escape will only keep me further ensnared in its grasp. There’s no need to always be chasing MORE in life! Be happy and thankful for what you’ve already got! I’ve been blessed in so many ways… I need to accept and embrace contentment for a change.
Lastly, to find inner peace, I need to dedicate my time and energy towards building and maintaining meaningful relationships. This is an area of my life that I keep finding excuses to neglect! It’s the people in my life who bring me the most joy; I owe Faithfulness to my friends, family, and loved ones, for without them, I have NOTHING. And I need to give back and do more for the community (local, online, blogging, etc.) that has been so generous and kind to me.
A work in progress, that’s nothing new, but I look forward to getting my life back on track and moving in the right direction. 🙂