I suppose birthdays are always an entertaining reminder to look back and reflect on where we are and where we have been. It always surprises me how much our lives change. Even over short periods of time. Have you ever thought about how you have changed in the last few years? What is the same? What is different? Are you happy with where you are? Are there things in your life you would like to change?
For those who do not know me, four years ago I was just getting married, finishing graduate school and traveling around the globe. Since then, I’ve worked a little, read a lot, seen a few things and have gone though a surprising amount of intellectual growth. There are plenty of things I’m still working to improve upon but a few of the changes that I’ve made will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I think one of the biggest realizations I’ve had over those years is that stuff was getting in my way. I enjoyed ‘collecting’ things my whole life and ended up with lots of those things scattered around different closets/houses/garages. I think traveling (especially in the 3rd/2nd world) reinforced my ideal that, in America, our stuff often gets in the way of our happiness. We have so much that it is easy to put our time and trust into what we have (or don’t have). I’ve flirted with aspects of minimalism over the last few years and I’m working towards a happy balance. I think the biggest thing for me has been removing commitments that were not bringing me value and replacing them with things that do add value to my life.
Ways my life has changed since 2009:
- Moved from 1,200 sf condo to 400 sq condo to 850 sq house
- Sold Car, Moved down to one family car
- Got rid of half of my clothes
- Sold my old collections of “stuff” – Games, SW, MTG
- Sold our desktop computer, laptop, share a family computer
- Cut paper books 90%
- Sold all CDs & DVDs
- Finally parsed my “Cord’s bucket”
- Combined – Ipod, Remote, GPS, cell phone, PSP, Camera, To-Do List, Paper Calender (Iphone)
- Got rid of disposable batteries
- Cut the cable TV
- Got rid of 95% of our paper
- Stopped tracking all exercise
- Stopped paper subscriptions to magazines & newspapers
- Combined bank accounts and email addresses
- Stopped drinking alcohol
- Got rid of disposable plates/cups/paper towels
- Started using reusable water bottles
- Started recycling consistently
- Traveled a lot
- Had a baby
- Bought a house
- Punched debt in the face
- Got a pet
- Decreased our spending every year
- Finished School
- Started School
- Stopped watching hours or sports every week on TV
- Started growing food
- Started listening to sports on the radio
- Got married
- Read a lot of books
- Started riding a bike
I think it can be fun to look back on our lives. I’m sure next year I’ll write the obligatory and cliched 30 Things in 30 Years. Reflective posts tend to be pretty entertaining to authors and they also serve as a benchmark for contrast.
I’m looking forward to the next ten years of my life. Each of the past four years have been the respective best year of my life. And it is pretty cool. I think growing up is pretty fun. I’m looking forward to some major changes in the coming years but I’ll be content with the progress I’ve made so far. It will be entertaining to do a little more working, schooling and traveling. I think I’ll have even more free time in the coming years and I’m loving watching my ladies grow up.