YTD Spending: $14,549
. 12 month rolling is now just under 18K
Spending is up a bit because I pre-paid for a few pricey trips. One for a friend’s wedding next month, one for the week of thanksgiving to visit both my and GF’s family, last for my portion of a hotel on a road trip with friends in December. Normally I’d car camp on road trips, but since I’m going with two other guys who’d rather get a hotel, I conceded. These costs are part of a deliberate effort to increased social interactions, read the thoughts section for details.
Housing and car ins are paid through end of year. So, all I have is utilities, cell phone, health insurance for fixed costs. Add to that food and entertainment, I’ll still hit 18K goal even if I spend on those rather liberally.
YTD savings rate: 78.1%
Years saved based on 20K Semi ERE spend: 12.08
Here’s the chart:
I should hit the red line by the end of my current contract in November!
As my journal entries have probably shown, I’ve recently spent a great deal of time contemplating a design for a Semi-ERE life. The first order of business was to determine why I have been experiencing dysthymia over the past couple of years. Particularly considering how good my life has really become.
Initially, I had assumed this lack of enthusiasm for life was driven by my lack of freedom, ie lack of various forms of capital to feel free to spend time and energy as I wish. This was preceded by lack of knowledge regarding various forms capital and how to utilize them to live life in a well designed system (pre-ERE). So I think my initial assumption was partially based on the all the new knowledge I was gaining after the initial exposure to the thought processes in the ERE book. IOW, it was the topic de jour in my head, ever-present.
Over the past six months, as financial capital portion was nearing a critical mass, I begun to realize my assumption was only partially true. I knew I could literally live a decade or more without earning money. This was a direct result of the combination saved financial capital and skills (reflected in decreased consumption based life, visa vie reduced spend rate). Problem was, I didn’t feel freer or happier. For the record, happiness as I speak of it here is defined as overall contentment, not the day-to day changes we all feel with circumstances.
Clearly, if more feelings of freedom equated to more happiness, I should have felt more-happy. Then it hit me! The problem was, even though I had the finances in order and skills were progressing, I hadn’t actualized any of this new found freedom. It was only potential energy, it needed to be kinetic.
Enter in the official Semi-ERE plan early this year. Once solidified, I had essentially created a cap for needed financial assets to get the ball rolling… I felt better, on a scale of 0-10 (0 suicidal, 5 moderately content, 10 Buddha), happiness went from 2/10 to around 4/10. Even if the end kinetic energy of Semi-ERE bumped me up another number or two, something was still missing.
The second layer of thinking in this process involved my lack of social capital. I used to have it in plenty, today much less so. Although my relationship with the GF has blossomed, I lacked other social connectiveness. I have friends, but few are local, and few do I see regularly. After research and self analysis I began to take action. Although having a dispersed network of good friends is good, it wasn’t satisfying my day-to-day needs.
I’ve never been one that has a hard time socializing, but since my ERE focus I found myself very uninterested in the normal concerns of non-weirdo’s. Also, as my thinking became systems oriented and longer term in nature, I felt taking time to make more superficial friendships in the temporary work assignment locations as wasted effort. To further complicate matters, I often felt exhausted from the forced social interaction my job requires. Not with coworkers so much as with the patients themselves. Again, not because they are all bad people (some are), it’s just when very ill and hospitalized most folks are at the height of physical and emotional neediness. They are exhausting to deal with and leave very little left for anyone else.
This social capital problem was easier to address and I moved quickly since I have historically not had problems in this realm. I simply looked back to a time when I was satisfied and came to a few conclusions. The first, I need to take the time to make local friends. Even without the common interests of the masses (sports, TV shows, etc), most people have their deeper side on an issue or at least one interesting hobby. It’s just a matter of talking to them and learning what/where these things are and form a relationship based on those commonalities. Secondly, I need to design my Semi-ERE in a way that I still have energy to interact with folks outside the workplace. IOW, I have to have less forced interaction with the extremely needy/draining people so that i actually want
to spend time with people when they do interesting things.
I have successfully completed the first with several coworkers. The result has been invites to get-together's at pub’s, couples game night, and even a weekend road trip later this year. I’m feeling better, like I have a community here in temp town BFE. This, coupled with some plans with old friends in nearby cities has resulted in happiness bump to maybe 5/10. However, since reigniting my social fire (pun intended), I’ve found I have less left for my patients at work. In the nursing biz this is called Compassion Fatigue
. Studies have been done, it’s real, and I am starting to experience it as a second order effect of my social progress.
All of this leads to my current focus. Happiness research shows its very beneficial to feel as if one is making progress in the realm of “purpose”, doubly so if that purpose is altruistic in nature. My “purpose” since 2015 has been job and ERE related. Not bad, both are partially altruist and partially selfish (a good combo I think), but if Semi-ERE is achieved and nursing career is soon to be placed on the “back-burner”, I need suitable replacement(s).
Recently, after coming to this realization, I feel overwhelmed. I’m rapidly reaching a point in which I can choose to design a life however I see fit, It’s all on me. Earning a little money is required, but it’s a single voice in a chorus of things I want to accomplish. How do I design a system that doesn’t exhaust me socially, so I can keep my feeling of community and relationship with GF? Can I be a nurse at all due to these factors? What if I choose unwisely? What do I want to focus on first? What are the specifics of this design? Do I really have the “balls” and self-direction to take this leap?
I’m just not ready. Unless something changes dramatically in the next few weeks, inertia wins the day. I’m going to try to extend my contract another three months into February 2019. Afterall, I’m more content at the moment, 5/10 isn’t bad, and more financial capital is rarely a bad thing… right?