Author Topic: Design Your Life!  (Read 1789 times)

Moustachienne

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Design Your Life!
« on: January 11, 2019, 08:12:43 PM »
Greetings!  A great discussion about how to best use the time freed up from stopping nonsense consumerism led to the idea that a Design Your Life thread was needed. See https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/unexpected-downside-to-more-conscious-budgeting/ for background.

Please chime in with what's worked or not worked for you in designing your life for maximum happiness and what resources you would recommend to folks wanting to undertake such a design. Or maybe you've found that you're less interested in specific designing and more comfortable with setting up some great autopilot systems (that's where I am right now).  What do those systems look like? And I think there's a particular interest in knowing how people decide to use their time.

The Gauntlet?  Level 1: share some successful or unsuccessful processes and/or outcomes from your experience and learn from others.  Level 2: commit to a design process and share the results (detail level your choice).

Please feel free to link to other threads on this topic as it's a recurring question on this forum, of course.  FI is about creating freedom... and then what?

Some resources from me:
1. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
2. Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition
3. It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond

I found these helpful in (re)discovering my interests in a life post-work. I need to think more about how to articulate the systems I have on autopilot.

wenchsenior

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 08:48:33 AM »
I think I need this thread.

The parent thread really got me thinking... for the most part all I do is work.  And it's work I don't even particularly care about,  nor is the pay good. I got into it for convenience of scheduling, thinking we wouldn't be living in the situation we were for long. Then I stayed in it b/c it allowed me to travel as an escape from said living situation.  But now it's 15+ years later and the situation hasn't changed, but in some ways has gotten even more restrictive.  I travel less than I did, yet I work more, for no more pay than before.

With the onset of adult responsibilities,  family and money issues, and later health problems, I feel like all my bandwidth was gradually consumed until any semblance of the more creative, optimistic, ambitious self of my youth died.  I am not depressed (I have experienced clinical depression several times in my youth and I know for sure that my current mindset is fairly healthy, comparatively) and I regularly think about how many wonderful things I have in my life. I know I'm lucky, and I don't lack for thankfulness. I have many minor daily pleasures. Most days, this is a fine way to live.

But I have so little excitement or real anticipation for anything in my life ever being different, or really fulfilling, or actively positive, or exciting anymore.  I'm not sure if this is normal middle-aged burnout? When I look back on my younger self, it feels like a person I don't know and can barely recognize. I feel like a series of life events (out of my control) gradually shifted me into a nose-to-grindstone default mode that eventually became the primary way I dealt with anxiety.  Over time the habit of working all the time and never expecting anything different has become so entrenched I'm not sure I know how to do anything else, or even daydream about something else.

Also, I've lost some much younger friends to unexpected death in the past year...most recently, just a few days ago.  And that's made me think I MUST figure out a way to change. Life is so short, and 15 years of prime adulthood has passed largely in this tepid, working-at-a-desk blur. 

Ugh. 

Thanks for the book recs.  "Designing your life" is available at the Philly Library on audio.  Unfortunately, I'm now wait-listed at #41 on one copy. Boo.  I might go buy one of the others this weekend.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 08:51:10 AM by wenchsenior »

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 09:18:54 AM »
Thank you for making this! I'll focus for now on my recent (last year) experience of leaving work and taking time off for medical procedures, which is the limbo I'm currently in.

-One, I wanted to get my house more in order. I figured starting outside myself and working my way in was the least scary approach. I'm a fairly tidy person, so it was more a matter of making a plan vs learning how to clean. To do this, I read some blogs and looked up some check lists on pinterest. I still devote a little time to this now and again- it all came very in handy when we sold our house. I scrubbed and staged that MoFo like it was my profession. We went pending 4 days after listing, with 2 offers. (Woo). Right now I'm reading a book a friend recommended, "How to manage your home without losing your mind".
-Most recent 'hobby' has been a renewed focus on my personal health. I'm coming up on IVF#3. [begin irrelevant information] While most of our issues fall under unexplained infertility, we know I have low ovarian reserve for my age, and somewhat poor egg quality. While women are in fact born with all the eggs we'll ever have, they're in a resting state until close to use. This means about 3 months prior to when the eggs are the "batch" selected by your body for the cycle, they begin being built up/activated/whatever. ANYWAY, all this to say that the 3 months before a given cycle, what you do health wise can impact your egg quality. Also on top of all this, I ended my last transfer and resulting miscarriage 12 lbs up from my pre-IVF#2 weight, so I want to get back to my baseline before adding more hormones. I'm also incredibly deconditioned from months of surgeries and not being able to twist my core [end irrelevant information]. I've been trying to attack wellness from as many angles as I can. This means: yoga. Currently just 'gentle' classes, twice per week, but I'm working up to normal classes. I'm also doing home gym workouts, aiming for twice per week. I'm also doing therapy once per week also. And of course, more focus on food. I'm not drinking at all this year until, at a minimum after IVF#3 (March), but possibly longer. Not drinking also opens up a lot of this time and restlessness we were talking about in the original thread.

An interesting point is that this second pursuit is of limited time or scope. One way or another, my infertility 'journey' will likely be over this year. Either with an ongoing pregnancy, or with running out of embryos and moving toward a child free life. So the "what next" is a question I'll need to answer at some point.

All this being said, I still have a lot of downtime. Too much of it goes to YouTube- even though I try to watch interesting content like SciShow or PBS eons or Vox, it still isn't how I'd like to be spending *so much* time. This is why I need this thread!

Really looking forward to other people's thoughts and experiences. Once I'm through this batch of books, I may move on to the resources on the OP!

Linda_Norway

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 10:00:25 AM »
I wrote this into the original thread:

I notice that when I develop a new hobby, I often go all in for it. I read everything there is to read about it and join forums in the languages I can read and write. As well as start praticing the hobby. After an often steep learning curve, you will soon become pretty good at the theory, and practice. Than you can start helping others on the forums.
This provides me a lot of time online, and something to do when I am outdoors, praticing the hobby.

Therefore I want to suggest you find some sort of hobby, get the tools (used) and dive into the theory of it. Find a local club for it as well, so you will get social contacts. After some time, if it would stop being challenging, find something new.

Both DH and I do this, already before FIRE. Sometimes I even need to slow down on a hobby when another one gets more priority.

I would also set up a list of things you would like to do/visit during FIRE. If you ever get bored, then just pick from your list and start preparing for that.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 05:45:09 AM by Linda_Norway »

Dr Kidstache

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2019, 10:08:43 AM »
Oooh, I like this thread!

I would say I'm still somewhere in the middle of trying to design a new life. Was a workaholic doctor (although did have quite a few hobbies in the work hard/play hard vein). Became unexpectedly disabled from an injury 3 years ago. I lost my doctor identity, my career and ability to work, and my ability to do most of my hobbies in one fell swoop. Because of the nature of my disability, I have to spend a lot of time at home and resting and that impacts the type of hobbies and daily structure that I think about.

I've had a number of different strategies to trying to design my life 2.0. I don't think I have any particular wisdom and feel like I'm still very much muddling along.

1) I allow myself to try and quit lots of different hobbies. I honestly can't remember all the things that I've tried over the past 3 years - things like reading all the great books, drawing, knitting, etc. A few have stuck, most haven't. One rule that I have is that I don't assume that I won't like an activity just because the old version of me wouldn't like it. I just keep trying new stuff. One of my favorite activities these days is playing cards with a group of seniors in my neighborhood. Old me wouldn't have even considered trying it and I would have lost out on getting to know many lovely people and having a structured social activity gentle enough for me to participate in.

2) I quit being particularly Mustachian (gasp!). Partly because being disabled is expensive & my decision-making isn't as sharp as it used to be (ended up making some really bizarre decisions in attempts to be more Mustachian). But mostly because I decided that optimizing my quality of life was goal #1 in designing a new life. There's a lot about my life that sucks so I want the parts of it that I can enjoy to be as enjoyable as possible. I don't spend money/shop as entertainment. I only spend money on things that bring me value. And I still have a 50% savings rate despite what seems to be insanely lavish spending to support my new life.  I moved to an expensive resort town because it's easier to be outdoors, offers great adaptive recreation opportunities, and is disability-friendly. I buy any sports gear I want if it lets me pursue outdoor activities (my favorite). I travel to or host friends whenever I am able (including buying an RV which finally made it possible for me to visit more people since my injury). I bought a piano, some simple home gym equipment, etc all to support the activities that I enjoy. I spend what I spend if it matters to my quality of life now.

3) I practice self-compassion. In the early days, I did this alot with guided meditation practices. Nowadays it's a bit more automatic. Having been a doctor and lifelong compulsive type A person, I can be really hard on myself because I feel guilty that I don't do more. That I sometimes have to spend days at a time just resting and can't muster the energy to leave the house. That I'm not saving the world or having a grand purpose. I feel shame that I'm so limited because of my disability and that there should be a way that I can just willpower myself to overcome it. It's all nonsense and I now recognize those feelings when they pop up. It's an ongoing battle but being kind and compassionate to myself has been important in transitioning to a new type of life.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2019, 11:01:32 AM »
3) I practice self-compassion. In the early days, I did this alot with guided meditation practices. Nowadays it's a bit more automatic. Having been a doctor and lifelong compulsive type A person, I can be really hard on myself because I feel guilty that I don't do more. That I sometimes have to spend days at a time just resting and can't muster the energy to leave the house. That I'm not saving the world or having a grand purpose. I feel shame that I'm so limited because of my disability and that there should be a way that I can just willpower myself to overcome it. It's all nonsense and I now recognize those feelings when they pop up. It's an ongoing battle but being kind and compassionate to myself has been important in transitioning to a new type of life.

Nurse here, and these words really struck me. I think I may need to take lessons from you...

Tass

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2019, 11:59:58 AM »
This is on my mind because I'm beginning to think seriously about my post-grad-school career, and I'm trying to take advantage of having this mindset going into the job search rather than discovering dissatisfaction years later.

But in the present moment, I think the biggest life design change I need (and that I have been struggling with for months or years, with some progress) is better focus, which means less internet. I'd like to be better at working when I'm working, relaxing when I'm relaxing, etc. The book that has me thinking hardest about this is Cal Newport's Deep Work, but it's probably not much in the vein of this thread.

I'm also working on biking regularly to work, which I suppose qualifies as designing my life because it makes exercise automatic.

wordnerd

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2019, 12:31:55 PM »
Thanks for this thread! It's something on my mind a lot as I move into a post-work life (and really accept that I am building a post-work life, not just an interlude between work stints). I've put holds on two of the books OP recommended.

What seems to help me is having groups related to my hobbies. It keeps me active in them instead of letting them slide. I like structure, so building in set times I do things with other people keeps me from feeling like I'm drifting. I also have small children, so they need structure and care and that takes up a fair amount of time.

I still waste more time on the internet than I prefer, and I've started watching Netflix on a nearly daily basis, which isn't a great development. But, I'm also trying to let go of the expectation that all time must be used "productively." If I'm meeting my goals and staying happy, then is there really a problem? Or least that's what I'm trying to convince myself. ;)

Pinch of salt

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2019, 01:28:44 PM »
What's helped me is to discover how I spend my time. Basically, I found that I am using time so inefficiently with loads of social media use instead of coming up with hobbies and other things to do, which will eventually become important in FIRE. I used Best Self (https://bestself.co/) for it: being Mustachian though, I downloaded the pdf of the SELF journal instead of spending a whooping $38 on a journal! Please note, I am in no way affiliated with this company, just wanted to share the useful free resource :-)

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2019, 02:00:47 PM »
I did a lot of online research some time ago to try and figure out what I was missing - I was inherently bored and tired, unmotivated and unstimulated.... and paying a lot of games online instead of doing something a bit more productive. Now, I'm not one of those people that can just spew out facts and figures that I once read. For me it's about ideas. Anyhoo, what I discovered is that I'm a person that craves flow state. That's the sweet spot for me. And for that, in the real world and not online gaming, I need to be continually challenged and learning. It doesn't much matter what I'm learning. Could be a new work thing, could be how to make jam. As long as it's something I'm vaguely interested in, learning about it and accomplishing things around that is soul-satisfying for me. I've gone back to all those little things I wanted to do when I was a kid, as well as all those someday-I'd-like-to things. For instance, I always liked the thought of learning to crochet, so I taught myself from youtube vids. It wasn't so simple! And now I can get yarn from thrift stores and I haven't paid for a cool scarves, gloves or ponchos in years. I had a go at learning to sew - yeah not for me but it was entertaining. I learned to paddle board - fun but not something I want to take further like starting races etc. I'm in the market now for something else to try and I'm casting my mind back to things I wanted to do as a kid - violin lessons, horse riding, wanted to learn tennis etc etc. I like the idea of starting a blog, and I know nothing about that.

TL:DR I've identified what I need not to be bored and unmotivated, and I've identified where to go for ideas

Sonos

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2019, 02:05:41 PM »
Following! Have been thinking about this a lot lately. Going to go read the parent thread.

Dr Kidstache

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2019, 03:01:32 PM »
3) I practice self-compassion. In the early days, I did this alot with guided meditation practices. Nowadays it's a bit more automatic. Having been a doctor and lifelong compulsive type A person, I can be really hard on myself because I feel guilty that I don't do more. That I sometimes have to spend days at a time just resting and can't muster the energy to leave the house. That I'm not saving the world or having a grand purpose. I feel shame that I'm so limited because of my disability and that there should be a way that I can just willpower myself to overcome it. It's all nonsense and I now recognize those feelings when they pop up. It's an ongoing battle but being kind and compassionate to myself has been important in transitioning to a new type of life.

Nurse here, and these words really struck me. I think I may need to take lessons from you...

Thanks, @Bracken_Joy, but I don't have any special wisdom. I *wish* it hadn't taken such a horrific event to teach me to be kind of myself. 

Freedomin5

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2019, 03:18:57 PM »
Posting to follow. You all are inspiring.

I've found that over the years, my "plan for maximum happiness/fulfillment" has changed as my priorities have shifted. Therefore, built into the plan is the need to re-evaluate the plan every 3-5 years.

Whenever I find myself starting to feel unfulfilled, unmotivated, uncomfortable, I ask myself a few questions to help me clarify my values and goals for that season:

1. If I can magically take away anything from my life right now, what would I take away? Why would I take that away? How is it causing me pain right now?
2. If the thing(s) I want to take away can't be removed, what would make my life better right now? What can I put into my life to alleviate or mitigate the pain?

I've found that "positive" tasks usually fall into three categories: distraction tasks, problem-solving tasks, and joyful/meaning-making tasks. Some tasks help you feel better becaues they distract you from the painful situation (e.g., alcohol, visualizing being on a beach when you're getting a needle). These are short-term, in-the-moment solutions. Other tasks help you feel better because they help you solve the problem (e.g., changing your mindset, changing the situation). These are longer-term solutions. The third type doesn't just remove pain, it adds joy.

When I'm unhappy with my life situation, I try to focus first on finding problem-solving strategies. However, there are some things in life that can't be solved. E.g., At this particular point in my life, I cannot just stop working. In those situations, I move to distraction/mitigation strategies to make the present more bearable until circumstances change and I can find a more permanent solution.

To be honest, I need to work on building in joyful/meaning-making tasks. Those have been hard for me to find lately, as I've found that being burned out makes it mentally more difficult for me to find joy, even in previously joyful things. And like Dr Kidstache, I am also not particularly Mustachian. I've been experimenting with taking Uber/hiring drivers and greatly inflating my lifestyle (hello, 100% rent increase, multiple international vacations, and increased heating bills) in order to survive.

adamsputnik

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2019, 07:25:58 PM »
I have little to add myself, due to current inertia and apathy, but looking for inspiration.

Tass

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2019, 08:10:42 PM »
What seems to help me is having groups related to my hobbies. It keeps me active in them instead of letting them slide. I like structure, so building in set times I do things with other people keeps me from feeling like I'm drifting.

I've been struggling with this recently. I've been part of a community orchestra for several years that runs from 7-10pm once a week. I often dread attending, mostly because of the time commitment. My aforementioned bike commute works best if I get up early, so this throws off my sleep schedule every Monday. Every two months or so, I have to commit 12-14 hours in one week to dress rehearsals and concerts. And my actual enjoyment of it varies; sometimes I love it, sometimes I grit my teeth and get through it, depending on the current repertoire. Also, I theoretically pay for this privilege, though I always choose the option to volunteer away my membership fee. At least there's a snack break.

But this is also my only opportunity to play my instrument with others. I double majored in music in college, and I know from that that I find playing a lot more fulfilling with rigorous practice - something I currently do zero of. I'm a PhD student and the prospect of finding several hours a week, and the self-motivation, to spend on this is daunting. While orchestra is inconvenient, it forces me to play regularly, if not rigorously (see quoted material about structure). Quitting would feel like quitting on my 16 years of experience playing this instrument. Also, playing exclusively solo stuff isn't my favorite, though it's fine.

Haven't figured out the best way to design this one yet.

FIRE Artist

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2019, 08:11:50 PM »
I have a journal which lists things I want to get up to when I FIRE.  I add to it as ideas come to me.  I will not be bored that is for sure.

I have actively started to design my post work life.  I am going to night school for an art certificate and have decided that I will most likely go back to school post FIRE to get a fine arts degree, maybe even go onto a masters degree.  I intend to spend the majority of my FIRE time being an artist.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2019, 08:35:15 AM »
I did this in high school in a class, and just remembered it. http://freshtakeoncontent.com/wheel-of-life-goals/ I think I'll work on this today at some point, to clarify where I think I should put some more work in for the life designing =) The one we did in school, we gave each 'spoke' a 1-10 rating, like a pie chart with variable radii, so you can see how balanced or unbalanced the elements of your life are.

This is an example one, I haven't put mine together yet.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2019, 08:38:50 AM »
I lvoe this idea. And FIRE Artist I need to follow your journal - I am also an artist in Canada with a corporate job who will be retiring sometime 2022-ish. I've been thinking about going back to school for my Masters in Fine Art when I retire. And travel. And paint. And who knows what else!

One concept I've come across recently is something on a site called Raptitude - he talks about the concept of doing a Depth Year. I am going to try this this year. It's very moustachian - the idea is not trying any new hobbies or buying any new things for the sake of wanderlust, but instead, actually going deeper into the hobbies and habits already started. I think many people in our culture (myself included) tend to try a new hobby, buy all the things for that hobby, read all the books, do the thing for a little while, and then move on to the next thing. I have done this with art and craft projects - I'm always noticing what others are doing and thinking "ooh I'd love to try that!" Knitting, crochet, soap making, baking, making jewelry, mold making, etc. Meanwhile I am not doing the things I have already started in the past, and have a relatively medium-depth skill for already, that I could easily deepen, such as painting, writing, and photography. If I choose just one of those things, there is surely enough I could learn over the course of a year to deepen my skills. Instead of moving on to something new all the time, it does make sense to stick to one of the things I've already started, and further those hobbies.

I'm going to check out the books listed above as well.

ETA links:

https://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/

https://www.raptitude.com/2018/12/why-the-depth-year-was-my-best-year/
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 08:45:28 AM by Mmm_Donuts »

Moustachienne

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2019, 10:13:41 AM »
What a lot of great ideas here!  I debated which category to put this thread under as it's such a large and lifelong "gauntlet" to create meaning and satisfaction in our lives.  More of a "journey" than a one action challenge. 

For many of us on this forum, eliminating or at least dialing down how we waste money and time will mean that we will have a surplus of both to spend.  Mustachianism Level 2 is figuring out how to spend them well. We are lucky people in lucky countries to get to engage with this challenge!

When I was working I found the Getting Things Done approach really helpful in moving me towards goals one Next Action at a time.  That is, after I set large goals, e.g. launch a certain project, I created very specific next steps kept me moving forward.  Doing created momentum and meaning.  It also helped with motivation.

Now that I'm retired and my time and goals are my own (gulp!) I find that I'm taking a somewhat similar approach.  I have some large interests or themes in mind and I set up actions towards them.  I no longer need to be "productive" in the same way (yay!) so I've found my Actions can be broader and not time limited.  I've found I do still need some daily structure though or like many on here, I can slip into mindless screen time or other low value activities, just as I did to destress when I worked. Which is fine in low doses. It's my Inner Rebel refusing to grow up and that's fine. :)

I have interests rather than hobbies, something that worried me before retiring as I watched my hobbyist husband absorb himself in his activities.  But it has worked out great!  I've always been interested in reading, languages, people, culture, exploring the city, and general mooning around. I am having a bit of a Depth Year (great concept) and I often combine the themes, e.g. visit art shows with friends or tutor reading with children in my second language which I revitalized through immersion courses. Recently I decided to get back into swimming and took lessons with a friend.   

Reading about others experiences on this thread and thinking about my own, I'm reasonably satisfied with how I spend my time and what I spend it on. Huh - that's a good realization.


Poundwise

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2019, 11:39:04 AM »
I know that many of you have heard about this book before, but when I first read it many years ago, a lightbulb went off in my head.  While I am still not where I want to be, at least I am making somewhat conscious choices about the direction of my life, and am aware when I am making tradeoffs (for instance, when caring for family members moves career fulfillment out of its priority, I know that it is because I wanted to do it this way.)  https://www.amazon.com/Control-Your-Time-Life-Signet/dp/0451167724

Moustachienne

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2019, 11:50:36 AM »
Just popping back to say that I've had a look at the Raptitude links and they are GOLD!   Interesting but not at all surprising to see that David Corn's blogroll includes MMM.

I lvoe this idea. And FIRE Artist I need to follow your journal - I am also an artist in Canada with a corporate job who will be retiring sometime 2022-ish. I've been thinking about going back to school for my Masters in Fine Art when I retire. And travel. And paint. And who knows what else!

One concept I've come across recently is something on a site called Raptitude - he talks about the concept of doing a Depth Year. I am going to try this this year. It's very moustachian - the idea is not trying any new hobbies or buying any new things for the sake of wanderlust, but instead, actually going deeper into the hobbies and habits already started. I think many people in our culture (myself included) tend to try a new hobby, buy all the things for that hobby, read all the books, do the thing for a little while, and then move on to the next thing. I have done this with art and craft projects - I'm always noticing what others are doing and thinking "ooh I'd love to try that!" Knitting, crochet, soap making, baking, making jewelry, mold making, etc. Meanwhile I am not doing the things I have already started in the past, and have a relatively medium-depth skill for already, that I could easily deepen, such as painting, writing, and photography. If I choose just one of those things, there is surely enough I could learn over the course of a year to deepen my skills. Instead of moving on to something new all the time, it does make sense to stick to one of the things I've already started, and further those hobbies.

I'm going to check out the books listed above as well.

ETA links:

https://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/

https://www.raptitude.com/2018/12/why-the-depth-year-was-my-best-year/

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2019, 01:25:29 PM »
I did this in high school in a class, and just remembered it. http://freshtakeoncontent.com/wheel-of-life-goals/ I think I'll work on this today at some point, to clarify where I think I should put some more work in for the life designing =) The one we did in school, we gave each 'spoke' a 1-10 rating, like a pie chart with variable radii, so you can see how balanced or unbalanced the elements of your life are.

This is an example one, I haven't put mine together yet.

Well this was depressing. Not surprising though. The biggest negative impact on my life right now comes from social and work. But at least I learned how to program radar charts and install new fonts! Those hipster e's will always be there for me.



Edited to add credit for the font to Lauren Thompson/Nymphont.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 01:45:04 PM by MonkeyJenga »

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2019, 01:33:25 PM »
I did this in high school in a class, and just remembered it. http://freshtakeoncontent.com/wheel-of-life-goals/ I think I'll work on this today at some point, to clarify where I think I should put some more work in for the life designing =) The one we did in school, we gave each 'spoke' a 1-10 rating, like a pie chart with variable radii, so you can see how balanced or unbalanced the elements of your life are.

This is an example one, I haven't put mine together yet.

Well this was depressing. Not surprising though. The biggest negative impact on my life right now comes from social and work. But at least I learned how to program radar charts and install new fonts! Those hipster e's will always be there for me.



RADAR CHARTS! Ah, thank you. I was driving myself bonkers, I kept thinking 'radio charts' then couldn't find it.

Yeah, I still haven't done this today and it's slightly because I've been out doing things (good) and slightly because I don't really want to see the degree of unbalance (not so good).

Tass

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2019, 02:11:26 PM »
How are you guys making these neato radar charts?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2019, 02:34:02 PM »
How are you guys making these neato radar charts?

Haven't made mine yet, but have this how to pulled up: https://www.wallstreetmojo.com/radar-chart-in-excel/

But TBH, I might just hand draw it. Get that creativity score up ;)

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2019, 02:47:20 PM »
How are you guys making these neato radar charts?

I made mine in R, a stats and data viz language. It counts as Learning for me since I've only been working in it for a few weeks.

If you want, I can make yours the same way!

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2019, 05:44:58 PM »
I need the ideas in this thread as I'm drifting away my days reading the internet.  Really great ideas so far!  I am intrigued by the idea of mapping which areas are out of balance (and also a bit freaked out at what it might show me).

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2019, 10:25:17 PM »
What seems to help me is having groups related to my hobbies. It keeps me active in them instead of letting them slide. I like structure, so building in set times I do things with other people keeps me from feeling like I'm drifting.

I've been struggling with this recently. I've been part of a community orchestra for several years that runs from 7-10pm once a week. I often dread attending, mostly because of the time commitment. My aforementioned bike commute works best if I get up early, so this throws off my sleep schedule every Monday. Every two months or so, I have to commit 12-14 hours in one week to dress rehearsals and concerts. And my actual enjoyment of it varies; sometimes I love it, sometimes I grit my teeth and get through it, depending on the current repertoire. Also, I theoretically pay for this privilege, though I always choose the option to volunteer away my membership fee. At least there's a snack break.

But this is also my only opportunity to play my instrument with others. I double majored in music in college, and I know from that that I find playing a lot more fulfilling with rigorous practice - something I currently do zero of. I'm a PhD student and the prospect of finding several hours a week, and the self-motivation, to spend on this is daunting. While orchestra is inconvenient, it forces me to play regularly, if not rigorously (see quoted material about structure). Quitting would feel like quitting on my 16 years of experience playing this instrument. Also, playing exclusively solo stuff isn't my favorite, though it's fine.

Haven't figured out the best way to design this one yet.

How about putting together a small ensemble that meets weekly at a more convenient time and location? Could you even make a side gig out of it by occasionally hiring out to play at weddings or similar? Unless you play an instrument less conducive to this format, such as kettledrums, of course. :)

FIRE Artist

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2019, 08:19:05 AM »
I lvoe this idea. And FIRE Artist I need to follow your journal - I am also an artist in Canada with a corporate job who will be retiring sometime 2022-ish. I've been thinking about going back to school for my Masters in Fine Art when I retire. And travel. And paint. And who knows what else!

One concept I've come across recently is something on a site called Raptitude - he talks about the concept of doing a Depth Year. I am going to try this this year. It's very moustachian - the idea is not trying any new hobbies or buying any new things for the sake of wanderlust, but instead, actually going deeper into the hobbies and habits already started. I think many people in our culture (myself included) tend to try a new hobby, buy all the things for that hobby, read all the books, do the thing for a little while, and then move on to the next thing. I have done this with art and craft projects - I'm always noticing what others are doing and thinking "ooh I'd love to try that!" Knitting, crochet, soap making, baking, making jewelry, mold making, etc. Meanwhile I am not doing the things I have already started in the past, and have a relatively medium-depth skill for already, that I could easily deepen, such as painting, writing, and photography. If I choose just one of those things, there is surely enough I could learn over the course of a year to deepen my skills. Instead of moving on to something new all the time, it does make sense to stick to one of the things I've already started, and further those hobbies.

I'm going to check out the books listed above as well.

ETA links:

https://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/

https://www.raptitude.com/2018/12/why-the-depth-year-was-my-best-year/

I really like the depth year idea, it is something I have been trying to implement for the last 15 years.  When I was an expat, I reduced my studio to only one art form for ease of moving internationally, and also to make the most of my limited spare time.  I am now staying put in one house, have eased the reigns a bit, but still try to keep focus on what my main intent for art making is.  I am comfortable with this lack of diversity, and have successfully dodged temptation for taking on new things like sculpture, encaustic etc. 

I like those radar charts, I need to make one.  There are categories that I am aware that I am distinctly lacking in, but also I question if humans actually need to have all areas balanced all the time.  As an introvert, I know that I don't have the energy for work, social life and volunteering to be balanced all at the same time.  Those are all what I would consider extrovert categories.  I know that once the Work bucket can finally be emptied, my energy can be diverted into the social and volunteering buckets.  I have a hard enough time making sure I go out and be social with my friends enough today, I don't want to add volunteering to the list, but that is definitely something I see myself doing a few hours a week post FIRE. 

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2019, 09:13:54 AM »
Posting to follow!

Tass

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2019, 12:31:59 PM »
How about putting together a small ensemble that meets weekly at a more convenient time and location? Could you even make a side gig out of it by occasionally hiring out to play at weddings or similar? Unless you play an instrument less conducive to this format, such as kettledrums, of course. :)

This is probably the closest I can get to what I want. I would be nervous about taking on that responsibility during grad school, so it's more something I've considered for the future - but maybe that's the kind of excuse that doesn't belong in this thread? I am in a summer orchestra that fits my schedule better, so maybe I should at least acknowledge that quitting wouldn't remove EVERY opportunity from my life. I appreciate the suggestion! I'll have to mull it over.

I play the viola, and I've been a part of string quartets at weddings in the past. It can be a good gig!

Poundwise

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2019, 01:39:23 PM »
How about putting together a small ensemble that meets weekly at a more convenient time and location? Could you even make a side gig out of it by occasionally hiring out to play at weddings or similar? Unless you play an instrument less conducive to this format, such as kettledrums, of course. :)

This is probably the closest I can get to what I want. I would be nervous about taking on that responsibility during grad school, so it's more something I've considered for the future - but maybe that's the kind of excuse that doesn't belong in this thread? I am in a summer orchestra that fits my schedule better, so maybe I should at least acknowledge that quitting wouldn't remove EVERY opportunity from my life. I appreciate the suggestion! I'll have to mull it over.

I play the viola, and I've been a part of string quartets at weddings in the past. It can be a good gig!

The way I'd approach this would be to decide what time of week would be best for rehearsals for me.  Then I'd put out the word in the orchestra that I was looking for people interested in joining a small ensemble who could make that time for, say, a six week trial, with the goal being enjoyment and the occasional gig. Maybe other members of the ensemble could help finding performance venues or gigs. Since you're in school, you could probably take advantage of the music library to find pieces you like.

If it works out, you could quit the orchestra at the end of the season, and keep the summer orchestra. 

My husband and I used to play musical instruments. Coincidentally, we just volunteered to provide music at church so we will be forced to practice, and will have the chance to perform every season! However, I'm not sure that this corresponds to a designed life. We do too much volunteering as it is... but this will probably be enjoyable.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 01:44:10 PM by Poundwise »

Tass

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2019, 01:47:18 PM »
You inspired me to look up the organization that runs the summer orchestra, and it turns out they have a chamber music club. It's for pre-formed ensembles, so not an immediate solution, but they have a concert coming up this Sunday. I figure I'll drop by, see what it's about, and maybe put out feelers about how to find other interested people. :)

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2019, 06:33:56 PM »
I lvoe this idea. And FIRE Artist I need to follow your journal - I am also an artist in Canada with a corporate job who will be retiring sometime 2022-ish. I've been thinking about going back to school for my Masters in Fine Art when I retire. And travel. And paint. And who knows what else!

One concept I've come across recently is something on a site called Raptitude - he talks about the concept of doing a Depth Year. I am going to try this this year. It's very moustachian - the idea is not trying any new hobbies or buying any new things for the sake of wanderlust, but instead, actually going deeper into the hobbies and habits already started. I think many people in our culture (myself included) tend to try a new hobby, buy all the things for that hobby, read all the books, do the thing for a little while, and then move on to the next thing. I have done this with art and craft projects - I'm always noticing what others are doing and thinking "ooh I'd love to try that!" Knitting, crochet, soap making, baking, making jewelry, mold making, etc. Meanwhile I am not doing the things I have already started in the past, and have a relatively medium-depth skill for already, that I could easily deepen, such as painting, writing, and photography. If I choose just one of those things, there is surely enough I could learn over the course of a year to deepen my skills. Instead of moving on to something new all the time, it does make sense to stick to one of the things I've already started, and further those hobbies.

I'm going to check out the books listed above as well.

ETA links:

https://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/

https://www.raptitude.com/2018/12/why-the-depth-year-was-my-best-year/

I really like the depth year idea, it is something I have been trying to implement for the last 15 years.  When I was an expat, I reduced my studio to only one art form for ease of moving internationally, and also to make the most of my limited spare time.  I am now staying put in one house, have eased the reigns a bit, but still try to keep focus on what my main intent for art making is.  I am comfortable with this lack of diversity, and have successfully dodged temptation for taking on new things like sculpture, encaustic etc. 

I like those radar charts, I need to make one.  There are categories that I am aware that I am distinctly lacking in, but also I question if humans actually need to have all areas balanced all the time.  As an introvert, I know that I don't have the energy for work, social life and volunteering to be balanced all at the same time.  Those are all what I would consider extrovert categories.  I know that once the Work bucket can finally be emptied, my energy can be diverted into the social and volunteering buckets.  I have a hard enough time making sure I go out and be social with my friends enough today, I don't want to add volunteering to the list, but that is definitely something I see myself doing a few hours a week post FIRE.

Love these ideas.
My SO & I just finished a no-shopping year and during that time were encouraged to use what we already have (especially since we couldn't buy anything new/used/etc). So we read books from our shelves (and the library), and shopped in our basement.
I sent him those links from above and now we might adopt this as our 2019 project..the year of depth. He can continue improving his musical and guitar skills, I will delve more into my artwork.

Just today I finished reading Deep Work by Cal Newton which aligns with this nicely (although written with a business/work perspective, I am finding it immediately applicable for the creative process as well)

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2019, 04:02:57 AM »
I think I need this thread.

The parent thread really got me thinking... for the most part all I do is work.  And it's work I don't even particularly care about,  nor is the pay good. I got into it for convenience of scheduling, thinking we wouldn't be living in the situation we were for long. Then I stayed in it b/c it allowed me to travel as an escape from said living situation.  But now it's 15+ years later and the situation hasn't changed, but in some ways has gotten even more restrictive.  I travel less than I did, yet I work more, for no more pay than before.

With the onset of adult responsibilities,  family and money issues, and later health problems, I feel like all my bandwidth was gradually consumed until any semblance of the more creative, optimistic, ambitious self of my youth died.  I am not depressed (I have experienced clinical depression several times in my youth and I know for sure that my current mindset is fairly healthy, comparatively) and I regularly think about how many wonderful things I have in my life. I know I'm lucky, and I don't lack for thankfulness. I have many minor daily pleasures. Most days, this is a fine way to live.

But I have so little excitement or real anticipation for anything in my life ever being different, or really fulfilling, or actively positive, or exciting anymore.  I'm not sure if this is normal middle-aged burnout? When I look back on my younger self, it feels like a person I don't know and can barely recognize. I feel like a series of life events (out of my control) gradually shifted me into a nose-to-grindstone default mode that eventually became the primary way I dealt with anxiety.  Over time the habit of working all the time and never expecting anything different has become so entrenched I'm not sure I know how to do anything else, or even daydream about something else.

Also, I've lost some much younger friends to unexpected death in the past year...most recently, just a few days ago.  And that's made me think I MUST figure out a way to change. Life is so short, and 15 years of prime adulthood has passed largely in this tepid, working-at-a-desk blur. 

Ugh. 

Thanks for the book recs.  "Designing your life" is available at the Philly Library on audio.  Unfortunately, I'm now wait-listed at #41 on one copy. Boo.  I might go buy one of the others this weekend.
I found so much of myself in this post. Last year I started a telephone therapy service offered by my health insurance and they sent me a booklet with information on some of depression, anxiety, burnout and that kind of thing. Actually reading the differences between depression and burnout managed to really switch something in my head - it had been strange to struggle like I was kind of feeling depressed while also knowing that I wasn't actually depressed (or at least not the way I know it from before).

One of the things I'm trying to do is to say no to things, even things that sound interesting.* I know that I currently have enough on my plate so even those interesting things will just have to wait. At the same time, I am trying to incorporate some time into my week that I can use for something creative/something that actually gives me energy rather than draining me. I had some success with writing appointments for this in my diary a couple of months ago and have started to do that again.



*I live in a university town and there are so many interesting lectures to go to and things to do, I could be out every evening and creating a new list of ten books I want to read every day.

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2019, 12:48:06 PM »
I lvoe this idea. And FIRE Artist I need to follow your journal - I am also an artist in Canada with a corporate job who will be retiring sometime 2022-ish. I've been thinking about going back to school for my Masters in Fine Art when I retire. And travel. And paint. And who knows what else!

One concept I've come across recently is something on a site called Raptitude - he talks about the concept of doing a Depth Year. I am going to try this this year. It's very moustachian - the idea is not trying any new hobbies or buying any new things for the sake of wanderlust, but instead, actually going deeper into the hobbies and habits already started. I think many people in our culture (myself included) tend to try a new hobby, buy all the things for that hobby, read all the books, do the thing for a little while, and then move on to the next thing. I have done this with art and craft projects - I'm always noticing what others are doing and thinking "ooh I'd love to try that!" Knitting, crochet, soap making, baking, making jewelry, mold making, etc. Meanwhile I am not doing the things I have already started in the past, and have a relatively medium-depth skill for already, that I could easily deepen, such as painting, writing, and photography. If I choose just one of those things, there is surely enough I could learn over the course of a year to deepen my skills. Instead of moving on to something new all the time, it does make sense to stick to one of the things I've already started, and further those hobbies.

I'm going to check out the books listed above as well.

ETA links:

https://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/

https://www.raptitude.com/2018/12/why-the-depth-year-was-my-best-year/

Ooooh! I'm going to do this for 2019! I may need a depth decade just to finish unfinished projects, rekindle old friendships, and read unread books on the shelf, but a year is a good start.

I did this in high school in a class, and just remembered it. http://freshtakeoncontent.com/wheel-of-life-goals/ I think I'll work on this today at some point, to clarify where I think I should put some more work in for the life designing =) The one we did in school, we gave each 'spoke' a 1-10 rating, like a pie chart with variable radii, so you can see how balanced or unbalanced the elements of your life are.

This is an example one, I haven't put mine together yet.

Categories I should focus most on by far: Social Life and Exercise.


As for life design, I feel I do ok from a medium-term perspective. I get a goal and I figure out how to get there step by step. The problem is that I have SO MANY goals and they often seem conflicting, so from a long term perspective I'm jumping around between different objectives like a ping pong ball. There's not a lot of focus.

I've tried to create this focus and at least I'm aware of it's lacking, but the different goals are all so strongly important to me that the thought of setting any one aside is painful. They do fluctuate over time which makes it easy to focus in the short and sometimes medium term.

Top things on the life design plan right now are
-Sell rental house
-Sell house
-Fitness

Poundwise

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Re: Design Your Life!
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2019, 06:48:16 PM »
You inspired me to look up the organization that runs the summer orchestra, and it turns out they have a chamber music club. It's for pre-formed ensembles, so not an immediate solution, but they have a concert coming up this Sunday. I figure I'll drop by, see what it's about, and maybe put out feelers about how to find other interested people. :)

Great, that sounds really cool! Small groups can be so much more satisfying than the large ones, though each has their place...