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Simplifying

I used to think that life would not be as much fun if there weren't a lot of things going on. I felt that there was this need to fill every hour or every minute with something. I always felt the need to always have something to do. Now I've changed my mind and cherish the simplicity of many things and sometimes, nothingness. It's so liberating to feel no pressure to always be doing something. It's also very liberating to be able to enjoy life in a natural pace. It also means I can enjoy life more and focus on the things that matter.



Being alone for the past three months has taught me a lot. I've understood myself more, found out more about myself than I would ever have if I filled it with activities. I miss my wife and daughter dearly as I await their coming over to Australia from their vacation in the Philippines. I've learned that what keeps me going are just a few things:


  • Being able to make a difference in the world makes me wake up every morning. My work allows me to do this. It brings me so much joy that I do what I do in the company that I do it with. There's such a sense of scale and accomplishment when you get things done that affect a lot of people's lives and experiences.
  • Being able to provide for my family to secure our future sustains me. I do what I do because I love it and because it allows me to secure my family's well being in the long term.
  • Being able to enjoy life fully for a long time to come keeps me disciplined and focused. Because I want to have a long and prosperous life doing what I do and being with my family, this makes me look after my health and well being.

I promised three months ago that I would let people know when I'm debt free. This is that message. I've learned a lot in the process of eroding all the debts I've owed to people and financial institutions and that's this: life without debt is much simpler and more enjoyable than one where you do. Now it's a simple decision on whether to buy something or to spend money on something: do I need it or do I just want it?

I look at the closet of clothes I have and I keep thinking to myself, do I really need to have four jackets, four sweaters, three jeans, countless shirts, etc.? I have way too much clothing to justify buying more -- except now actually I need to get clothes that actually fit me. More on that later. I should really go through all the clothes I own and see whether I can donate some of them to people who don't nearly have enough clothes. That might be a good weekend project.

There's very little I spend money on now: transportation, nutrition, and discretionary. There's the occasional night out with workmates because something special was happening. There's the commute to and from work. Of course there's the food and supplements I take to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I occasionally pig out on some indulgences (I'm a sucker for pizza and pasta).

In this process of simplifying my routines and life in general I'm able to spend more time doing things that are important to me. There's the open source project. There's the writing. The reading. When my wife and daughter are around, there's them.

I now don't watch any TV -- but I do watch podcasts which serve as both entertainment and intellectual exercise. I run a lot more now (I've done two 10km runs in the span of two weeks). I also get a lot more sleep. I eat a lot less and I weigh quite a bit less too.

Last report I made I was at 88kg -- now I'm teetering between 86.5 and 87. I'm trying to get to 85 by the end of March but I won't be disappointed in myself if I don't. Maybe <80kg by the end of the year will also be achievable too. Unfortunately the 6-packs aren't there yet but hopefully by the next Australian summer I'll have the vanity muscles to show off too just to see if I can achieve that. I'm actually looking forward to how my wife will react when she sees me thinner than I've ever been since she's known me.

All in all I've simplified a lot. I'm getting a better handle on the things I like to do, what I don't like to do, and what I will keep doing because it makes me happy. There's also the things that I used to think I needed but now I realize I just want. My appetite has also simplified and I usually just go for a turkey wrap even though what's on the buffet line is usually a lot more enticing than turkey meat, avocados, Dijon mustard, olive oil, hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese slices, wrapped in a tortilla, toasted on a panini press, then salted and peppered to taste.

So hopefully you'll find some inspiration in my sharing these simplification steps I've been taking. I'll share more when I feel like there's something worth sharing again.

Cheers

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