Alone in the World Together

IMG_5019I’ve been taking some more steps towards my goal in becoming a minimalist. It’s taking me years but it’s my journey and I’m doing it at the pace that works for me. Anyway, I’m clearing out the garage. Some of these boxes have been sealed since 2009. It’s been interesting seeing certain things and wondering “why did I ever waste my money on this?” Other things have brought me joy, and brought on waves of nostalgia. It’s amazing, the things which seem to bring me joy are the little things. Pictures of family and friends, cards and letters from family and friends, and other little momentous. On the surface they have no monetary value but scream love and caring.

I found a piece of paper on which I wrote an excerpt from a book I read back in 1992. It must have touched something in me then for me to have taken the time to write it down and annotate the date that I copied it. I was touched deeply reading it again and realized what it says still applies today.

Excerpt from The Moon and Sixpence – W. Somerset Maugham (copyright 1919)

(Each one of us is alone in the World. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.
We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener’s aunt is in the house.)

I can’t say I remember exactly what caused to want to remember this. What I can say right now, today, after reading it again is that it made me think of current social media. We are all out here “side by side but not together.” We say a lot but do we understand each other? Are we “unable to know our fellows?” and do we remain “unknown by them?” I know my “brain is seething with ideas.” I keep ninety-nine point nine percent of my ideas /thoughts to myself because I know it’s not possible to have discussions just for the sake of having a discussion. In my experience it seems everyone has an agenda or thinks everyone else has an agenda. Therefore, because of this we hide from each other and “are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual.”

“We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them.” However I’m going to speak on one of the pleasures of my heart. I want to be able to sit around (with other people) in a room with big comfortable furniture. Surrounded by books, the smell of incense burning, eating pound cake and finger sandwiches, and drinking wine and coffee. Where no one has a chip on their shoulders and we talk about everything and nothing because no one has anything to prove to each other or the world. Instead of being “lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.” We can lay our souls bare without fear of judgment and really get to know each.

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In the Moment

I’m trying something new. I’ve started to jot down on paper ideas that pop into my head. This composition happened yesterday while I was outside planting some rose cuttings. I took off my garden gloves  went inside. Grabbed a notebook, wrote it down then returned to my task. Please tell me your thoughts. What came to mind when you read it? What feelings did it invoke in you?

In the moment

The party always ends,
does that mean you should not attend?

Do not pick of the unripe or rotting fruit,
there are opportune moments when the time is right.

Do you enjoy the rain with your rain gear on,
or curse the weather because you are unprepared?

Splash in the gullies, play in the mud.
Let your guard down, get drenched in the rain.

Look out for rainbows when you are all done.
The pleasure is flitting but so worth your while.

Helpful Money Hints…things that worked for me

This started out as a status update for Facebook but I decided to turn it into a blog entry when it got so long.

I don’t think I’m the best person to give financial advise but I was told by a few people maybe I should share some of the ways I’ve saved for my “early” retirement. If it helps anyone then that would be great. If it just goes in one ear and out the other at least I know I put it out there. Everything I’m about to say has already been said by a million and one people before. Wish I had started as soon as I began earning a paycheck…but hear goes.

1. Save at least 10% of everything you earn (even though it’s just $10)

2. If your employer offers a 401k plan or a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), contribute at least 10% whether or not they match it. If you feel you cannot start at 10%, start at 3% and increase it by 1% every year until you get to at least 10%.

3. Contribute the maximum allowable to a Roth IRA annually.

4. Pay with cash as much as possible. If you do pay with credit cards to get the rewards (travel miles, cash back etc.,) pay off the balance when the bill arrives.

5. Save up for big purchases.

6. Build an emergency fund of at least three months living expenses.

7. If you have more money to invest after you’ve done all of that and taken care of your regular living expenses open a separate investment portfolio than your retirement portfolio (Roth IRA, TSP etc.,). You can always sell some stocks or mutual funds if you need to in case of an emergency and because you shouldn’t touch those until you are 59 & 1/2 years old. Also you can only contribute earned income to those types of accounts (if you stop earning money you will no longer be able to add to those accounts). These accounts will still keep working for you, earning dividends etc., you just won’t be able to add to them.

8. Increase the deductible on your car, home owners, rental insurance etc., and keep that amount in a liquid account in case you need it. It is not worth paying all that extra premium for a $200 deductible.

Finding My Passion

A little while back I posted the following on my Facebook page:

I read and hear this all the time: “The risks we don’t take are the ones we will regret. And the first step to any achievement is to find the courage to take a risk, do what you love, and commit to your goal.” Now I just need to figure out what I love.

Today I found this site (15 questions to help you find your passion) while I was searching for something totally different. Is this a push in the right direction? I have not answered the questions because I don’t know yet how to answer some of them. I’m sure the answers are somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. Just like the names of all the people I used to know when I was younger whom I haven’t seen since we were kids but all of a sudden I’m supposed to recognize them. Give me a picture of what you looked like when I  last saw and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll you remember you then.  I don’t expect you to remember me. Why I should I feel bad that you remember me and I don’t remember you. Could it be you remember me because I haven’t grown an inch since you last saw me? I’m still the short person you used to know. I still have acne and look the same. Ok, I gained a few pounds. (I didn’t want to mention that but there it is.) Whereas you are now a giant. I wanted to grow, I promise. I just didn’t. I’ve made it easy for you. I didn’t change much. Please cut me some slack and just tell me who you are. Don’t make me guess.

What was I saying before I ran off on a tangent? Oh! I think this site was sent to me to help me find my passion. I’ll bookmark the link and answer the questions when I have the answers. I’ll let you guys know what I come up with, If I ever do come up with the answers. Take a look at the site and look at the questions, maybe they can help you if you are trying to figure out your passion.