I was thinking on how I came about to living my current lifestyle. Surely, the things that I have and the work that I do must be a projection of what and how I think. It also reflects a lot of deliberate choices that I made to arrive at this juncture.
While I was wondering about this, I thought about how we make decisions about what we do and the environment we live in:
- We figure out where and when we can be most gainfully employed
- Then we plan our living quarters, financing, family and adjust our quality of life around it
I believe #2 – which pertains to the quality of life; should be defined first. We should precisely define the kind of life we want to live. This includes the things that we want to do (not tomorrow, but today), people we want to enjoy, the ideas we want to subscribe to, the philosophy we want to guide our life by and the legacy we want to leave our kids.
Only then, we should commit to a full time work engagement, plan our office, choose our significant other and set expectations with our families. The life that we lead everyday should be completely in synch with what we are trying to achieve in the present and in the long term.
What I have seen people do is that they let work drive the overall life they want to live. Since the ‘overall life’ and ‘quality’ of it is not defined and agreed on first, people tend to over engage in acquiring material, while ignoring their spiritual aspects and real aspirations. Binds like mortgages, lifestyle expenses, expectations set by society, geographic choices (like educating kids in the bay area) add up to the expenses, which in turn forces families to keep bringing in the money while continually detracting from their basic aspirations of human joy and contentment in the present.