"Happy" as a Finish Line

This week I decided to give Erin a break from the blog.  She has done an excellent job keeping you updated on our trials and tribulations over the past couple months, so I've stolen the reins to once again discuss something new that occurred to me this week (it may have occurred to you years ago, I don't know your life).

 This picture isn't here for any reason.  I just saw it on the internet and laughed for too long.

This picture isn't here for any reason.  I just saw it on the internet and laughed for too long.

Over the past week, I got to sit down with two close friends on two separate occasions and catch up.  This was a blue moon level rarity as they are both what I'd consider successful people.  They have both worked hard and put in the time to land themselves in respectable careers, (In a subsequent discussion with Erin, we decided the mark of a "career" is one that we felt we would not be able to walk into on Sunday and have the jist more or less figured out by Friday.  I digress.) they are certainly not stress cases.  They're not bald, or fat, or miserable or any of the cartoonish qualities many of us have come to associate with the corporate world, but they are both very corporate.  

In both conversations, the topic of contentedness came up, and as happens with friends who have come together after a time walking different paths, we compared notes.  

It didn't come as a surprise to learn that they both envied a few aspects of the lifestyle we've adopted this past year.  It's unconventional and in cases of unconventionality, one tends to focus on the positive.  Hearing a lot more "Chickens are fun and we make our own hours." and a lot less "There's a sinkhole under the house that could swallow us in our sleep like the damn Sarlacc scene from return of the Jedi"

 This scene for those of you not as fluent in Nerd.

This scene for those of you not as fluent in Nerd.

What DID come as a surprise was how much I found myself envying that grind.  I listened to them tell me about restaurants they'd been to and places they had traveled for work.  I saw photos of the toys they were able to afford and saw the clothes they wore.  I really started to wonder whether we had pulled of the highway too early and missed out on some of the essential experiences of 21st century 30-something life.

 Should I want to be more like this guy?  Unfair question.  Everybody wants to be this guy.  If scoffed at that, you are lying to yourself.

Should I want to be more like this guy?  Unfair question.  Everybody wants to be this guy.  If scoffed at that, you are lying to yourself.

Now to be clear, I LOVE what we've done here.  I'm proud enough to have built a website around it in fact.  What I realized was not that we need to change anything, or that we'd made a mistake at all but that happiness is not a finish line.  It's like if you went to the gym religiously for 3 months, got in shape, uncovered your six-pack and went "Well.  That's health achieved.  Next thing."  Happiness works the same way.  To be content takes work and a person needs to constantly weigh their decisions in terms of how it will better themselves and their situation.  I have been spending so much time on farm life (fencing, cabin, maintenance, veggies, chickens, maintenance, quonset, maintenance...) that I forgot it's important to remain a three dimensional person.  As a symbolic gesture, and one that my mom and my wife loved and were not thrilled with respectively, I finally shaved off what I was passing off as a beard and I've quit drinking for the month.  The second thing is just because I find I'm more productive without a couple of beers at the end of the day.

The point I'm trying to make to you is that you can't have just one goal and expect to be a complete person.  I've been preaching that philosophy about corporate life for years but I forgot it applied to other lifestyles as well.  It's easy to keep on doing what you're doing as long as you have that "one day I'm gonna" carrot dangling in front of you, but you need to constantly evaluate your internal compass and FOLLOW it.  NOW.  

Even if all you do is shave off your hobo beard and wear nicer clothes now and again.  Thanks again for visiting.