Although financial independence is high on my list of things I want to achieve. It’s slowly been re-prioritized lower and lower. After several major life events happening to people close to me, I’ve come to the realization that money is important but far from the most important thing in life.
After dealing with the aftermath of losing someone as well as seeing family friends diagnosed with Cancer it’s become clear that we don’t live forever. None of us know when we will pull the shortest straw and be diagnosed with an illness, get in a car accident or have some tragedy in our lives. When any one of these things happen, no one cares about money anymore, except to pay bills. What we care about is living happy lives, filled with people we care about. We need to realize that our time to do this is limited, therefore we need to prioritize the work involved with attaining these.
While money plays some role in the above, investing in our health, mental well-being and friendships are more important. If you become financially independent and have no friends or are miserable you’ve lost the game. If you have all the money in the world and are sick and unhealthy you’ve also lost the game. The goal is to be healthy, happy and have great friendships. If you happen to also be wealthy because of a lifelong dedication to saving that’s the icing on top.
Where to begin? Start with health. Prioritize sleep above all. Then dedicate yourself to some activity or activities you enjoy. Walking is a great start. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy either. Commit to the process and build time into your days specifically for exercise. If nothing else, start with 5 minutes and increase your time weekly from there. The key is to start small so you don’t overwhelm yourself, get frustrated and quit. I cannot stress the importance of starting small. I have a decade of failed attempts at things due to doing too much too fast.
Once you’ve got a start on changing healthy habits change your diet. Get rid of the toxic junk that pervades western diets. Get rid of processed foods. Eat simply. Eat real, whole foods. Use your head, read labels. If there are ingredients you can’t pronounce don’t eat it. If you’re achy, lethargic and tired I’d recommend getting rid of all refined carbohydrates, sugar and sodas. At the very least try removing all sugar from your diet. I promise you’ll feel better.
If you can stick to the above to recommendations you’re going to surpass the majority of people and be well on your way to living a happy, clean, fantastic life.
Friendships are also hugely important and a large determiner of longevity and lifelong happiness. Do not neglect them. If you don’t have many friends work on yourself. Learn to be generous. Share with people. Offer advice. Be nice and genuine. Be helpful. Be a person of your word. Join a group you are interested in. Join an exercise class or a community garden. Find something you like and find a group of people who also enjoy it. This will give you something in common with others and an easy opportunity to converse and make friends.
Think of health, happiness, exercise and friendships as investment buckets. Fill them weekly. It doesn’t have to be a massive amount and shouldn’t be in the beginning. Start slowly. Track your progress and commit yourself to the process of investing in these. The quality of your life depend on them. I have no doubt that if you apply the same dedication and mindset to investing in your relationships and health as you do to actually saving and investing you will be successful and the dividends paid back from living a health, happy life are worth more than any amount of money.
“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health” A.J. Reb Materi