Gosh time flies doesn’t it? Fall is already upon us and I’m dreading the thought of winter. It tends not to be very kind to us in the upper Midwest. We are in that season when you might have a rainy 50 degree day or it might get to 70. Funny how those days in the 70’s are usually during the workweek isn’t it?
The good thing is that we are in the “dead zone” for energy usage. No A/C or furnace makes for a happy budget, at least for a couple of months. When summer wraps up, I often find myself wondering if we did enough during the warm months here. Did we optimize our family time for enough outdoor activities? Did we set aside ample time to take our son to enough playgrounds? Since we are somewhat confined to our houses up here during winter, these are valid concerns.
As I’ve gotten older (like a fine wine haha), I’ve realized the importance of finding balance in life.
The Balance Between Saving And Spending
I love saving and investing money. It is one of my favorite things to do and practice in life. We all owe it to our future selves to plant some seeds today so we can harvest down the road. So when I say balance between saving and spending, it’s not literally so. What I mean is to not get so focused on saving every dollar to the point of not going on that family vacation or doing something fun that will create a memory that will last a lifetime.
I will wear the same shoes until they fall apart and the same jeans for years but when it comes to visiting new parts of our great country, let’s go! We hopped on a plane to Florida last year. And then road tripped into Montana. That is the type of thing that our budget allows for. By having that offset, you can balance out areas that you don’t care about with the ones that you do.
It seems to me that there is such an unbalance for a lot of people today. Most often you have the excessive spenders who live paycheck to paycheck and desperately need their jobs to survive. They value material “stuff” and hey, they do take vacations too. They get out and see the world. But they forget to offset with something else. No balance, no savings.
And then we have the smaller percentage who are excellent savers. They save, invest and live as frugally as possible. But they get caught up in it and forget to enjoy some of the fruits of their sacrifices. As we know, time waits for nobody. Often times those people are left lonely and full of regrets. As much as I love Scrooge McDuck on Ducktales, he definitely has his faults!
The Balance Between Family Time, Work, And Self Interests
Are the days of watching 9 hours of football over for me on Sunday? Yes, yes they are. And I’m good with it! I don’t think I’ll ever lay on my deathbed wishing that I spent more time watching TV. Yes, the games might still be on in the background. And I will still watch my beloved Raiders if they happen to be on (less loved now that they traded Mack-idiots). And FSU. But now the focus is to spend as much time as possible with my family and to give as much attention to raising our boy, and soon to be second child, as possible. And if they choose to be a football fan, I suppose we could count watching games as bonding time right?
Invest in Yourself
In all seriousness, juggling time between full time work, family, and hobbies can be challenging. And we haven’t even hit the days of school activities yet. Yet even with the obvious importance of raising kids, a person still needs time for hobbies or creative outlets. For me, it’s weight training, investing, and now a new interest in blogging. Blogging is definitely a time investment that I didn’t realize until I started. To the people who can crank out three 1,200 word posts in a week, I tip my hat to you. What you get back out of it is worth it, even if it isn’t a money thing.
Balance your time appropriately between work and kids.
I’ve known people that work too many hours and are gone constantly due to travel for their work. They have to miss their kids sporting events and school functions. Really they are missing out an a large portion of their child’s youth. While I can’t knock somebody for making a living for their family, this is a huge sacrifice to make.
On the flip side, there are the parents who go to the activities, but are on their smartphones the whole time not paying attention. They are there in body but nothing else. Watching 6 year old kids play soccer can be tedious, but when your child scores a goal and looks up to see you, don’t have your head buried in your phone. That’s just a bad example to set and it projects to the kids that they aren’t important enough to have your attention.
Diet and Sleep
Remember when you could get away with drinking all night, eating half of a pizza at 1am and still being able to function moderately well the next day? I do, I call that my early 20’s. Those days are definitely long gone, thankfully! Now I’m at the point of having two beers on Friday night, maybe another two on Saturday night and going to bed by 11pm. And no alcohol during the week, those are school nights after all! I’ve found my balance with that.
I also try to keep the diet somewhat clean but I’m not going to try to kid you. I do have cheat meals here and there. The key is to have a cheat meal and not a cheat day. That’s when the wheels totally fall off. If the diet has been on track during the week, I have no problem with going out for a fast good “gut bomb” for lunch on Saturday. Moderation my friends. And if you feel guilty about it, work out extra hard or go for a walk/jog.
Getting that exercise in is so important for someone like me who sits on their ass all day at a computer. I probably should invest in a standing desk some year. I have a good buddy who installs siding and windows all day. The thought of working out after his job makes him sick. He’s exhausted afterwards. He doesn’t need to with all the calories he burns in a day.
But people like me, we need to. Sitting around not only makes you soft, but it makes you irritable. At least it does me. I think I would really get burned out of my job if I didn’t have to love for weight training. Just do something to get that ticker moving! I feel like our childred will have the importance of exercise instilled in them since both Mrs. DS and I are so passionate about it.
The Wrap Up
There are only 24 hours in a day. We all must find our balance to get everything in that is important to us. If you don’t have the time or the money to do something that you value, then offset with something you can get ride of. Eliminate those time suckers and money pits. You will be better off for it.
Questions to the readers- Have you found your balance in life? Has it changed as you’ve aged? Thanks as always for taking the time to read our posts!