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There’s more to life than you’re getting out of it

Work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep. It’s a routine of necessity in the beginning, when we’re young and just trying to figure out how it all works. Work, eat, sleep. On the weekends it’s sleep, TV, sleep. Maybe we party on Saturday night with a few friends. There’s more to life, but we’ll figure it out at some point, right?

Time marches on

Now we’re in our thirties, our forties. We’re still doing the same thing we’ve always done, because it’s what we know. We don’t want to disrupt the routine because we’re afraid of change. We’re afraid of the unknown. Even though we’re not getting anything out of this existence, it’s safe because we know what to expect. There’s more to life, but we’ll figure it out at some point, right?

I’ll do some living when I retire

Yeah, that golden dream. Of course, lots of people do retire well, and some of them even have active retirements and go see the world. Realistically, though, 30% of Americans will not live to 65 or older. Of those that do, 70% will have less than $100,000 saved, which basically means they are retiring broke.

So, there’s more to life: how do I get it?

First, you need to brainstorm. Come up with a list of things you want to do, a bucket list of sorts. Make some different categories.

J. Boyd Long

 

Do some homework

Figure out how much money you need to do each of these things. Some of them are going to be expensive, and some of them won’t be as much as you think. For example, even if you live in Kansas, as long as you have a car, you can spend a weekend on the beach at either ocean for well under $700.

There’s more to life than television

Who has $700? Well, you can, if you are disciplined about saving it up. Here’s an easy way to save money: stop drinking soda. Every time you go to a restaurant and order water, you’ll save $2. Every time you don’t go inside the gas station and buy a soda or a Gatoraid, you save $2. For a lot of people, that adds up to $50 a month or more. Would you trade a year of drinking soda for a weekend at the beach?

Another easy way to save a lot of money in a short amount of time is to shut off your cable TV (or satellite). You can watch plenty of stuff on Amazon Prime or Netflix. If you stop spending $100 a month on TV and save that money (that’s the hard part), you’ll have $1,200 in a year. That’s more than a trip to the beach from Kansas. Two years, and you’re looking at that trip to Paris.

Another way to save money is to keep on driving your old car. I’m driving a 16-year-old truck. It’s been paid for since 2005. Every month that I don’t buy a new truck is another $500 saved. Maybe $1,000, with truck prices as they are these days. I’ll have to buy one at some point, but the longer I put it off, the more stuff on my list I can do.

Life is filled with wasted opportunities

There are lots of things you can do to fund an active, fulfilling life that you can enjoy while you have the opportunity. Not everything costs money; some things only cost your time. You can get involved in community groups like the Lions Club, or join a local theater group or arts council. There are car clubs, airplane clubs, model car and model airplane clubs, exercise clubs, kayaking clubs, state park hiking clubs, and things I don’t even know about. There are MeetUp groups that do all kinds of activities for all age groups in almost every town. Google it.

With the advent of the internet (which you can access free at your library if you don’t have it at home), there is really no excuse for wasting away in front of the television. There’s more to life; find a purpose for living. Find something you are passionate about, and go do it. Find other people who are passionate about the same things, and expand your horizons. Learn something new. Have fun for a change!

There’s more to life than spending money

By the way, here’s a good idea: take half the money you’re saving with all this new insight, and put it in a retirement savings account of some sort. Don’t keep yourself trapped in the bondage of the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. That’s a trap. Life is short, so live it while you can, and put some away for later while you’re at it. If you do make it to 80, you’re going to need it!

J. Boyd Long is an author, blogger, website developer, and the CFO of Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic. In his spare time (ha!) he likes to paint, read, canoe, and hike in the wilderness. You can subscribe to this blog in the big blue block, and future blogs will be delivered to your email. Warning: Subscribing may increase your awesomeness quotient. Please feel free to comment, and share this blog on your favorite social media page! To learn more, please visit JBoydLong.com 

J. Boyd Long

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