plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

December 22, 2008

what do I want to do with the rest of my life?

Filed under: philosophical — Tags: , — plonkee @ 9:23 pm

The end of the year is nearly upon us and it’s the time when people look backwards and forwards. Sometimes looking forwards means having goals and then working to achieve them.

I’m not a great goals person. They don’t motivate me all that well. It’s quite funny, because I’m not very good at routine tasks, either. I hate the laundry because it’s never done. Although I have a rich mental life, I’m not very good at imagining that my life will change. When I had a boyfriend I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be single, I’ve been single for a couple of years and I can’t picture how I’d ever have time for a relationship.

One of the things that’s interesting about my current life, is that I’m in my late twenties and I’m at the stage where people around me start settling down. People move in together, get married and have children – and they’re happy doing so.

I live in a provincial city, and whilst it’s a nice place, I never quite imagined settling down here – when I was a teenager, I always thought I’d live in London. Since I started to travel, I’ve wanted to live in Toronto, New York, Sydney, Boston, Amsterdam, and Wellington – and those are just the semi-practical ones. I really like big, busy, bustling and expensive cities.

I occasionally worry that life is passing me by. I still feel like I’m not really old enough to get married and have children, even though if I did have kids I’d actually be older than average. It’s not that I want these things, just that they’re what most of my contemporaries are going to be spending the next twenty to twenty-five years doing. Other than finding some childfree friends, what am I going to do instead?

When life gets like this, I look at my values and what makes me happy. Blogging makes happy. As does travel and music. I get quite a bit of fulfillment from my day job, and I have some awesome friends. I like my house, and I am definitely stuck here for the next few years as I’m about £10k in negative equity. Which means that nice little pipe dream about living somewhere more exciting is on indefinite hold. And aside from that, I’m actually sort of as close to living the dream as it’s reasonable to be at this stage in my life. Certainly, everything that is under my control is ok or better.

What then, should my financial direction be for the next year or more? Should I save up for five years and then maybe sell up and emigrate? (Watch out Canadians – Toronto is probably my best intersection of interest, location and visa possibilities.) Or should I focus on fulfilling some of my smaller ambitions – spending more on travel, or music, or both?

All of this introspection is only worthwhile because I have a good job, no consumer debt and can save more than I earn. I don’t have limitless possibilities, but it’s not all that bad. Of course, there’s definitely a risk that the house could bankrupt me. And any one of a number of things could happen in the next year to derail my cosy little existence.

I’m not financially independent, but I’m almost financially stable and it’s a great comfort. Of course, I don’t need to make any decisions yet – I’m planning on putting the spare money away automagically and deciding later on – but it’s something I’m bearing in mind. What is it exactly, that I want to do with the rest of my life?

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