Today as my children were napping, I spent some time trying to map out the future a bit. Anyone who has taken the time to do this knows that this is truly a daunting task. All you type A personalities out there know just what I mean. I got to thinking about how are we going to pay for college and all the other things that our family needs and wants without sacrificing our quality of life in the meantime. Our current situation is that my husband and I work completely opposite schedules. This has worked beautifully for our children as it has kept them out of daycare and meant they are almost always with one of their parents. The sacrifice is that I get to spend very little time with my husband. When I think about it, it makes me sad but that feeling quickly dissipates when I think of how great this is for my children. The up side to this is that it allows us to have two incomes coming in while keeping our kids out of daycare. Today I got to thinking though…is this it, is this what is best for our family?
I certainly have a type A personality which thus far in life has really been as asset to me. I always have a million ideas in my head and a thousand ideas about how I am going to get rich and move to a tropical island where we will just relax and spend our days drinking tropical cocktails. Today however my thinking changed a bit. I read the article The Cost of Being an Overachiever on one of my favorite finance blogs (Get Rich Slowly) and I got to thinking. Are we sacrificing our quality of life just so we are “keeping up with the Joneses”? Will my children remember the toys they played with as children or the times we spent together as a family? These are things that I certainly will have to spend more time thinking about because I am totally torn. On one side, I know that having more money than we “need” will help take some (ok a lot) of the strain off our family on a month to month basis. On the other hand, would we be better off having less money and living a more frugal life, but more time to enjoy each other and to do more together as a family? As I write this it is starting to become more clear. How do we find the balance between working hard (something that is very important to me) and living and loving well?
When you have a minute, read the article mentioned above. It is very interesting to listen to the research about how people who are high achievers and often richer are not necessarily happier people. If there is one thing that stands out to me from this article is that type A personality people live shorter lives (in general). If this is true then I really need to think about this. I would hate to think that I may die before “my time” and have spent too much time working instead of enjoying my family and friends. This is another good example of how important balance is in your life. I just wish it was as easy to achieve as it is to say. Hopefully reading this has made you think a little about your life and will help you make a future map that will really make you happy.