Saturday, February 2, 2013

One Story of Living Life on Your Own Terms

Greetings All:

So after being on the blog lam for five weeks, here is my second post today.  I know I should be in bed with tomorrow being a full day (including a sad event of a funeral for longtime family friend, RIP Al, God's speed home) but I wanted to put this out first. 

Tim Ferriss wrote a book a few years back entitled, The 4 Hour Work Week.  I picked it up on on clearance and after listening to it would have gladly paid full-price for it.  Tim is a guy who has figured out a way to work a fraction of the time (thus the 4 hours a week) running an automated business to do the stuff he wants to do.  He has shot both a bunch of firearms with a group of Croatian soldiers and a Japanese T.V. pilot.  (I think this is correct, drawing on memory).  He lives his life on his terms.  Here is the cool thing about him more than anything else- he does not think you or I should do the same.  In fact, in his opening pages, he states that it matters not if you do not want to travel the world, but what does matter is you do what makes you happy.  Tim is a Rhodes Scholar at that endeavor, and I encourage you to check out his blog and books. 

Tim Ferriss is a hilarious guy and yet, also one that does not suffer fools.  In his book he talks about quitting jobs that make you miserable and his "sample" resignation letter brought tears of humor to my eyes.  So when Tim featured Brandon Pearce on his blog, I sat up and took notice.

Tim believes it is quite possible to work a few hours a week at your "job" and spend the rest of your time doing whatever you want.  Brandon works about 5 hours a week, lives the ex-pat lifestyle, (he and his family are in Bali right now and I KNOW it's warmer there than Iowa) spends more time in a week with his kids at a rate that rivals what the rest of us may aspire to on a long weekend or a vacation.  Here is the best (IMO) part:  He does so on his own terms. 

I think that is the whole point of life, to figure out what makes you happy and pursue it on your own terms, with a nod to the realities of your life.  The reason Tim featured Brandon is that he is "pulling off" the 4-hour work week with a family.  This is an impressive feat, without question.  Then again, if you read about Brandon it is something he chose to do.  I would argue it is something we all could do if we wanted, really wanted to.

The links to both Tim and Brandon's blogs are below, please check them out if you would like, thanks.

Best rgs,


First Post of 2013, an apology (sort of) and a book recommendation

Greetings All:

I've been AWOL for about five weeks from the blog and I'd love to tell you that it was because I had been engaged in some grand writing project or that I was up to running 10 miles at a time on the treadmill in preparation the marathon, or some other worthy reason.  Nope, got nothing like that.  Truth is I just did not feel like doing a post.  Well, that's not exactly true.  Oh, I thought about writing, sure.  I even did a couple of draft posts, long abandoned like the plan to clean up my basement office, but they never made it to the "post" status.  I do enjoy writing and think it is important that everyone share opinions that matter to them, both the serious and the not-so-much.  Therefore, I do regret that I have not gotten around to actually posting something and to that end, I'll start making amends.

We're into February and even though those of us in the Midwest are (ahem) still well within winter, spring is not so terribly far away.  The days are getting longer and hey, the Grand St. Pat's Parade is only six weeks away!   Of course, to tide us over is the Superbowl tomorrow.  Although I really have no interest in who wins, watching it is one of those things we do.

One of the things that I have been making more of a priority is reading/listening to books.  I joke that when you run as slow as me, you don't need music.  Between the stuff on my iPod and the (great) Bettendorf Public Library, I'm averaging a book a week.  Not sure if this "streak" will last but I hope to continue to make it a priority.  

Speaking of books, I wanted to share one in particular that I read last month:  What the Most Successful People Do On the Weekend:  A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off by Laura Vanderkam.  Here's a link to some more info on the book:

I first learned of Laura Vanderkam when I listened to her book, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast:  A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings - and Life.   If I were to distill down the ideas from both of them, it is this:  We all have the same amount of time in a day, week or weekend.  We all have obligations (true, some more than others) and yet there are those who seem to get "more" done than others.  Does that make these people "better" than the rest of us?  Of course not!  In fact, the thing I really like about Ms. Vanderkam's writing is that she does not lecture.  If anything, she acknowledges that life happens and we should celebrate that as it happens around us and to us.  Through her stories of people like Mike Huckabee (and she makes no political endorsement or criticism) a successful tax professional (who also is an observant Jew who keeps the Jewish Sabbath of sundown Friday to Saturday) and others, she shows how people can have both fulfilling careers and family lives.  

She offers some common-sense and practical tips for how to navigate the myriad of kids activities, housework, and still have time for dinners, concerts or just crashing out and getting some (much-needed) rest.  She offers the calendar not as a source of scheduling tyranny but a liberator of the truly important events.  She gives permission to not succumb to the pressures (often self-imposed) of domestic duties at the expense of having some fun.  It is a short but important book.  I recommend it and I suggest that it will be a great investment for you and your weekends.  

If there is an area I wish she would had focused on a bit is when family members have different interests and pursuits and how to address those issues.  In some families, viewing football is not a unanimous choice for all members.  (Hard to believe, I know!).  That's where scheduling comes in and putting things on the calendar.  It also requires the pro-football crowd to realize that watching four college games on Saturday might not be the most...effective way to spend the day.  

Please check out the book if you'd like and let me know what you think about it.  For that matter, please let me know what you are reading.  I like to know what other people find interesting and some of the best books I have read were ones I never would have come across but for a recommendation from another.  

As I look outside, I see some snow, but also hear some melting ice.  Spring will show up, maybe eagerly, maybe kicking and screaming, but it will get here.  In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the weekend.  There is still a good chunk of it left and after reading Laura's book, I realize there is plenty of time to do the really important stuff.

Best rgs,