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The Million Dollar Question

August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.

A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.

I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.

Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.

Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.

The point of wealth is to enjoy it

On Minimalist Wealth

I used to get anxious about being unemployed. Much of this came from reading about discouraged workers and how much harder it is to get back on track once you're employed for several months. Skill depreciation and negative signaling kicks discouraged workers in a doom spiral. I stopped when I realized that although many companies of all sizes promote a grueling working culture, with 'work-life balance' being nothing but an empty promise of a buzzword, that doesn't mean one is forced into abiding by such a culture.

Of course I would be happier if I did get an offer out of those interviews I aced, but so what? I don't need the money, and I certainly have better things to do with my time than wait on an incompetent HR department.

When I'm not job hunting, I am experiencing the part of life that's worth living. Reconnecting with friends & family, meeting new people, and learning new skills. I accumulated enough wealth to be able to afford the time to do this worry-free, so I am. No employer is going to care about how much I've grown as a rock climber, boxer, boyfriend, or programmer in the last 3 months, heck they aren't even going to know. It's not important that they care, the purpose of skill accumulation is not to impress the next employer.

When I say I have the wealth to do this, savings are a big part of it. But I also mean my credit and spending is under control. I am confident in my skills and my ability to signal those skills (my resume). I have a plan, and I have the means for execution.

You can always keep adding by making more money, working harder and longer hours. Your boss will love you for it. Just remember that but in practice that just begets more material wealth since you are spending time to buy money, and experiential wealth requires more time than money. I think it's much easier to get peace of mind by subtracting. Having gone from condo to castle to all sorts of apartments with and without room mates, cars, buses, and subways, I can honestly say that none of the fancy stuff measurably improved my life. Not that I don't covet anything, I just only want the stuff that matters, which is generally exclusive to anything that needs a marketing campaign.

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