We’re getting ready to go to Iceland while working full time, and while I’m training for a half Ironman and Ethel is training for a Century.
Here is the Graph of Life:
I’ve never actually drawn this graph before, but I’ve described it a few times. It’s basically giving the levels of Time, Money and Energy that most of us will have over our lives. (I’m not talking about trust fund babies, people who never choose to go to work, or the chronically ill, or Ian Hersey. Nor does it apply to folks like my Millennial friends at Workday, who work at a high paying job for a few years, then “just take some time off”. This is for regular folks).
There are five Life Events used as X-axis points in this graph – Birth, starting School, Graduation and beginning work life, Retirement, and Death. I trust that these are self-explanatory.
Money – as far as “money of our own to spend and control”, we start out with nothing; we slowly get an allowance, maybe start doing neighborhood chores, get a minimum wage part-time job – and then, when we graduate from whatever level of schooling we attain, then our income takes off – until retirement, then it drops.
Time – we start off with all the time in the world. Then suddenly we’re in school – what happened? Then, when we get out of school, then we have to work – what happened? Then we retire (at least; that’s the theory. I have yet to experience that part*) and have plenty of time, suddenly .
These values are shown as step functions – they don’t have a lot of “curve” to them.
Energy – I’m not talking here about the first few weeks, when we sleep all the time. I’m taking about right after that, when we start keeping our parents awake. Then the “energy” graph is a smooth curve, from “near infinite” down to 0 at death.
The basic problem about living in this world** is that we normal folks can never have all of these – Time, Money and Energy – at the same time. When we have plenty of time and energy, we have no money (and no freedom to use that money, should we have it). When we have money and energy, we have no time.
And then, when we finally have plenty of time, and some money, we have no energy.
Right now, I’m near the right end of that graph – just before retirement, when money is at the max, time is at the minimum, and energy is becoming the limiting commodity.
On Thursday, we decided to go Iceland. We can do afford to do that; the money’s the easy part.
However, we’re only going for one week, because of vacation time – it’s a pretty expensive flight, but we aren’t maximizing our time there because we need to get back to work. Not much free time.
On Saturday, I took a nap so deep that it felt like “sticky sleep”. I then slept over 8 hours on Saturday night, then took a hard hour nap yesterday – and last night, slept over 9 hours.
So the week in Iceland might not feel very good, because we may not have enough energy to recover from the jet lag and still do stuff.
But we’re doing this now, because later, after retirement – when we would have the time – we won’t have the disposable income for jaunts on a whim. And at some point, we won’t have the energy to go galavanting off to the tundra.
Right now, I’m wishing that I had graduated five years earlier and just hitchhiked to Seattle, so I could have been in that first generation of Microserfs that all got to retire wealthy in their mid-to-late-30s. But I didn’t know 🙂
I’ve had it all, but just not all at the same time. I reckon that’ll have to be good enough.
*retirement is still theoretical. However, unless something changes, I may be retired in three weeks. Watch this space.\
**“in this world..” – the only real problem is selfishness, self-centeredness. But that has to be dealt with using spiritual tools. When I am referring in this writing to problems “in this world”, I mean those that one might choose to see as problems that could be dealt with in the material sense.