It’s been awfully quiet on this blog for the past few days, wouldn’t you say? It’s true that I finally posted my initial list of European dividend growth stocks, but after that nothing. I didn’t even take the time to respond to your much appreciated comments and e-mails. Unlike many other bloggers I’m not bored of maintaining this blog though – not at all! – I just took a couple of days off. Here’s why.
I was tired, run-down, and quite possibly over stressed. I’ve been sleeping six hours at most every night for the past month and all the while I didn’t feel great. First my throat hurt, then I started coughing like an 80-year-old chain smoker, then finally my stomach started playing tricks on me too. It was one thing after another. Needless to say, I wasn’t in any way whatsoever in great physical shape.
The reasons are manifold, but all boil down to one recurring issue: I took on too much. Between full-time work, overtime, blogging, dancing classes, hanging out with friends, and a bunch of other fun activities, there was hardly any time left for me to unwind. Getting home at midnight, only to leave for work a short six hours later isn’t a healthy lifestyle.
In Dutch there’s an old saying that says “we shouldn’t take too much hay on our fork”. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew – see how great these two sayings fit into the same mental space . Of course, the fork in the Dutch saying is not used to gobble up food, but rather to do hard manual labour in the field.
I am definitely guilty of shoveling more hay than I can possibly manage, being the not-so-very-strong person I am. There’s no shame in admitting that as everyone has their limits, but it is important to acknowledge the fact that you’re pushing things too far. Proper fork usage is essential indeed.
That’s why I decided to change things around. I cancelled my job-related appointments and worked from the comfort of my own home, stayed in bed until all lingering symptoms of the flu and my bronchitis were gone, and made sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. The turnaround is staggering as I feel born anew.
Furthermore, some new ground rules had to be implemented. First, no more
waffles work-related appointments after six in the evening as they often eat into my time to relax before going to bed. Second, I’ll be cherry picking my activities based on their priorities. No longer will I use my fork to scoop up everything I can get my greedy hands on, but rather I’ll spear those events and occasions that are most important to me.
By doing so I hope to balance my job, writing on this blog, and personal life a bit more, without losing any sleep or forgoing good health. My job is definitely important, both because it’s a job worth doing and because it’s my primary source of income, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of myself.
People often talk about how they’ll use financial independence to get out of the rat race or the race to the corporate top, but I’d argue that it’s important not to forget that you need a couple of pit stops along the way too. I have experienced that first hand the past couple of days. Even though making more money and thus being able to save more is a lofty goal, make sure you don’t overdo it.
I’m currently saving 70% of my income, so why not ease the pressure on the gas pedal a little like I did? Financially speaking I’m doing great, so it doesn’t make any sense to lift the heaviest of forks. There’s just no reason to, especially when considering that I’m doing all of this so I don’t need to lift my fork anymore in the future.
Have you ever experienced anything like what I described above? If you did, feel free to share in the comments how you dealt with it!
Thank you for reading.