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Book Club: The Quest for Happiness

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We are on chapter 4 this week in our book club. The quest for happiness…that is what it boils down to, doesn’t it?

Most everything we do on a daily basis is either directly or indirectly related to seeking fulfillment, happiness. How we spend our time? How we spend our money? Even how we spend our thoughts?  They all come back to seeking to fulfill an intrinsic need within ourselves.  Vicki refers to it as happiness.

Three Questions

This quest for happiness is broken down further by three key questions.

  • Are you receiving fulfillment, satisfaction and value proportional to the life energy you expend on a a task? Hello! This is a question that runs through my head constantly now. Especially at those moments when I want to just sit and veg in front of a screen. But also at times when I consider a job opportunity or client project.
  • Is this expenditure in line with your values and life purpose? I have given up so much and settled for so much in the last few years in particular that really are not in line with my values or purpose. Now I’m really focusing on a finding balance between work and my life’s purpose because my work is certainly not it. It’s a means to an end.
  • How would my use of energy change IF I didn’t have to work for money? This one has about given me an ulcer. My life would be completely different if I didn’t have to spend so much of my time working for money. And this is the key to the change I am implementing now as I build my business – balance, maybe not evenly balanced, but more balanced.

Balancing Responsibility with Passion

I believe many who have read this blog for a while would say for most of the last 14 years, I have skewed my life’s priorities towards my passion rather than responsibility. Resulting in the financial mess that is my life. They are right.

I suck at that balance. But in the last couple of years, I have made much more responsible decisions (not all, but a lot more.) And as a result, have HATED my life. I’ve hated living. Oftentimes, I haven’t seen much purpose in living.

Now I know life is not about being happy. And I am constantly preaching that life is not fair and we all have to do things we don’t want to. And here is where my point comes in, there has to be a balance.

A balance between passion and responsibility. Not saying that your passion has to cost money or make you less responsible. But it is important to have both in your both life. Otherwise, you lose yourself. Lose your purpose.

I know, I’ve definitely been there this year…ALOT. I’m so grateful for a new perspective.

Discussion Questions

  1. What’s on your bucket list? Are you taking steps to actually get to fulfill this wish list?
  2. What is your calling, the work of your heart and soul?

Previous Book Club Posts

Your Money or Your Life Introduction

Chapter 1: What is Your Enough?

Chapter 2: What are you Trading Your Life Energy For?

Chapter 3: The Opposite of a Budget

Chapter 4: The Quest for Happiness


Changing My Mind

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I mentioned last week that I was in the final interview round with not one but two companies, it was a great feeling, and for a fleeting few days, I had these grand plans dancing around in my head.  But reality started setting in as I started running numbers.

First, I should tell you, I did not get the Cincinnati job, which was frankly an answer to prayer as the thought of moving to a new city where I know no one was very overwhelming, not to me personally but as a single mom.  But during the few days I waited before the interview and finding out, I started thinking.  The salary was a good salary, very good.  But several things would have eaten it up immediately upon arrival leaving us living on less than we have in the past….

  1. I would need a whole new wardrobe. I know negligible in the long run, but would need it pretty quickly.
  2. Currently, I have bartered for Gymnast’s training.  Not only would I not have that at the new gym, but the costs at the new gym are AT LEAST 3x that of our current gym…3X…so we are looking at a minimum of $500 a month, minimum.
  3. I would have to hire some help because I would be spending 40+ hours a week in the office, I would need to hire someone to come in and help with the kids, not full time but definitely a few hours several days a week, at minimum that would be $600 per month (used $15 per hour at 10 hours a week and I’m not even sure how realistic that is.)

So in the end, I was grateful that I did not get that offer.  It would have been tough to turn it down knowing our current situation, I am relieved I did not have to make that tough decision.

Now for the local job which I had a final interview for last Wednesday.  I left that interview super excited, really like the team I would get to work with, the job is expansive so I would get to put my current skills to work as well as get the opportunity to add some new ones.  The money was, at first, reasonable in my mind.  It was more than $15,000 less than the Cincinnati job, but I figured with no move expenses, barters already in place, etc.  It would be okay and allow us to stay here.

Then I got home and started running numbers.  I used -30% as the baseline of what I would be bringing home after benefits, taxes, etc.  I will be bringing home almost $1,000 less than I was previously, working at least 10-15 more hours per week, need a new wardrobe and still need to hire someone to help with the kids some.  And on top of that, if you have been reading my posts for a while, we live in an expensive housing area.  That has ALWAYS been a problem for us, and exactly why I decided last fall to move away from here if we hadn’t found something by April of this year.  Ugh!

Now we come to the point of this post…based on the points above, I have decided to resurrect my consulting business and focus on building it again.  I have not made this decision lightly at all.  I REALLY, REALLY wanted the stability a ‘real’ job would offer, the benefits, the vacation time, the work without the need to constantly sale and market myself.

But, on the flip side, I REALLY, REALLY can not stomach the idea of being away from my kids so much, especially with no other adult in the picture.  And I know this sounds petty, but I HATE dressing up, I have always said that if I can’t wear my jeans there, I should probably not be there.

So here is a rough account of where I stand right now:

  • I’ve currently contracted out 30 hours a week beginning next week (first week of March.)  I’m not making the hourly rate I need on all hours, but I am on some, and I have the possibility to grow both of these clients with good, consistent work.
  • I’ve secured an additional 4 short term contracts doing website work.
  • I’ve paid for a 1 month subscription to one of the freelancing sites I’ve gotten a great deal of work from in the past.  (Subscribing lessens the percentage of my fee that they keep for work procured.)
  • I’m planning to re-up my LLC and business license this next month.
  • I’m planning to re-brand and re-launch my corporate site: epoh.com in the next month.

Now the only caveat to this is that I have been working primarily with two recruiters looking for corporate work.  I plan to keep my resume out there, but with the caveat that I am looking solely for work that allows at least 50% remote work and that I am willing to relocate through August of this year at which point, I will withdraw the offer to relocate until after the next school year.

I do not know if we will stay here next year, housing continues to be a BIG headache and financial drain for me.  But while we have free housing over the next several months (move at the end of April to the RV,) I am going to explore all options.

One more thing to note…I have going to add more teaching to my schedule if we stay here next school year.  Currently, I am teaching two classes, 1 hour a week each.  I plan to teach at least 4 classes next fall if we stay here.  That will not only cover the cost of the kids homeschool co-op classes, but also bring in some income.

This has been a really, really hard decision.  I know many will not understand 1) my commitment to being available to my kids, 2) not being willing to send my kids to public schools and 3) my other reasons for not wanting to take on a full time plus, in the office corporate job right now.  Rest assured, I am still very committed to get out of debt, perhaps even moreso than before after this experience.  But I know, really know, that my kids are my number one priority, and I’m willing to live on less, to be present in their lives for every moment possible while they are still young.

Oh, one last thing…in conjunction with starting my business back up, I am committed to spending the summer when we are not on such a heavy school schedule, renewing and gaining some new certifications in my field to 1) make me marketable and 2) increase my skills and maintain them so I am ready when the right opportunity presents itself to return to a ‘normal’ job.

Sorry for the book…

Update: As of Tuesday night…still no word from the local full time job, but the recruiter did text today and say they expected to hear in the next couple of days…


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