Saturday, March 21, 2009

Welcome to the Good Life

If you read past entries, you know I like bang for my buck. I want it top quality, on sale, with a discount or coupon and charged to my rewards-back account. I was thinking today about how this kind of strategy applies more broadly to making better decisions and how I can describe this philosophy of value convergence to help me make better decisions.

So here's a theory.

Everything you do in life should have benefits to more than one part of your life.

For example, a job should provide money but also fulfill objectives such as increasing knowledge, social contact, or even (shocking) happiness. There have been a lot of arguments that work was never meant to make us "happy." I don't think anyone goes to work and is delighted for the entire shift. However, coming from an agricultural, um, heritage -- I can assure you that although the work was grueling and difficult it was satisfying and my grandfathers remained deeply connected to nature in a spiritual way until they passed away. I aspire to that.

Another example is exercise. I get a lot of lifestyle exercise, partly because I voluntarily don't own (and have never owned) a car. The benefits of a pedestrian lifestyle range from not ripping up my joints with a more aggressive routine squeezed into shorter time spaces, feeling connected to my neighborhood, and still fitting into my (27-34) high school pants. Yeah, winter sucks, but so does scraping the ice off a windshield and cold seats.

Food. This morning I made some local seven grain hot cereal with coconut milk, topped with unpasturized honey and organic cinnamon. Reading that is like gastro-porn for anyone who understands, I'm sure. Food should be good for your body and good for your mind and, often, both of these things meet at a low cost intersection because basic is beautiful. The honey and grain was from a farmers market - providing a bonus social interaction in the food chain that's far more relaxing than a check out.

I have a lot of choices to make in the next while: I'm in the process of finding my next contract and my next apartment. I have to decide what stays and goes, both on my trip and when I move again. I've given broad examples but I want to see if I can apply the theory more narrowly to find solutions. Accompanied by a Kanye soundtrack.

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