10 Ways to a Fulfilling Life

Life can take us in many directions and for the most part, we have the choice of where we want our lives to be headed. Some people take the right choice and some do not. Sometimes, life gives us choices which are not as black and white. These grey choices are more geared towards our personal preferences and are unique to each and every one of us.

Aside from my regular goals, I have composed a list for myself expressing my 10 ways to a more fulfilling life. I tried to make this list as generic as possible so it can be used by others but a few of the points are unique to me. Every one of us on Earth is unique in some way, shape or form and no 2 lists should look exactly the same. I decided to post my 10 points on my blog so others can view and hopefully, inspire people to make there own unique list.

10 Ways to a Fulfilling Life

1.       Think Positive: I try to think positive as much as I can. Whenever a problem comes up in my life, I feel that it is important to embrace the challenge and not say such things as: “Why did this happen to me?” Or “I can’t handle a problem like this in my life.” Being positive through your mind and words helps keep you at ease and deal with the situation head on.

2.       Live a Healthy/ Active Lifestyle: Being active not only keeps you looking and feeling great. It also helps you stay young and is linked to happiness. Enjoy playing your favourite sports; be active with your friends, kids and loved ones. If others are not willing to join you, why not join a recreational sports league or go it alone with a nice run!

3.       Keep Your Free Time Free: Free time should be for things that you enjoy. Personally, I love reading a good book or playing a video game as it helps me escape the daily stress of life. I like the feeling of getting into a story and feel like I am in a different world altogether. The important thing to remember is that free time should never involve work.

4.       Appreciate What You Have:  Having the most expensive clothes or car is not really important in the long run. If these things really are important to you, make sure you save for them and pay in cash. The amount of time needed to save will eliminate impulse buying and who knows; maybe once you have enough to purchase one of these items you may realise you would rather do something else with the money. I try to appreciate what I already have while planning for future purchases. When I have the itch to purchase a new car for example, the first thing I do is take my car to a car wash and clean it inside and out. This decreases the itch and makes me feel proud of the car I already have.

5.       Have Goals: Goals are really important and I extremely recommend that everyone have a list of there own to follow and aim to achieve. Achieving your goals is one of the most fulfilling things imaginable. Make sure you take your time and really pick goals that are meaningful to you.

6.       Always Learn Something New: I find this to be somewhat fun as it helps me grow as an individual and it keeps my mind active and alert which is known to fight off mental illnesses. Pick a topic that interests you and try to learn something about it everyday if possible. Another popular method is trying to learn a new word in the dictionary everyday.

7.       Follow Your Strengths: The hard part is to discover what your strength is in life. Most people give up at this stage but I try everyday to bring out the strengths in myself. Once discovered, try your best to embrace it and use it to your advantage. You could even use your personal gifts to make a business somehow and that is something extremely fulfilling!

8.       Give to Others in Need:  Nothing feels as good as helping others who really need it. This can be done by donating to various charities or helping out a close friend or family member. Sure, personal gain is important but helping others along the way gives you a feeling that is hard to duplicate in any other way. I would suggest trying this out even if the gift or donation is small.

9.       Live less like an adult: Being an adult sure has its advantages, such as being able to drive, making your own decisions, and being fully independent. Adults also tend to live rather unhappy and unfulfilling lifestyles. Sometimes, I try to live less like an adult and still like to dream as if I was a kid. Children see the world as something beautiful and worthy of exploring while adults see the world as a cruel, harsh place. The child has the better view of Earth in my opinion.

10.   Enjoy Your Life:  The ability to enjoy our life seems difficult with so many obstacles. Things in our lives such as work, bills and the cost of living tend to eat up all of our thoughts and free time. This should never be the case. Life goes by really fast and we must make the most of it. Many years from now, I want to personally look back at my life with happiness and with minimal regrets. I plan to do as much enjoyable activities while I can and for as long as I can!

I hope you enjoyed this list and were somewhat inspired to make one of your own. If that is the case, please share with me!

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Saving for a House

Ever since the beginning of 2009, My fiance and I have been aggressively saving money in a joint savings account in hopes of having enough for a down payment for spring/summer 2010.

Initially, we started with a small amount of $240 each bi-weekly on the Friday we got paid. After a few deposits with this amount, we realized that we needed to pick it up if we were ever going to reach our goal of $40,000 in such a short amount of time. Slowly we increased our  amounts as we started to deposit $260 bi-weekly and then $300.

Fast forward all the way to the present and we decided to start depositing $400 each bi-weekly! On an average month, we are saving a combined total of $1,600 which we are extremely proud about.

We do not have automatic withdrawals from our chequing accounts into our savings account. We really enjoy the whole process of depositing the money ourselves either by direct transfers or through an ATM machine as it motivates and encourages us to save even more. Motivation is key as it is easy to get discouraged from saving since a down payment for a house is usually one of the largest sums of money you will have to come up with in your lifetime.

Currently, we have a combined total of just over $8,000 in our joint savings account but believe that this will increase more rapidly due to our larger deposit amounts. However, we do not know how much more we can increase our payments since we are reaching our limit of disposable income. To reach our goal, we will be required to save an additional $900 a month!!  This will not be, in any way, an easy task but hopefully my fiance and I can come through and figure out a way.

What are some of the ways you save money to reach a financial goal?

The Stress From Work

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The last few days have been very stressful for me at work. I am in the process of learning new procedures that are taking place in my company and in the near future, I will be the “go to guy” for all these new processes. I am going to work earlier and going home later trying to learn as much as possible and trying not to fall behind on my existing priorities. Overall, not a good week for me at all.

Stress!

After quitting my second job, I thought my work related stress was going to be reduced significantly.  That has not been the case so far.

For a person such as myself who doesn’t really enjoy working to begin with, the added stress caused by extra work, annoying co-workers or just living through the daily grind of Monday to Friday is something I do not want to do for the rest of my life.

In the mean time, I must find ways to reduce stress at all costs as it poses a  really serious health risk in the future. In times like this, I try anything possible to limit the amount of work related stress by doing the following:

Take Breaks

Taking a breather every now and then helps cool me down. Doing something as simple as walking around the office or taking a quick stroll around your building quickly makes you regain control of your nerves. I have done this and never heard any complaints from anyone.

Eat Lunch Outside the Workplace

I am not suggesting going out and spend money on food. What I do sometimes, if the weather permits, is go outside to a park close by and eat my lunch there. It is really peaceful as you have nature surrounding you and it literally feels like you escaped work for a while as the scenery and environment are so different.

Enjoy Personal Time After Work

Very simple yet so many people do not follow this rule. I for one am also at fault here sometimes as stress from work does get to me. I would suggest trying to do activities that you enjoy and do not give you time to reflect on your day at work. Playing sports is great for occupying your mind as well as activities such as reading a book, hanging out with friends, loved ones and pets.

Have Goals

A great stress relief, in my opinion is planning for an escape. Even if your plan for escape is a while away, planning makes you feel like you are heading in the right direction. Maybe your dream is to start your own business? If that is the case, why not take some continuing education courses to set you on your path? Want to be a writer? Start up a blog! The world wide web is an excellent place to write about  your hopes and dreams and you might even be profitable from  it.

Nothing can completely relieve you from work related stress but doing things you love is always beneficial in the long run. You might even be one of the lucky ones and actually enjoy your job. If that is the case, good for you! Sadly, a large percentage of people in North America are unhappy at the workforce.

For now, I am going to continue to pursue my goals and try to live each day as it comes. This is never an easy task, but nothing really is in life. If life were easy, we wouldn’t have to work to begin with. 🙂

Posted in Work. Tags: , , , , . 1 Comment »

Review – Journey to the Edge of the Universe

Last night, I was having a difficult time trying to sleep. I was feeling restless and would not stop tossing and turning for the life of me. I decided to turn on the television to ease my mind. As I will flipping through the channels, I came upon this special presentation titled “Journey to the Edge of the Universe” on the Discovery Channel(although it is a National Geographic special).

I was lucky enough to catch the show from the beginning and was pleasantly surprised at the journey that was unfolding before my eyes! This animated story is simple: a  journey to the end of the universe from a first person perspective, with wonderful shots of our solar system, our galaxy, black holes and into inter galactic space.

The sense of wonder created from watching this program was worth the 2 hours of viewing time alone.  Journey to the Edge of the Universe really does a great job of showing the beauty, mystery and awesome power of the universe while hinting throughout how insignificant us humans, as a race really are. This film is not meant to leave you in despair, actually, it is quite the opposite. After watching, I immediately wanted to begin learning more about our universe and try to uncover some of its vast assortment of mysteries. I am even concidering  stargazing as a potential new hobby.

Take the Journey!

If you are feeling down and are finding your life unbearable from anything that is causing you worry, or  love adventure and mystery and have a keen interest in outer space, then I strongly suggest you go watch this movie. I believe this movie will leave you in awe as you will realize there is so much to life that we don’t know. We take Earth for granted daily in our lives and after watching this movie, I now know how beautiful our planet really is. If humans as a whole keep taking from the Earth without trying to nurture and preserve it, we will come to realize that the options in our solar system and beyond for human residency is harsh indeed.

Even if you find that after watching this movie, your interest into the world around you hasn’t changed, you will at least think that this was a good animated movie worth watching.

As a child, I always had a keen interest in our solar system and space in general. As I slowly creeped into adulthood, I sadly lost interest striving to live my busy lifestyle from work and chasing money. The Journey to the Edge of the Universe, has rekindled my interest.

For more informtion on this movie, Please click here

Freedom! – My Second Job is No More

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The last couple of days have been pretty hectic for me as 2 major events just took place in my life.

Yesterday, I finally paid off the remaining debt on my car loan which I am extremely proud of. Today, I gave notice to my part time job that I am leaving in 2 weeks. I was debating with myself when would be the proper time for me to once again, live on a single income. I like to move fast and see results, so I decided to pull the plug on the second job very quickly.

I must admit, it is going to be tough to adapt to living on the income only generated from my day job. Even though I was only working 2 jobs for a short amount of time, I really have grown accustomed to that extra $450 I got on a monthly basis. I am usually a creature of habit and like things to be pretty normal during my life.

I had somewhat of a plan before my dreams of quitting my second job became a reality. Paying off the car was the first step as it costed me nearly $300 a month. I am going to mentally think that the $300 not spent on my car will act as a supplement to the income I lose from quitting my second job. The way I look at it, I am only down $150 a month and  that is something I believe I can adapt to quickly.

My next step is going to be to figure out other means to generate income minus the slavery from working at a job. I am hoping to somehow earn some passive income or, work at something I really enjoy in which money earned would be a bonus. In the meantime, I am going to continue saving as much as possible while trying to enjoy life.

Time

One thing I am looking forward to is the extra time that I will be having once I am only at my day job. I am so used to working all through the night and day with barely anytime to sleep. Free time for me was just a memory.

That is not the case anymore! I am going to take full advantage of this free time by:

Trying to learn as much as possible  – I really like to learn by reading books and articles about subjects that are of interest to me. I fully expect to begin reading more books by borrowing them from the library and the occasional purchase at Amazon or the local bookstore.

Spend more time with family and fiance – Before my second job,  I always felt like I never had any free time on my hands. I now know the value of time and will try not to waste it doing meaningless activities all the time. More time spend with my immediate family and my fiance is something that I am planning on doing.

Spend time with nature – Sometimes, walking alone in a park surrounded by trees and hearing the trickle of a flowing creek creates inner peace and lets your imagination and thoughts come alive. Spending time and becoming one with nature is something that I plan to do more of.

Fun things!– I am a big believer in keeping some of your childhood with you as it gives you a greater appreciation of life and sort of calms the daily pressures and stress of adulthood. Playing video games, watching and playing sports, and just hanging out are all things I like to do and am not ashamed to admit it. One of our main weaknesses, in my opinion is losing our childhood as we grow older. How many of you think back to your childhood as the good old days? I sure do on some occasions.

I am really looking forward to the day when I will be financially free and will not need any income from a job. The thought of having that kind of freedom alone gives me the strength to carry on.

Posted in Life, Work. 5 Comments »

My Car Payment is a Thing of the Past

Today has been a great day for me. I decided to go the root of paying the remaining balance on my car from my savings account.

for the last few years, I have been nearly paying $300 dollars monthly for my car and it was beginning to irritate me knowing that such a large expense was being regularly deducted from my account.

I mentally struggled on what I was going to do between keeping my savings or paying off my car. It all came down to interest rates. I simply just saved $70 this year by paying off the balance. The interest I was being charged for my car loan was close to 4% higher than interest I was making on my savings account. No matter how small the amount saved, it was the deciding factor for me.

I am glad to say that moving forward, I have just created more options for myself by freeing another $300 a month. I believe that I will benefit the most for paying off my car in these 3 ways:

  1. The greatest way I can see myself benefiting is by making my second, night shift job expendable. I will be giving my notice any day now and will slightly reduce my slavery to the work force
  2. Secondly, I can use the extra money to repay  my savings account and rebuild the balance or pay off the remaining debt I have left.
  3. Finally, I will free up some money to donate to charities and start helping out. I am still currently researching what will be the best charity to donate to.

As of now I only have $1,900 remaining in debt which is the balance on my line of credit. I expect this to be paid off in full within the next few months. This will be easier as my expenses are now lower then they were a few months ago when I had close to $8,000 in debt.

I do not think I will ever finance another car again as it becomes a financial and mental strain as time progresses. Sure it is really nice to have a new car but my next approach is going to be to purchase a very slightly used car(maybe 1 -2 years old) and paid in full. In time, I plan to make monthly payments to my high interest savings account to mimic  a car payment. Once I have generated enough money, only then will I purchase another car.

A Visit to Montreal for the Weekend

This past week, I treated my fiance to a small little weekend trip to Montreal, Quebec for our 6 year anniversary! We were both really excited as we have been saving money for quite a while and not really enjoying our time together or even life in general. We both live in Ontario and it was about a 5 hour drive but a good time to enjoy the scenery and really talk about life and eat some junk food together!

 

Let me just say Montreal is a beautiful place! The old architecture and atmosphere makes you feel like you are in Europe. There are many churches and museums to visit and lots of fine dining and shopping available.

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As you can see from the picture, Montreal really is a beautiful place. I spent way more this weekend then I have in a very long time for anything. Here is the breakdown of what I spent on our 3 day stay:

Hotel (Hotel Place D’arms) – $500 – This was pretty expensive but man was it ever a beautiful hotel. Very elegant and the most comfortable bed in the world. Plus there was a great continental breakfast and free wine and cheese in the evening.

Food – $125 – I paid for some of our dining out choices and my fiance paid others. We went to one fancy restaurant and some cafes and smaller deli’s.

Gas – $70– I love my car! I made it to drive all the way to Montreal and back, over 10 hours of driving for just $70.00 I was worried gas would have been much more pricier but that was not the case at all. My Fiance paid (alot!) for the gas for this trip.

Activities – $100– Most money was spent shopping but also on visiting old historic churches and museums. There is no shortage of historic buildings in Montreal.

Overall we spent roughly $800 for this weekend trip.

This is a great deal of money but it’s an extreme rarity for us to do this. It was well worth it and I would recommend Montreal to anyone!