The priorities of an everyday man

Our daughter turned two weeks yesterday.

For two weeks, I woke up at 6, having woken up at least twice during the night, to begin a daily grind – prepare breakfast, move dry dishes to the cabinets, wash everything in the kitchen sink, tidy the place, help wife feed baby, prepare lunch, run around trying to find something, move things, prepare dinner, wash one thing or another through the day, prepare to go to bed, make a few more runs, move more things.

In my old life, I woke up, washed up and left for work. When I returned, I cleaned up, put something together and settled with my iPad.

My wife asks for as little as possible. But with a 3 degree tear, I’ve had to do some running around the house. At night, she lets me be except she’s hardly had any good sleep herself. But there’s little I can do when the baby wails. The baby’s inherited my appetite and temperament. Fortunately for me, my wife’s a fighter.

I’m not sure I’ve managed the last two weeks efficiently. My old life had time. I’m at the mercy of a baby now. I realize I must not allow myself to settle just because we have a baby. That I list things I must absolutely keep.

Because what gets listed gets done.

I’d like to be healthier and leaner:

  1. I’ve had a sudden urge to run ever since my daughter was born. I’m not sure why. In my head, I imagine leading a very active life with my wife and daughter. I’ve never ran, not as a runner. In fact, I didn’t think I could do distance until last year when I went from not being able to run a mile to running five.
  2. I want to bring my weight down from 175 lbs to 155 lbs.
  3. I’d like to eat less carbs, more fibers. That’d also simplify our eating habit – less time to prepare, less dishes to clean.
  4. I need a better sleeping habit. I’ll stop going to bed with my ipad.

I’d like to wealthier. There’s really three things anyone can do – earn, save and invest (ESI). All three if possible.

  1. We’ll continue towards maxing our 401ks and funding our taxable investments when we have any spare – regardless of the market.
  2. If you look at our expenses, the two areas we can curb on are on eating out and gift giving. The only time we ate out this year was on Valentines day. The gift giving is a sensitive issue for my wife. We gave away $13,354 in the last two years. That’s $556 a month. I say that’s steep.
  3. I want to side hustle, but only if it makes sense. I drove Uber for three days to realize it wasn’t worth the money and my time could be better spent.

I’d like to be very good at what I do. I have a good job. My manager is a reasonable person. My annual reviews are excellent – 8 on the 9 block performance rating – twice in the 3 years I’ve been with the company. I’m told it’s a real feat, ‘very rare’. My pay, however, has changed marginally. I feel the folks who decide don’t exactly see the level of complexities I fight to get their clean reports.

As in, I would write much shorter if I had time. And in this instance, the files are much cleaner because the demons have been vanquished.

I’m not sure if I should squeak, or be content. I’m not sure I want to risk seeking greener pastures either, not in the current environment, with a baby on board. I’m also not sure if I’ll make the same pay. I don’t have a barrage of ‘hot’ skills to list (or fake). And Rambo with a knife is just another person with a knife until we realize s/he’s Rambo.

I think I should continue working hard to up my game. My manager recently hired another person to do what I’m doing. It’s clear he wants my back up, he said so himself – and just in case.  Now the question is if he hired Rambo, or just another guy with a knife.

There’s a lot to learn and catching up to do. I lost 10 years after college to bit-of-everything-but-leading-to-really-nothing kind of ‘office’ jobs. If I didn’t think I could do a particular aspect of a job, I didn’t even try exploring the job. I wasn’t brave enough. Less smarter friends moved ahead in the meantime. I’m still not able to fake it.

We moved to Colorado in 2017 after I took the first job I got. The hiring manager didn’t know exactly what he needed, and I’m still not sure why he hired me. Fortuitously, I discovered that I was decent at the reporting side of it (it wasn’t much), and the more I did it the more I was asked of it, so I stayed in it. I also got lucky I had a good data-driven manager.

I want to push this forward and see where it takes me. My plan is to use one more year to learn as much as I can, in a well directed manner, before making a move. For far too long, I flung myself wide. I now want to do a few things well.

On that note, the list, on all things Data Science:

  1. Python data libraries and coding techniques
  2. Statistics, Data Modelling, bits of Machine Learning
  3. SQL and Microsoft power tools (Excel, DAX, M, Power BI)
  4. One YouTube tutorial everyday
  5. My only personal and regular expense is a subscription to Medium that feeds most of my daily readings. I also follow many FIRE bloggers, in print and on podcasts, to keep up with personal finance

There are other things I should really add – like improving my guitar skills and blogging more often. I’ll keep these at the back burner for now.

I’m happy that the pursuit of FIRE does not demand for much. The higher the ESI, the faster you reach FI. But a decent level of ESI does the job as well. Possibly my favorite FIRE couple is wherewebe for that very reason.

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