Life

9 Thoughts From the Birthday Boy (A Digital Reflection)

What’s up folks!

Hope everyone had a long and refreshing Easter weekend.

Judging from the stories and facial tans at the office, seems like many people took this opportunity to sit around the beach enjoying the last rays of the Autumn sun.

Sounds pretty chilled right (ha! See what I did there)?

Not much different for MrsFrugalSamurai-to-be and I, we were mainly knocking off some final wedding preparations (wedding series here), catching up with friends and hanging out with family.

Pretty standard stuff “rubs nose on sleeve”.

Life’s been a bit full on recently so I’m very grateful for these few days to recalibrate and catch a breather.

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“L…leave me alone – I’m recalibrating”

And wouldn’t you know it, I was shocked over the weekend to discover that my birthday was upcoming on Wednesday (today).

Bloody hell – I can never guess when it is, always sneaks up on me.

Life does that to you sometimes doesn’t it – when you have this and that flying at you from all corners, it’s hard to take notice of the peripherals.

I took inventory and had a good long think about what I have learnt in these 31 short years.

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Damn you woman! That hurts my feelings.

Call it a digital reflection for myself when I turn 101 – what a young, strapping, full blooded TheFrugalSamurai thought about the world in the heady days of 2018.

What resulted was the longest post thus far for The Frugal Samurai. I was going to break it up into two segments, but nah, not this time.

So sit back and enjoy these musings if you have a spare minute or ten.

Life is hard.

Ever since I stepped into the big bad world via my mother’s courier van, each day has been marginally harder than the rest.

We are happiest at our most ignorant – and children are the most ignorant of them all.

What you don’t know, can’t stress you right?

Since then, it’s been a decade and a half of formal schooling – with each exam bigger than the last, a decade or so of formal working – with each pay packet smaller than the expected and a whole heap of personal trials and tribulations.

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Poor guy, will grow up to be a senior level accountant with a nubile wife and two kids at private schools, he will go through an existential crisis at age 53 whereby he will shun the outside world to pursue his passion of fish-mongering – but look at him now, pure ignorance.

Through every step of the way, it’s been a case of just keep grinding, keep doing you, keep on, keep on!

Life wasn’t meant to be easy – life is hard because things which are greatest, are the hardest to achieve.

Money is NOT everything.

All throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I was chasing that dollar sign. Mind you, not because I was greedier than anyone else, but because growing up, we never really had any.

Ask the aspirations of many a self-made man and inevitably it revolves around finances or lackthereof growing up.

I’m not a self-made man by any stretch – not even close, BUT for yonks I did have a drive towards money and what it represents – safety.

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Demonstrating the universal language of money – note the man on left balancing bills on his head, thereby forming a new sub-culture.

But you know, with each passing year, the more I grow up, the more I realise that the dollar sign is just that – a sign.

We can choose to go the left of it, the right of it or even ignore it – because at the end of the day – it’s not the be all, end all.

Don’t get me wrong, in our capitalistic and Western society, you would rather have money than without, but a bit of age brings a certain perspective.

I still have my financial goals and if anything more determination than ever to achieve them, but if I had to choose fortune, fame and riches over time, relationships and experiences – it’d be a different choice now.

Mindset is everything.

Recently I’ve been aware of more and more of my friends opening up about their own inner turmoil and mental darkness (read here).

This struck a chord with me as one who has been through the abyss earlier in life.

Mental health is the biggest unseen killer and honestly, seek personal and professional help if you’re going through it – don’t close up, you’re never alone!

Take it from me as one who has been through it, kept it within and (luckily) went past it.

What I’ve found during this time and coming out of it – is that mindset is everything.

Mindset in how we approach life, in our choices, decisions, conversations, relationships, attitudes – everything!

When I was much younger, I didn’t realise the importance of mindset.

When life became too hard, I wanted to scream and shout and yell – “This is too hard!”

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Please don’t do this – otherwise you’ll be the star of the number one rated TV show of all time, it’s not worth the fame and fortune and… ah fuck it.

But you know what I’ve realised?

It’s only too hard when you think it’s too hard.

The overwhelming majority of “events” in our lives are intangible, they happen because they just do. We can’t control what happens to us – but we are in control of how we react each and every time, and this determines where we go and what we achieve.

Why are recent lotto winners eventually the same “level” of happiness as recent quadriplegics? (read here).

Mindset people, believe.

Find someone you trust.

This is so apt and so unbelievably powerful that it can and does make or break your life.

Many of us are fortunate enough to find that one person on this planet who makes our life easier, smoother and dare I say it – complete.

Then again, there are plenty who are UNfortunate enough to be on the other side of the coin.

I was extremely blessed and lucky to be raised by two loving, collaborative and attentive parents.

They raised me in an environment in which I never went without the major pillars – shelter, food, education and love.

Yes we might have scrimped here and sacrificed there – but they always made sure that my needs were prioritized.

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“Where’s my frigging food you fffff”

It’s with this upbringing and family ethos I saw in MrsFrugalSamurai which drew and made her special to me.

Thankfully after 7 short years of staying together (long-distance for the first 3), soon I will be lucky enough to call her my wife.

There’s never been a better time.

It was only a couple of years ago which I realised a concept that would change my life fundamentally.

“Time is the most valuable commodity”

Some people say money, some say love, some say pork rolls – but to each I say, time is the epitome because it is finite.

By writing this post, I have lost the opportunity cost of doing something else (eating a pork roll for example), that time spent, I can never ever hope to get back.

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Nom nom nom nom.

This is why recently I’ve developed my own mantra of “you gotta do you” (read more about it here).

Time’s too short to not be working on yourself, your goals and your dreams – because one day, you’ll regret not eating more delicious Vietnamese pork rolls. By then it might be too late (they close at 5pm).

Start Early.

At first year uni, I stumbled onto this guy’s readings online – I was fairly amused because I knew about him at high school but always thought he was some eccentric dead white guy with curly hair – R.I.P guy.

He was always in the papers and media so I thought I would check him out further.

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Dude! Have you tried Pantene?

The guy’s name was Albert Iron-something and although most of what he said about light and mass didn’t make much sense to a uni student looking for the next Counterstrike or FIFA game to join, one thing attributed to him stuck with me from day dot:

“Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t, pays it. Compound Interest is the most powerful force in the universe”.

DISAGREE Mr Albert sir! A delicious pork roll is the most powerful force!

The secret to compound interest, as with most successes in life – is to start early. Start small, start big – just gotta start early.

Take action.

Unfortunately no start can start without taking action to start.

For most of my life I did have those thoughts which prevented me from taking action with many things – from opening up that textbook to talking to that girl, I just didn’t take action.

But remember when I said that mindset is everything? That textbook doesn’t know or care whether you open it up or not (the girl would however, for the record) – yet what stopped me from taking action was in my mind.

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It must be because I had too many things IN my mind – sigh, the perils of being a genius.

That’s when I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone consistently so that I’m forced to take action regardless.

More often than not, that first step is an anti-climax because it just gets easier from there.

Read.

This one has been a constant throughout my life, which is ironic because I’ve never done particularly well academically (except in primary school – freaking triangles and squares and 36 + 48 = 7… 74… 84, yeah I aced that shit) – so it’s a little surprising that even during my adult years, I love to read.

Maybe it’s the fact that at school, for the most part we aren’t taught particularly relevant subjects to prepare us for adulthood.

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I have never, in all my life, wanted or needed to calculate the angle of elevation when I look at a tree.

Try calculating the Pythagoras Theorem between your desk, the door and the water cooler on your first day at work… yeah right.

However when it comes to topics in which I am fascinated in, I’ll churn through books, magazines, blogs, articles, websites like no tomorrow.

Seriously, whatever knowledge, questions, answers, problems, learnings there is to life and everything about it – it’s all written down somewhere. Read and learn people, read and learn.

Life is AMAZING.

Wow, what a ride these 31 years has been, much has been gained and much lost.

But ever since my parents got together 9 months before my conception to “Netflix and chill” in the old country, it’s been one rollercoaster after another “wink wink, nudge nudge” (OI get your mind out of the gutter you!)

In all honesty, I wouldn’t change this life for anyone or anything.

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Wait… just hold onto that thought for a moment…

There are memories, lessons, experiences and relationships which have been forged for the rest of my time on this planet of ours, I’m so grateful to have gone through them, the good times and the bad.

As each year passes, hopefully we are a little wiser, a little calmer and a whole lot more wealthier both in experience and riches.

Because after all, that’s life right?

Here’s to another year!

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