Clarification - PLEASE READ:
I hope this clears up any scatterbrained aspect of this post, and I appreciate those who read.
There's actually two things at play here, but I think they come from the same place or are heavily related. One is me being cheap with money and stressing that I'm being stupid with my finances despite being more financially stable than most of the people I know - needing to use my money as efficiently as possible to a fault. That's what the post started as, but then it felt fitting to add in the second problem, because the two are so related: all my projects and the way I struggle with living in the moment as I stress about using my time as effectively as possible and trying to do too many things at once.
Are you living in the moment and being present and happy now -
or do you feel you have to suffer and wait before you get to be happy?
This question is one from Andy's accountability check-ins, and it really hits me hard.
This thread viewtopic.php?f=18&t=53 also feels almost like it's tailored to me - though I know plenty of people feel this way too.
An area I struggle with being happy & present in is confidence about money and productivity time.
I have dedicated this current portion of my life to Killing My Inner Loser, getting the sex life I thought was never possible, doing some exploring, and building some entrepreneurial ventures. I have a small youtube channel and am currently working on starting my own blog site, but there have been another dozen ideas I've toyed with in roughly the past year. But I'm constantly doubting myself, feeling like I'm misusing my time, and totally (and I really mean almost totally) in my head thinking of the perfect way of doing things rather than enjoying my life.
Of course, instead of living, I find myself spending more time stressing over what to do, and worrying about all the things I'm not currently doing, rather than actually being able to feel what it is I WANT to do and being comfortable with that, or working slowly but steadily towards becoming the person that can do those things, and allowing myself to enjoy leisure time.
When I work on my blog site, even if productively, I worry it's an excuse to not 100% towards moving out of my parents' place
When I work on writing scripts for my youtube, I worry I'm procrastinating working on my blog site
When I swipe away or talk to girls on apps, I worry I'm procrastinating everything - especially if that doesn't actually lead anywhere
When I take steps towards moving out of my parents' place, I worry I'm actually just procrastinating working on the blog site
Of course allowing myself any R&R time at all makes me feel guilty. Including actually hanging with a girl.
And round and round I go, in a circle, working on the lastest thing that I felt guilty about and making myself feel guilty about not working on the thing before that. When I complete any portion a task, I lament that I should have gotten that done in half the time if it wasn't for my perfectionism.
I struggle most with "allowing myself to suck" when it comes to things like articles or scripted content that will live on the internet forever - I take pride in making a quality product. Simultaneously, its as if "these things don't currently make money, therefore you can't prove for sure that you aren't wasting your time." It's truly like Schrodinger's Task: Everything I do can be considered as both: [potentially revolutionary] and [a waste of time I'm using to procrastinate these other things]. The issue here is that I fear wasting potential because I choose to do the wrong thing in the first place, and so I try to do everything at once. It's clear that this is a problem, but I don't want to drop any of those things; that feels like quitting and failure all the same!
Even writing this post itself (which has now taken me roughly 5-6 hours) I can only justify to myself as a "worthy usage of time" and not action-faking by saying - well, it can double as an article for my blog (with some more editing and modifications) so it's not a waste
Even since I was a child, I would do this efficiency thing in games. Every move has to be perfect, every character build must be ideal, every experience point allocated in the right place. From the moment I play my first hour, I'm already planning my endgame team makeup, and checking my work, re-calculating, and making sure I was doing it in the exact perfect way. This would continue until either A) I messed up (maybe a character perma-died), felt like I failed, and quit or B) the game got way too easy because my whole team was obnoxiously overpowered, and I'd get bored.
This anxiety shit runs DEEP.
You can analogize this to how I spend my time now, and how I spend my money now. Every second of every minute of every day, along with every single dollar, must be ideally spent on what would be most beneficial to helping my future self. Everything else feels uncomfortable.
But I don't want it to be this way.
My idea here is that maybe others within this community could read my thoughts and provide their own perspectives so that I could receive advice and (where appropriate) compare where I am to others' situations and straighten out my overactive self preservation instinct. I'm sure I'll never totally get rid of it, but there have been times where I felt less constrained and more in the moment, so I know it's possible.
ALSO NOTE: Just through writing this and getting my thoughts out in front of me in words, I already feel better - it's clear that I blow some things out of proportion, like the moving ordeal towards the bottom of this post. Still, I've written it all now and I'd hate to have that go to waste. I appreciate the attention and advice all the same.
Below are some scattered details, mostly about the money side:
Growing up, my helicopter parents along with school taught me that everything has a correct answer and a wrong answer. Correct lets you pass, and wrong gets punished - with red pen marks by the school, or with yelling and other means at home. I was brainwashed and followed "The Path" that my parents set out for me. You know "The Path" - Perfect grades leads to a good college, which leads to a good starter job, which leads to a 6-figure job. (Because I'm "smart." "Smart, smart, smart" it's as if that's the only compliment I ever heard until my 20s. It never even felt good, it felt like the burden of expectations) Then you to do that for 40ish years with 1 vacation per year, and then you retire and can enjoy life, right?
I really mean this. My parents see "a Job" almost as if it's the reason to live itself. There is no safety or security unless you are currently working 40 hrs a week. I have argued with them - "Would you rather have a job that pays 100k/year for 10 years, or 1 million dollars in the bank right now? They answered - the job. Because the experience from that job on your resume will make it so you can always find a job, even if the 1 million dollars runs out. Or some such nonsense.
In their eyes, all your investments could go to zero, you could land in the hospital and end up with a six-figure bill because you don't have insurance right now, there is nothing in life more important than a high paying, 9 to 5, working for someone else J-O-B.
I think the subconscious remnants of this ideology within my emotions, regardless of knowing how ridiculous it is, is what still keeps me stuck today.
One of the ways I started moving from damaged, uncaring, minimum effort, vidya-&-porn mess to someone who actually self-improves and gives a fuck about his own desires is that I started valuing passive income, investing, and retiring early. Early on I developed this technique of comparing whatever I was doing to an hourly rate at a job - and a high one due to my being too hard on myself. A simple example: "I'm looking into learning XYZ for the next two hours - is that worth $60 to me? Yes." vs "Should I play video games for the next 2 hours? Ehhh, that's like throwing away $60. Better to do something else."
This, living as frugally as possible, and having an understanding of investments and compound interest curves has borderline ruined me. I feel now that I am unable to turn this off, and have become frugal to a fault - basically, I'm CHEAP. I see so many things that cost money as not worth it if it can be done through a bit of effort, or some other way.
Drinks at a bar - FUCK that's expensive, and for what? Just a beer? I can get a 6 pack for not much more!
Eating out, or Doordash? Shit, that's like $40-50 for a meal for 2, and I'm spending my half for a salad I could make just as easily.
Tinder Gold is $25 dollars for a month, AND I have to pay for extra boosts?
Here's the worst one:
I want to move out of my parent's place (I've been living here since covid began). Not only would this let me bring girls over and stop procrastinating the Tinder aspect of my elite goals, my parents are a downright terrible influence regarding stress - they're truly on the border of mentally-ill levels of neuroticism.
But I'm planning a 1-2 month long road trip in springtime, and in summertime I want to rent a small beach house for 3-4 weeks to focus on AA and getting some proper successes. Thats 2-3 months that I have to pay rent for despite not even living there. Better to wait till fall to move out. Also, where do I live? I have several options, but all of them would require actually DOING the move, and I'm not planning on staying in a place very long, so I'll have to move my shit again in just a year? And I also have to sign a year's lease, what if the place I go doesn't end up good? Then I've caused even more problems for myself, and I could have spent all that time just sitting in my room at my parents' place and working on my projects.
(You may say, wait, renting that beach place is probably not cheap. You're right, it'll probably be ~$3k USD. I guess it may not be the actual spending that bothers me, but the efficiency of using what I spend, and not leaving a penny wasted on something that wasn't worth it.)
The thing is, I_don't_even_lack_money. Out of college I worked a well-paying but somewhat unfulfilling job with a frankly ridiculous commute time, I was crazy cheap with everything, I invested my money in both safe and speculative ventures, and due to a combination of hundreds of hours of research and some dumb luck I now have plenty of money for the time being - enough to last me multiple years living in my own apartment without a job.
I should feel safe.
I should be able to relax and enjoy my self-improvement journey over the next few years, or even a few months, with money no longer on the mind, right?
Hah. Not a chance.
Who knows what "plenty" really is, but for instance I see my friends - some my age (late 20's), some up to a decade older (and thus theoretically have less time for missteps and recovery) - who have barely a proper fraction of the money to their name that I do, but enjoy life and spend. I don't mention this to feel superior to them, quite the opposite. I mention this because I struggle mentally, and I don't see them doing so - I see them living & enjoying hobbies they pay for, largely unconcerned with money & efficiency struggles despite one working multiple retail jobs, and the other refusing to move closer to his small business (which has yet to make a profit) and instead commuting over two hours every day. Sure, maybe they just don't show it, but I've asked those two and it seems like no, they just seem not to have this overactive instinct in the first place - they don't feel the need to improve their conditions, not even as much as I would like to for them even if I received nothing in return. What if they're wrong to be so lax? Are they stupid to be so complacent? Woah. That's awfully judgemental of me, those are my friends and they can live how they want. So I don't question them much harder - I try to bring their attention to crisis areas, but it's selfish to give them stress they don't ask for, or make them feel stupid - even if I think they're being stupid. I always leave open the possibility that I'm the one who's wrong - and in this case clearly something's wrong on my end too if they can enjoy life and I struggle to.
I fear some of this may come off as humble bragging, and I fear this may have a negative mental impact on those whose shameful, self-flagellating pain point is a lack of financial stability - like my pain point is my belly fat. I wanted to inject and repeat that after nearly each sentence I have said above - it's almost like I feel ashamed to have this resource and still be complaining, maybe because of all the social stigma surrounding "privilege", maybe due to some bullshit thoughts that make me feel like I don't deserve it, but definitely because nothing makes me feel worse than people hitting my "pain point" and I'd hate to do that to someone else. Anyways, I know I shouldn't feel or act this way based on the teachings in this community. I'll trust it's not about whose struggles are objectively worse, and I'll only mention these comments once here in this paragraph. Thanks to all those who took the time to read my post.
My need for efficiency is overactive
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