Happiness Journeyman – Brave New Life

The Happiness Journeyman writes about his journey to financial independence – early retirement – at Brave New Life with a mantra to live simple and be fulfilled, these are his good things.

Good things to read.

Your Money Or Your Life. If it were up to me, this book would be a requirement in every public high school. This is no ordinary financial book about investing strategies or 401K’s. Nope – this book goes deeper by explaining what money really is, and helps the reader figure out how to consciously live, work, save, invest, and spend.

How many people can say they changed jobs, sold their car, and moved across the country based on a single book? Well, I can. After reading this book, everything changed. How I lived, worked, saved, invested… Even how I viewed life and family changed, and all for the better. If you’re working/spending/saving without understanding the concept of this book, you’re building a house on a foundation of sand.

Fight Club, by Chuck Pahlaniuk. If you liked the movie, you’ll love the book. Don’t be fooled into thinking this book is about fighting, it’s not. It’s an entertaining novel about our consumer culture, and the inner struggle we all have to escape it (whether we know it or not). Let’s face it, we all have a little Tyler Durden in us. Here’s a few great quotes to wet your whistle:

You buy furniture, you tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. buy the sofa, then for a couple of years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled, then the right set of dishes, then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things that you used to own, now they own you.

Getting fired […] is the best thing that could happen to any of us. That way, we’d quit treading water and do something with our lives

I’m breaking my attachment to physical power and possessions, because only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit.

The liberator who destroys my property, is fighting to save my spirit. The teacher who clears all possessions from my path will set me free

Classic Kid’s Books. A few years ago, when my son was 3, I was so fed up with all the crappy little Disney books that filled his bookshelf. These books are atrocious. I’m not taking anything away from some of the better Disney movies (Cars, Toy Story, etc) – but the book spin-offs for 3 year olds are unforgivably bad. Not only are they too short for a 3 year old, but they are mind boggling boring to read as an adult.

On the other hand, consider a timeless classic like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. When I read this to my son, we usually would read one chapter each night. My son was fascinated with the book the entire time (which took a few weeks). Each night during dinner he would talk about the book, practically begging for bedtime so he could find out what was going to happen with Dorothy, scarecrow, and the flying monkeys!

Just a few other great children’s books include Call of the Wild, Curious George (the original), The Little Prince, and of course – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. How can you go wrong with a children’s book that includes a cat smoking hashish from a hookah?

And by the way, you can usually download these classics to your kindle or kindle app for free!

Good things to watch.

Nature. Let’s face it, between DVR, Youtube, and smart phones – we stare at screens way too much. Many studies have shown that the disconnection from nature that came with the industrial revolution is seriously harmful to our physical, mental and spiritual health. So I like to spend as much time as I can outside, observing everything not man-made. Even now, I’m writing this on an outdoor patio. So yeah, put down the smartphone and go for a walk.

Although I try not to watch very much TV, occasionally I do watch documentaries. One that I watched recently and really enjoyed was I Am, by Tom Shadyack. It’s a story of a rich and famous man who wrecked his mountain bike and spent nearly a year in chronic head pain. When the pain finally subsided, he went on a journey to understand what life was really about. He learned something interesting – check it out.

Kids At Play. First off, I’m not suggesting that you become some creepy old man hanging out at playgrounds and staring at kids. But when I’m around kids at play, including my own, I always find it uplifting. Seeing their pure innocence, joy, and energy reminds me how great life is when you live in the moment. Sometimes we just need to be reminded.

Good things to use.

Your bike. If you don’t have a bike, go get one. If you don’t use yours, go out to your garage and pump up those tires. I’ve been riding my bike as my primary source of transportation for 2 years now, and that time spent outside is my favorite part of the day. I feel bad for the people sitting in their stuffy little cars and trucks drinking their caffeine trying to wake up in the morning, as I zoom down the road with natural endorphins giving me the energy I need for the day. There are plenty of studies to show the health benefits of bicycling regularly, and I can personally attest to this.

Team Treehouse. Before signing up at Team Treehouse, I had never written or studied Objective C, the language used to program iPhone apps. But within 2 days of taking these online courses, I had already completed my first app. The subscription is $25 per month, but easily worth it if you want to learn one of the many skills they teach. Besides programming languages, they have topics ranging from website design to “how to start a business.” With the $25 subscription, you can take as many courses on as many topics as you choose. That’s a helluva lot better than the cost of college. I also appreciate that the videos are a good balance of form and function. There’s nothing dry – unlike most college professors. The first month is also free to try.

The library. It blows my mind that so many people pay money to own books, when there’s a library that will let you borrow the book for free. I mean, how many books are you really going to read more than once?

You can follow him on Twitter, @BraveNewLife.

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4 comments

  1. I’m with you on several essential points: watching your input and biking.

    “Crap in – crap out” is a golden rule that keeps me off junk information and negative news.

    As for the bicycle – I could not agree more. It is exercise, it is therapy and it is transportation.

    great post HJ.

  2. I love biking! I bike to work every day, it’s fantastic! It also hits another one of your points, Nature, it’s great to spend my bike ride of 25-30min each way outside and in nature. It helps me arrive at work full of energy and release stress before coming home.

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