I codenamed my pet ideas “M” and “A” for each respectively. I have been unable to retain as much time socializing with fellow bloggers or writing while working out these pet ideas. Thankfully traffic stats appear to be holding steady and no one hates me yet 🙂 Just wanted to give a heads up on time, I’m still here with tons of stuff to write and the Hippo family isn’t going anywhere. Just need to figure out the groove of things.
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Table of Contents
What The Hell is ‘Deep Life?’
I don’t know. I just made that phrase up. ?
Basicallyyy, it’s self-actualization. It’s the hard question you ask yourself – after you reach financial independence.
It’s kind of along the lines of what the meaning of life is, what reality is, what is time blah blah blah.
This deep life question only comes under circumstances of a lot of freedom, self-exploration and enough to be financially safe (financial independence).
These caveats narrow the pool of candidates a lot.
Most people who feel like they’re missing that purpose can’t start or stop to think about it. Therefore most don’t get that opportunity of a solution because there are so many distractions.
There is the mortgage to pay, the bills to balance, the kids to pick up from school, dinner to make etc.
As a result, you end up with a bunch of people listing this as their #1 deathbed regret:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” (Business Insider)
The basis of human-centric design follows 5 phrases which are Need, Observation, Idea Generation (Solution) and Testing. We as humans use it for every single novel problem encountered. I organized my train of thoughts in this respect to map out what I went through to discover my meaning.
The other example I went by is…classic Maslow!
If you are missing meaning or feeling empty while most of your basics for Maslow’s hierarchy is being met then you might be going through something similar to what I have been experiencing for several years which is esteem needs and self-actualization.
Talk about creative thinking…imagine the mental somersault I had to do as a regular 27-year-old immigrant (not high on anything or special in any way) to figure this out. Deep life is everything on that tippy top pyramid and if unexplored then the only other thing left is regret.
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After my husband and I crossed over the liquid $1 million net worth mark – which coincided around my 27th birthday – I’ve been more serious about deeper life goals. I had to think about it because on the base level, we are now financially independent
What should be driving us now should be a higher calling or aim. You can even track my mental journey with my post from last year where I struggled with this topic, among other emotions.
We got away with some serious luck and hard work. Top that with a generally laid-back, uncaring attitude regarding social situations, external experiences or material goods…you get oddballs like us who has no solid plans after being freed.
So I had to dig deep. I had to dig deep for a year and it was a flipping crazy year of back and fro. I did not show it on the blog but all of 2017, I basically cried Soapy’s ears off about what I should do with life (or thought was what I wanted in life.)
To a person worried about her next meal and paycheck, I bet I came off very annoying. Not relatable at all. When Maslow’s most basic hierarchy of needs (food & shelter) is not covered, everything else is a minor misdemeanor.
This in return drove even heavier feelings of concern that I may never find something that will give me self-actualization.
Then one day someone (Amy of LifeZemplified) said to me, “a lot of people should just push instead of pull” and this giant lightbulb went off in my head. So begins the period of simply observing myself and not where I should be or could be. Nothing about my past or regrets and nothing about my future or blessings.
I suppose a backpacking trip through Europe would have flushed that out too, like so many of my college professors told me they did and so many of my peers after graduation did. Back then I did not have that privilege so I started finding work right away thinking they were a bunch of hippies.
(I honestly thought that hahaha. Buncha hippies!)
Well, they might have had a point. I don’t think you need to trek through Europe or Tibet though.
I had volumes of data of what made me tick, I just needed a spark and accept who I am. Work with the grain, not against it.
I used that data about myself and flushed out my pet projects “M” & “A” after a little over a year of mulling over things.
Autonomy – The need to control your own life.
Mastery – The urge to get better at something that matters to us.
Purpose – The yearning to be a part of something bigger than just you.
These are deeper life projects because it came after Financial Independence (“autonomy”) AND it’s driven by the human need for “mastery” and “purpose.“
I was pulling and pulling and pulling…and wrecking every brain cell to find some meaning before we became financially independent.
Funnily, they were sitting in front of me all along. These few lifelong obsessions that I considered as a “quirks” now turned itself into something more. Someone out there is probably thinking, well duh – how did you not see it?
But I was really really really really really really blindsided. I was pulling and pulling and pulling when I should have just pushed.
One of these quirks made me weird and…well, I never saw it as a potential gift.
The rest of the quirks were so far out of reach that I did not entertain them as avenues until I realized everything was more in-reach then I thought…especially if you’re financially independent before age 30.
That’s a really young leg up!
I grew up poor so…if you’re telling me dreams are now affordable at age 27…woooo baby, that’s something I’ve never heard of before simply from a mentality point of view.
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First, I have a few known “plenty o’ passions” to go around. They all…coincidentally…start with Fs: food, family, finance, fiction, and f*cking. I just have to find avenues where they can take on a fuller form than personal quirks. (F*cking is a hobby, right? jkjk)
Second, I targeted my natural talents and abilities instead of beating them up for being a waste of time.
Third, I matched up my talents with the exact avenue of my passions and I placed that along with the opportunity of my reality.
Fourth, I went to my deathbed and drew out what I wanted to do from there.
Finally, I scoped around my present reality for information like cost, potential, funding, opportunity cost, history of obsession, disruption, danger, reward, familiarity, practice…I basically gave it a good once over up and down.
(Also, notice all Fs are selfish and I’m more than fine with that.)
Self-actualization is described simply as…
“the psychological process aimed at maximizing the use of a person’s abilities and resources. This process may vary from one person to another” (Couture et al., 2007).
So self-actualization can be thought of as the full realization of a person’s creative, intellectual, or social ability. It is done by leveraging ability with potential and opportunity. The process is super personal and everyone differs.
The whole puzzle took about a year. I was not actively boiling in it for a year. I was simmering, I still had a full life to live. But these were the things that kept me up late at night. The whole process of building to a real million happened so quick that it blindsided me a bit. It’s not a complaint – just a warning to the rest of you with $100,000 or more in net worth. It goes fast from there!
Now I have to be strategic when choosing to go forward. I have to be careful because even if money and time are now flexible, people and things around me are not.
The fit tripped me up for a few months during my “proto-typing phrase” because I miscalculated the market and misunderstood myself again. I went back to pushing against myself for a while and I was sidetracked by at least 4 to 10 ill-thought out crackpot plots, confusing my husband even further.
(Soap stopped listening to my rants a long time ago, aha.)
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Thinking through it, Projects “M” and “A” covered all the foundation I needed for mastery, purpose and autonomy.
Project “A” is especially important. It’s still brewing for a reboot whereas “M” is being professionally designed.
I actually started “A” when I was in college, scrapped it after I hit my first wall and was banned from…well the mainstream Internet. Restarted “A”…3 years ago independently. Scrapped it in a week again because I felt ill-prepared. Now today-today, I’m regretting every moment I was ambient and shy about what made me tick.
What seemed impossible at the time would be now very possible had I persisted. Success is a hard word for this genre so I can only say hobby. Now I have to restart “A” from nothing, which is fine. I went to my deathbed and “A” was one sure thing and my longest obsession.
Project “M” or “A” will either kick me back into proto-typing or it will move me forward towards mastery.
(Remember how all of this is a response to being financially independent? It’s disturbing that having meaning and legacy bothers no one else that I know personally…I can’t be the only weirdo…)
The basics of what I am pursuing makes a lot of sense in the grand scheme of my life, even if “M” and “A” doesn’t work out, I can say I explored that avenue because the basics of both go back to the same Fs above. I just have to keep working at it. It’s not only about project “M” and “A.”
You only have to dig deep and let yourself find enjoyment in the things that I bet you already know you want to do – “easy” (harder than sounds..) and simple as that!
Mine is only complicated because I just feel like I have a mission to do, a discussion to clear up, and a story to tell. Otherwise, I’m just going to have a chill and happy life like I am now – doing whatever else I want to do involving ‘purpose’ (Project A) and ‘mastery’ (Project M).
I know I meander but the discussion is not about what Project M or A is at all. Too excited so I gushed hahaha.
I’m just making a point. The point is to feel enlightenment in accepting who you are, what you are here to do, everything that makes you unique, and finding that something that drives you – as odd or impossible – someone out there might just share it and thank you.
Make meaning a reason for saving more and reaching FI/RE. Too little people actually make it to the top of Maslow’s pyramid.
I invented the phrase #deeplife because I had the luxury of self-exploration to understand what I wanted it to do with this one life that I got. We have already achieved financial independence so the only question is finding meaning…and I’ve found my meaning staring at me in the face.
It’s not going to be shared…this is on the Internet for godsakes. But if I don’t end up with a Wikipedia article or tell-all by the time I’m 60-something years old or on the deathbed then I will be slight, teeny tiny bit disappointed…not gonna lie.
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