My lesson of a “good enough” life

Some people, not all people, want more of whatever gave them happiness the last time.

Jeff Bezos has a thousand times as much money as someone with 10 million dollars. Do we think Jeff is a thousand times happier than someone with 10 million dollars?

I was lucky to have experienced traveling in places with not a lot of money. When I was in the US, with a combination of Couchsurfing, whole roast chicken and Indo Mee, I lived happily with a budget of SGD$1,000. And that has cemented the idea that I don’t need a lot of money to be happy.

So when I got back, I thought hard about how much I really need to be happy. How much do I need a month? How much is rent if I move out? How much do I need for food? How much to live a happy and a “good enough” life? I put in the work to figure all that out.

Rent: $1,200
Food: $500
Utilities: $200
Transportation: $200
Insurance: $200
Total: $2,200

In a year, I would need ($2,200*12 months) S$26,400. And if I’m getting a 5% annual return from the investment, I would need $550,000 to effectively stop working for money. That also means I could be a barista and my salary would be a bonus to my living expense.

I think a lot about this idea of “good enough” and applied it to food, work and health. Yet, I find myself turning it up to 11 again. This time it is with friendship, romantic relationship and projects.

As I look at taking on a new project, I generate a lot of ideas but fearful to decide on one. I went on 50 dates this year, and yet to double down on one. I made a lot of friends, but I couldn’t name my top 5 friends.

Am I happier? I don’t think so.
Am I satisfied? I don’t think so.

I haven’t yet thought hard about what is “good enough” for my projects, romantic relationships and friendship.

Part of having a happy and satisfied life is never turning up to 11, but that part of being human is trying to get it up to 11. This is the first step in us understanding that we are always playing this game with ourselves and we have the opportunity to put ourselves on a different track to create outputs that we can be proud of.

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