Sunday, November 22, 2020

Happiness is....eliminating redundant habits

Flooring... this week has been completely dominated by the addition of laminate to Chateau Mildew so apologies again for my lack of dedication to the blogging cause.

But why laminate? 

Well we were proceeding with floor sanding but then had a change of heart. 


Well we tested out the varnish and the floor took on a kind of multicolored look about it due to the previous use of different wood types which made it a bit too surreal for our tastes so rather than replace all the planks laminate it was. Much cheaper and not actually bad quality.

Laminate has come on in leaps and bounds since the first IKEA maple glue version:-

So this week was chopping away at the bottom of door casing with the japanese pull saw and fitting the new laminate across the living room to dining room. As I write this the task is nearing completion which is awesome and means I can get on with installing the lino in the bathroom and kitchen (after painting)

In the flow of last weeks lazy journalism though here is a blog post from Dividend Nomad back in August 2018:-


One of the many changes we've noticed in FIRE is that when you cease to trade your time for money it suddenly hits you how important it is to continue this trend. The path to FIRE after all involves an awakening and realization that our time on this planet is so short and being in control of your own time once more brings to light other areas where it is being wasted.

What this means is at the point where you no longer need to erode your already short time on earth working at a job for 8-12+ hours per day to perpetuate a debt payment cycle, then you can truly begin to focus on what makes you feel happy and positive in life.

Take for example something as simple as sitting down to watch the evening news. From our own experience this used to invariably entail watching some item about an unfortunate local person being shot or involved in some sort of road traffic accident, quite upsetting to be honest. But back then we never seemed to stop and think whether this was information we really needed to know or if it was burning through life hours and making us miserable in the process.

Without sounding too selfish it's hard to understand exactly how our lives actually improved with the knowledge of bad things happening to other people. Maybe the plan of the TV programmers could have been that if we knew the victim personally then we could maybe go visit them to pass on our best wishes, but in all honesty how many times would that likely be the case? On the face of it it actually became difficult to understand why we would habitually use our remaining time on the planet to watch unfortunate events. This was one of the first items we decided was redundant time with zero gain so we stopped it. 

In the UK there is also a habit of watching soap operas from 6pm until 10pm in the evening, in fact we attempted to watch one of these from a hotel we stayed at initially and at some point it just seemed that the storyline erupted into an argument between a few of the main actors, it honestly became unbearable. We could have presented a case for watching was that the acting was of an excellent standard but at some point it ceased to make sense, all it seemed like we would effectively be doing was committing to a time block of watching people lose their temper with each other. Again we decided this was an example of redundant time. 

The same was the case for newspapers, at some point in our existence it was put to us that it's everyone's responsibility to know what is going on in the world so reading newspapers or online news is critical. However there is a counterpoint to this argument that involves the fact that there is very little if anything at all that you can do about most of the worlds problems, a general overview understanding is sufficient. Stressing about these problems on a day to day basis or trying to decipher biased from real reporting seemed like another pointless exercise. We're now able to walk past all those big headlines in the racks at the grocery store without ever feeling the need to know more, reading online news has also been eliminated.

So you see what we were doing here? With no real effort we have analyzed aspects of time usage and decided which were accreditive to happiness and positivity versus ones which we felt were redundant. All the while remembering that our time on earth is finite, anything could happen to us tomorrow so happiness in the present is crucial.

From here all that was necessary was to begin figuring out experiences that we preferred to do instead. Turns out we really enjoy walking near the lake feeding the swans and geese, watching the sunset, heading out for a long run or bike ride, hitting the gym, consuming informative books, blogs and podcasts from some truly intelligent, insightful people that we feel help us become better people. Simply put, these activities that brought joy and happiness to our lives needed to be more prominent.

When we occasionally watch TV now the preference has become towards a Netflix film or situation comedy and if we find nothing suitable then we switch off and figure out an alternative use of life hours. This can mean sitting and talking or researching our next remodeling project or perhaps researching the advantages of any new countries we want to visit or live in.

The sitting and talking has become our best time to be honest, and we definitely get a lot out of it. When friends and relatives come to visit us here or we go visit them there is nothing better than to catch up with people without the nagging thought in your mind that you need to be somewhere else, you can truly devote all your time to listening and enjoying people's company. We've successfully eliminated a lot of redundant time and replaced it with positive, happy, memorable moments. It doesn't take much to optimize your life in this respect, just a recognition of old habits that are counterproductive to your life as a whole.

We've found that one of the best exercises to determine what is accreditive versus redundant is to simply think about reaching the end of our lives and asking ourselves what we think we would wish we'd spent more time doing. This is a good way of thinking from moment to moment about the path your life is taking you on and whether an action is a habit that might need to be broken.

In conclusion, this is definitely a classic 'each to their own' post. If you love nothing more than watching soap opera characters argue or seeing tragic events on TV on a regular basis then that is entirely an individual decision and if it makes you happy we are not here to tell you otherwise. However if there are aspects to your life that you aren't happy with then it might be a good idea to identify and strip away redundant time and re-allocate that time to researching a go-forward plan that is more amenable to future, longer term enjoyment. 

Thanks for reading,



This post is still very much applicable to our lives in FIRE, though I can admit I did cheat a little and follow some of the election coverage and have been keeping a close eye on the ACA supreme court outcome. It's easy to see the negativity creeping back in though so it becomes necessary to shut it back down.

Before working on Chateau Mildew I actually took up Gouache painting after not lifting a paintbrush since mid high school, not to mention learning piano and the French lessons on duolingo. These activities wouldn't be possible if too much time was spent watching TV or on the internet as mentioned in the above post.

Once the Chateau work tails off I'll be back to painting, reading and music, maybe a bit of mountainbike. I'll detail all that in a later post though.

Love to all,


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