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Questions For a Fulfilling Life

September 18, 2017
AUTHOR: Emilie
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Reading Time: 4 minutes

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to this specific episode of Afford Anything podcast (through Overcast, of course), at the end of which she posed 11 Questions For a Fulfilling Life. While I enjoyed listening to these, I thought it’d be event better to go through some of them with you here.

Question 1: Imagine you’re financially secure. You have enough money to support yourself, your family and your dreams. You’ll need to continue working, but it’s fulfilling work with a reasonable schedule. What would you do?

I really enjoy what I do now. I mean it- I really, really enjoy what I do for a living. There’s something about the structuring and story-telling of data that I really do enjoy.

As much as I’ve tried the what-you’re-supposed-to-do in blogging, at the end of the day, this little space one the web is my storytelling space. Data is just another way that I tell stories. During the day, though, the stories I tell aren’t mine; they belong to the users of the app of the company I work for. It’s about how the app we build matters and how it’s making people’s lives easier. It’s about the app we build has done wonder for me and for my system of GTD. It’s about how a piece of technology can make it so much easier to be more present in the moment than ever before.

I love my day job, so I’d keep doing what I’m doing. I would probably cut my freelance clients, because I’d want to spend more time reading and learning, but otherwise I’d be heaven.

Question 2: Imagine you’re financially independent. You DON’T need to work anymore. Your investments create enough money to support yourself, your family and your dreams. What would you do?

Probably the same, but maybe with even more learning. Let me explain.

What I studied in school has almost nothing to do with what I do now (this isn’t exactly true, but at face value they don’t appear to be similar and unless I explained it, it’d probably be confusing). Almost all of my learning has been on the job. If you had asked me as a sophomore, as a junior, or even in the middle of my senior year, if I’d spend all day coding, I’d have laughed in your face, knowing little more than some basic HTML. Now, though, I do exactly that.

I’ve had to do a lot of learning on-the-job and a lot more learning on my own time, with a lot of really intense Googling in-between. I’d like to just know more, so I’d probably want to go through one of those online boot camps (though I have yet to really find any that are oriented towards Data Engineering, not Data Science; I guess it’s my fault for falling in love with a role that hasn’t really existed for a decade and a half). Then, I’d just dive back into the role that I love with a little bit more formal training under my belt!

Question 3: Imagine you visit your doctor, who tells you that you only have 5-10 years to live. You’ll never feel sick, and you’ll have no advance notice of the moment of your death. Your financial position is the same as it is today. What would you do?

My first reaction to this question was: Well, I should have gotten that life insurance. Fo real folks, IF ANYONE DEPENDS ON YOUR INCOME OR YOUR FULL TIME CARE, PLEASE GO LIFE INSURANCE. In total reality, if I died tomorrow, though, I’d be okay because my assets could cover my funeral and my debts, though, my family would probably have to sell my car to do that.

My second reaction: Don’t tell anyone and then go about my life as normal. Even as I type this out, I think that’s probably the best course of action. You see, I like to think that I’m living my life in such a way that if I died tomorrow I’d be happy to meet my Maker. I’m working to better my financial situation so that the headaches associated with the death of a loved on aren’t associated with my passing and with five years, I could definitely be in a better position.

A part of me wants to also say have a child, but another part of me doesn’t want to bring a child into the world knowing that I’d die in 5-10 years, especially considering I don’t have life insurance right now and probably couldn’t get any with some sort of terminal diagnosis.

Question 4: Imagine the same scenario as before: You have the same 5-10 years to live. You’ll feel healthy throughout this time. But in this scenario, you have unlimited funds. What would you do?

I would most likely accelerate my having a kid timeline, to be honest, because money at that point wouldn’t be an issue, but I would have to really consider whether or not I was being selfish to bring a child into the world to fulfill a want of mine (aka without fully considering the consequences of a motherless life for a child).

[I decided to skip Question 5.]

Question 6: Brainstorm a list of EVERYTHING you’d buy or experience if you have unlimited funds. Do not hold back. Do not fear judgment. Do not self-censor. What would you buy?

This is not by any means a comprehensive list, but there are a few experiences that immediately jump to mind that I would go for:

  • See the Pyramids- This thing has been on my list since my friend Sheather went in fifth or sixth grade. Also, because it’s something I don’t know that I’ll do otherwise. At some point, I’ll end up at the Eiffel Tower and the Vatican, but I don’t know that I’ll see the Pyramids, so I’d do that right away.
  • Pay off my sister’s student loans- Because I would.
  • Build our dream forever home (location TBD) with the yard of Bo’s dreams. It’d included heated tile floors throughout the home, an indoor hot tub, a beautiful library with a cozy space to sit and read, a salt-water pool, and a clawfoot tub in the master bath.
  • Some badass all-inclusive vacation somewhere with a beach, no cell phone service, my Casey, and not a care in the world.


The next five questions are about turning these dreams into a reality. The fact of the matter is that I can go see the pyramids if I want. I can go on that all-inclusive vacation if I want (and hopefully we will for our honeymoon). We will some day build our forever home. One of the reasons I’m so diligent with my money now is because I want the freedom to do these things later.

Right now, my priority is setting a wedding date- then paying for it, but Casey and I often talk about our forever home, a venture that my dreams tell me will cost $650K, so we better start saving now. 😂

Do you know what your answers to any of these questions would be?

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