The Simple and the Good

My financial hero is Mr. Money Mustache. Covid has allowed me to understand his message at a more visceral level. I have often heard him describe his 24k annual expenditure as lavish or extravagant.

In these times of quarantine, we're all forced into a simple life, a good life. Some handle this well and those for whom this is hard. I suspect there is some correlation between introverted nature and extroverted nature in how well you deal with living in quarantine.

As a wanna-be Mr. Money Mustachian, this has been an eye-opening experiment in living his lavish lifestyle, and I now more fully understand what he means. I don't think he is saying 24k as lavish in a tongue-in-cheek manner, or to be provocative. Instead, it is genuinely hard to spend two thousand dollars a month when you're living a simple life. And simple isn't a euphemism for boring.

We've been eating dinner as a family every night, eating nothing but awesome food. In a slower time, why not double down on that experience? We play made-up games, old-school puzzles, and board games. We make things with legos. We play piano. We read. We ride bikes and climb trees. We howl with neighbors.

What I've learned - though deep down I've always known - is that this is the good stuff. It's not the fancy restaurant that makes the meal good, it's the time with family and friends - both of which are available at home. (Ok, maybe not friends yet.)

Running fits perfectly into this mindset. With soccer or tennis, I pay money to drive, pay more money to play, and I'm living on someone else's timeline. With running I get 60 minutes of exercise in 60 minutes, for free. No gym, no driving, no fees, and no set start or end time.

I'm not saying our family won't regress once things loosen up a bit. But I hope to make these regressions consciously. Not simply reverting to the way it was. That's my hope, that everyone will be conscious about what they allow back into their life.

The great genius of Mr. Money Mustache is that he can naturally live within these simple and good constraints. Most of us need a pandemic to experience this level of blissful simplicity.