Are we truly living?

I chanced upon Kyith’s blog post “An “Extreme” Early Retirement Life is Not so Extreme. It looks Pretty Good”. Read here.

In the post, I was introduced to Jacob Lund Fisker and his philosophy on Early Retirement Extreme (ERE) in this podcast interview at Radical Personal Finance in 2014.

One key point, mentioned is that people tend to separate their work and entertainment in their life (and refer it to their work-life balance).

To quote: Focusing on one specific career all one life and then engaging other activities ‘at a spectator level’ (eg. eating at an expensive restaurant or visiting to some tourist location). A human should be able to ” change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hawk, design a building, write a sonnet, comfort the dying, balance accounts, give orders, take orders, act alone, work together….. specialisation is for insects“.

To Jacob, one should be working and playing at the same time. Mastering thing is engaging to him. Jacob’s general prescription for a successful job-free life is to find activities that cover the combination of meaning+fun and theoretical+practical— albeit not necessarily at the same time.

Jacob Lund Fisker is a Danish astrophysicist and writer.


Somehow I just can’t help finding similarities between him and someone who is on the other side of the globe- Liziqi.

You can watch about who she is and her philosophy in life. Ziqi is from China.

She originally worked in the city but went to the countryside to look after her grandma. Thereafter, she started filming her life in the countryside.

In her Youtube channel, she makes everything seemingly from scratch. Being able to master all these tasks on her own. At one point in the video, she mentioned that when she worked in the city, it is about survival. When she worked in the countryside, she feels like she is truly living.

Perhaps she is one person whom Jacob Lund Fisker would agree is someone who is truly living. Someone who can direct his/her own life. Having the freedom of lifestyle.

While we spend an exorbitant amount of money on good food (pesticide-free, organic, fresh.. etc), or nice furniture, or fine crafts or embroidery (even fresh air, and nice environment) … she did it at a fraction of the cost. With the maximum utilisation of the resource, she has around her. While mastering a skill at the same time.

And enjoying the end product …When she does a meal, she often ends the video with her enjoying the meal with her grandmother. Or wearing the dress she dyed herself or wearing the embroidery she did.

For many of us, to resolve issues, we just throw money. For others, they will find other ways to resolve, without spending too much money.

For many of us, our life just revolves around work, and on weekends – going to restaurants, watching sports or movies or TV, etc…

And we all know that eventually, for many of us, our career will end. The world is always developing, past skill sets may become obsolete. When we are old, we may not be able to earn as much as what we are earning when we are young. So what will our life be like then?

Are we going just continue throwing money inefficiently at problems? Is there a bottom to this? To tackle the emptiness, you can throw A LOT…. of money on luxurious holidays, fancy restaurants, and getting people to entertain you… Just being a consumer.

I am aware that Singapore has no countryside. I am also not advocating that we be like Ziqi, not to that extend. Just that perhaps in little ways, we can change our mentality of just being a consumer.

I reckon we have to keep learning new skills, mastering things we enjoy, and creating value.

On another thought, how can we care for the people and environment around us, and provide for ourselves?

Food for Thought.

About apenquotes

Born in 1976. Married with 2 kids (a boy and a girl). A typical Singaporean living in a 4 room HDB flat. Check out my Facebook Page:
This entry was posted in Personal Finance. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s