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Photo by Christine Donaldson on Unsplash

Don’t get so caught up in the “how” that you forget about the “why”

I’ve got a confession to make. It’s a little taboo in this day and age, especially in certain corners of the internet. But I’m fed up with being productive.

I miss going about my day without a voice in the back of my head questioning my time-effectiveness and wondering whether I’ve achieved as much as I had this time yesterday.

I miss seeing the clock as a thing that tells the time and not an enemy I’m up against when completing my daily tasks.

I miss thinking about life in qualitative, not quantitative, terms.

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m being a little melodramatic. There are times when productivity comes in handy. If you’ve got to study for an exam, complete a task at work, or even cook your dinner, you may as well do it in the most efficient way possible so you can focus on what really matters. …

Your money is a tool to maximize your happiness

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Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash

Money management is a frequent source of disagreement amongst partners, families, and friends.

Maybe one partner is obsessed with saving money and the other is tired of worrying about it. Perhaps there’s one friend who insists on sharing food and splitting the bill evenly, much to the disgust of the friend who orders a Margherita pizza with tap water every time.

We all have neuroses and quirks that limit the way we manage our finances.

According to the Financial Times, there are six different ‘money personality types’:

  1. Anxious investors — love risk but panic during downturns.
  2. Hoarders — dislike risk so stockpile money. …

I’m accepting that some people don’t stay in your life forever

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Photo by Jamie Taylor on Unsplash

I’ve always loved the idea of meeting someone as a child and being friends with them for the rest of your life. Sometimes you hear those stories about people who have stayed in touch ever since their mothers gave birth in the same hospital ward.

These “meant-to-be” tales sound magical.

I always felt like someone would know “the real me” if we experienced all the milestones of life together. Hearing that “it’s not about how long you know someone, it’s about who never leaves” could never change my mind.

Despite my romanticized ideals, this has never been my reality. My friendship history is more like a series of intense whirlwind romances that burn out after we wake up one day and realize we’re not right for each other. …

Youthful arrogance told me to keep having fun

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A deserted Venice canal: image provided by the author

I’m writing this from self-quarantine in an Airbnb about ten minutes away from my actual house. I couldn’t risk staying with my mother, who has immunodeficiency, and my 86-year-old grandmother with dementia. Why? Because I’ve just returned from Italy, the country that — as of today — has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the globe. So many cases that the country went into lockdown a few days ago, when I was still there.

Looking back, I can’t believe it took the country going into lockdown for me to accept it was time to leave. In a country where hospitals are operating at 200% capacity and doctors essentially must choose who to keep alive, I was carefree (sort of) and going about my travels. …

There’s nothing shallow or materialistic about that decision.

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

When I was younger, I used to be suspicious of money. Like many young people born into middle-class families in developed countries, I believed capitalism was inherently evil and so all forms of business or wealth-seeking were also bad.

Fast forward to now and it’s difficult for me to remember why I used to think like that. I have a degree in Economics and, as a self-employed individual, business is an important part of my life. In fact, my main goals for 2020 are nearly all financial.

What happened?

Money never used to be a concern

When I was younger and my parents were still together, we were comfortably middle class. We weren’t wealthy — my parents were often stressed about money — but it would be ignorant for me to say we weren’t better off than many others. …

I’d rather be exceptional at a few things than mediocre at everything

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Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

When I was in my mid-teens, I discovered personal development for the first time. It’s been a positive force in my life.

Learning about the fixed and growth mindset made me realize there’s more to success than natural talent. I know a lot of people balk at the idea we can achieve anything we want, but it certainly opened my eyes to a world of possibilities.

I’ve gone from struggling with making eye contact to being able to start talking to just about anyone (albeit awkwardly). From feeling self-conscious without wearing makeup to being so confident enough to show off my bare, unshaven legs. …

Passion might seem illogical, but don’t knock what you don’t understand.

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Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Passion gets a bad rap these days. I’m always hearing people say things like:

“You shouldn’t look for your passion. Just work hard at something until that becomes your passion.”

“Instead of looking for your passion, look for a problem you can solve.”

“As soon as you make your passion your work, it stops being your passion.”

And I get it. The idea that we’re all born with something as ambiguous as ‘passion’ sounds a little-far-fetched. What would that even look like? …

The problems the world faces aren’t due to Millennials or baby boomers — we need to stop pointing the finger.

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Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

My grandmother was a primary school teacher and my grandfather worked in a factory. Sounds like fairly humble beginnings, right?

Nonetheless, they had their fair share of material success. Until recently, my grandma was living in a three-bedroom house whilst receiving a pension equivalent to $1800 — not bad for somebody living in a property she owned with no dependents. Due to her age, she didn’t have to pay for her property tax, a TV license or even bus journeys; her expenses were few and far between.

My grandmother also had two degrees. She trained as a primary school teacher for free and later did a theology degree with the Open University for fun, at a negligible cost. …

Depending on who you’re talking to, discussing wages could be boastful or helpful.

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Photo by Andrea Natali on Unsplash

Scenario 1: at a university event, the Entrepreneurship Manager was telling students about his successful entrepreneurship journey from a past life. Then it got to question time.

“How much money did you make?” asked one curious student.

After a polite refusal and some jokes, the student continued to press him but wasn’t answered.

Scenario 2: a writer just starting out doesn’t know how much to charge clients or how much money to expect to make so looks for other people in the industry for guidance. …

I thought I could just stay out of politics and focus on myself. It’s not that simple.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

People have told me a few times that they can’t imagine me being angry or crying. It’s true that I’m quite emotionally stable; you’ll not catch me getting agitated or upset just because someone said something mean about me or I had a bad day.

But trust me, I get wound up when someone attacks or misunderstands my values and beliefs. It feels so personal, so vulnerable.

When I was fourteen, I had to give a short speech on a topic of my choice as part of an English class. I chose prison reform. I got a great grade, but my friend mocked me, saying the idea that all prisoners should be let loose was ridiculous. I remember feeling so angry I was speechless — had she even listened to my speech? …


Sarah L Bromley

Writing about the questions I wish I had the answers to.

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