Easy or Hard Life

Hard or Easy life?

For the longest time, when I thought about what my dream life looked like, I always thought of an easy life. Usually, it had components like these:

  • working less
  • less stress
  • more time for relationships
  • more vacations
  • more spontaneous life
  • etc.

As far as I can remember, my actions have never aligned with wanting an easy life1. I have always strived to improve, learning more & faster, making more money, working more effectively & efficiently, etc. In practice, this has meant that I have only occasionally given myself a chance to taste the easy life — a life of leisure. Every time I did it, I was back in the “normal mode” within four weeks.

There are many fun memories from the days of enjoying the easy life. Traveling solo in Thailand, chilling in California, partying in Vienna, or spending weeks partaking in all kinds of Vappu2 activities in Finland. The shared elements among these periods were:

  • I did not try to get anything done.
  • They all occurred between phases of intense work.
  • None of them were carefully planned or scheduled.
  • Each ended because I stopped finding enjoyment in the leisure.

I tried the easy life when I started my paternity leave in September 2023. I caved within a few days. I was left wondering if that was because the sprint before the leave was not hard enough, if I just had too much fun creating things while my daughter was sleeping, or if the older I got — the less pure leisure I could take.

I plan to attempt again this year and see how long I last. Pure leisure, no progress on anything productive. My wife bought a TV, so maybe I will try watching TV for the first time in years. Or dig out my dusty PS3 and see if Skyrim still holds me in its grip? Or subscribe to Netflix and browse what is available without watching anything (as I have understood is the standard)?

If I were setting odds on the easy life trial duration, I would place the breakeven line3 at 36 hours.

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  1. Arguably, the actions align with wanting an easy life — only in the long-term. ↩︎

  2. For the uninitiated, Finnish labour day on the 1st of May is called Vappu. Despite it being the celebration of working people, most of the celabrating is by students — largely university students. Most serious student organizations have daily activities for 2-3 weeks leading up to Vappu, and 99% involve copious amounts of alcohol. Not for the faint-hearted nor for the health-concious! ↩︎

  3. For the ones, who have not gambled sufficiently to follow the slang: the odds of the trial lasting less than 36h are 50% and the distribution of results is normally distributed. I’d also note that the sigma (standard deviation) of the distribution is small! ↩︎