FIRE.057 One-Step Below Cool

It seems most everything I do is one-step below cool.  I do not have the perfect everything.  I do not think of all the cool things I’d like to have.  However, I have an absolutely great life, but it’s not perfectly awesome and luxurious.  I guess it’s just plain-old awesome.  [“Find The Positive“]

I know you’ve seen the advertisements everywhere showing some perfectly cool lifestyle.  Of course, it’s something we all would love to have.  But thinking for a few minutes about the opportunity to have nearly the same thing, at a lower stress level, sounds great to me.

Here are some examples of being one-step below cool:

House:  We own our home.  It’s one-step below cool because it’s a great little 1060 sq ft home.  It’s located 3 houses (10-second run) from a massive desert preserve/park with dozens of miles of trails for running, biking, hiking, etc.  Our home has all the modern conveniences, but our cost structure (taxes, insurance, utilities, even furnishing) amount to a smaller proportion than a larger home.

Beach home: A total splurge is our beach home.  It’s one-step below cool because it’s just a mobile home/trailer. It’s located 2 driveways away (55 second run) from the ocean view/access path.  We get to enjoy the beach, the beach town, other beach towns, neighbors, and family, at a greatly reduced price relative to anything else in the area.

Harley- Scooter:  I can’t have a motorcycle based on my wife’s declaration.  The risks of injury are far too great driving around city surface streets and on the highways, mainly because you just never know what could happen.  My one-step below cool, is my scooter.  My scooter is at the beach home where we vacation.  I get the enjoyment of riding, but on slower, smaller coastal streets, often during the quieter hours of the day (living off-peak).

Mach 1 Mustang:  Here’s my perspective, my wife wanted a Mach 1, I’m not that cool, but my one-step below cool is, she owns her dream Mach 1, but I can drive it if I want to cruise around (surprisingly I don’t drive it more than 1-2x per year).  Side note: because we live off-peak, we are able to drive the car around when the roads are much quieter as well.

Main Cars: We have nice main cars.  Car collector people call them “daily drivers.”  But we are one-step below cool because we buy 3 year old cars and drive them 10 years.  I roll around town in the 2001 version of luxury, an old Lexus.  (“granny” car)

Friends: I have so many cool friends.  Some of them are truly super-cool.  I’m lucky to know and be able to hang out with these people.  However, I’m at least one-step below cool on many comparisons with them.  Maybe they’re more successful in business, or have a bigger family, or take better vacations, or, or, or…

Sports:  I’ve played different sports in my youth and adulthood.  I play hockey and do triathlons, etc.  I’m on teams that are lower level “beer league,” and I race in the age-group pack.  I’ve never had the best high-end equipment to maximize my performance—more specifically, the possibility of performance— but rather just enough quality that allowed me to stay in the sport, and compete, and enjoy myself.  [note:  seriously?!   $12k for a tri bike, not for my med-slow ass]

I just re-read this post and realized it sounds like I’m being phony humble and sharing humility, but that’s not it at all.  I have SO much, but I truly just seem to naturally live one-step lower.  I’ve always said there are Type A and Type B personalities and I’m an A-.  In school, I learned earning 91% resulted in me getting the same “A” as the person who earned 100%.  However, I kept 9% of my effort for myself to optimize my enjoyments, while still presenting the same “A” to those who reviewed my grades.

One big note here, is that in my profession when people were counting on me to deliver, I made sure I put in the effort and focus to be as close to perfect as possible.  I did not slack on deliverables to have more time for myself.  I did my best to deliver quality.  But you can bet I definitely did choose to manage my work/life balance so I wouldn’t burn out, and I still met and exceeded my goals as a dependable, reliable co-worker.

I have a mantra that states “everything has a ding.”  Those four words allow for the release of trying to keep everything perfect.  Everything can be great, can be awesome, but just a sliver below perfect.

You can have everything you if you’re willing to take your time (delayed gratification) and make sure you know what you want and how much will satisfy yourself.

Take a look at your life, your possessions, your wants, and see if you can tweak things just a little to lower the level and still maintain the usability and as important, the enjoyment.  Small life hacks can pay off in multiples down the road.


*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice.  I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be.  You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice.

2 thoughts on “FIRE.057 One-Step Below Cool

    1. Kevin Post author

      There’s more in the future. I do save the best for last and get rid of the bad stuff first. Veggies first, then good stuff…wait veggies are the “good” stuff. Delayed gratification.


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