Last night, I read this post I had written shortly before I turned 29. I had embarked on a “Project thirty“, a year on project I had sponsored for myself. The plan was to do everything I had wanted to do but had never been able to, and the only condition that I had put for myself had been that I wouldn’t take up a full time job until the end of the “project”.
The project, largely speaking, was successful. It laid the bed for what was a fantastic decade of “portfolio life”, as I did several things with my time (though most of my income came from one of those things I did). I built a career as a freelance analytics ad data science consultant (which is how I made most of my money), wrote a newspaper column, became an adjunct professor, involved myself in public policy research and wrote a book.
In the middle of all this, i made time for myself to go spend a semester with my wife as she completed her MBA in Barcelona, and then followed her to London when she got a job there. It was all wonderful stuff.
And then, around the time I turned 38, partly fuelled by the pandemic, I brought my portfolio life to a close. Around then, my wife asked me what my “project forty” would be. “To stay in my job”, I had told her then. And now, that has been successfully completed. As a bonus, according per my calculations, this is the job I would’ve stayed the longest ever in!
In any case, recently, my wife asked me the usual question once again. About what my “project” for my early forties is. She probably first asked me this a month ago or something, and I don’t think I had an answer then. And then last week, after we came back from our vacation to Tanzania, I spent 2 days at home just chilling.
My new personal computer (a 14″ M1) had arrived by then, and I spent the time setting it up, reading, writing, being on twitter and exploring cool new technologies such as Stable Diffusion and Chat GPT. It was absolutely enjoyable, those 2 days. It felt great having a non-work computer of my own (my previous one had conked 6 months back, though it had hardly been operational for a year before that). Those two days were spent like my project thirty days were. They were wonderful.
And so, by the time the tens place of my age number got its increment, I had the answer ready to give to my wife. On what my plan for my early forties is. It is “portfolio with a dominant stock”.
I really enjoyed the portfolio life I lived through most of my thirties. And want to get to a portfolio again. On the other hand, I’m in a job that I’ve settled fairly well into. And during the recent holiday to Tanzania, I also realised that it feels good to be able to spend on holidays like that without really thinking a hundred times.
So what is the solution? It is basically about having a portfolio with a “dominant stock” – the dominant stock being my job. My objective for my early forties is to continue having a full time job, but also have an interesting life on the side.
For now, what the interesting sides will be – I don’t have that much of an idea, and am likely to go back to things close to my old ones.
I want to travel a lot more.
I’m restarting my newsletter soon.
I want to start teaching once again. Part time only. Need to wing this somehow, somewhere.
Meet people regularly. Breakfasts. Lunches. Dinners. Drinkses.
I want to start playing a card game competitively. Either resume bridge or (more likely) learn something new such as poker.
I have no intention of writing another book (yet). Even if I do, it is likely to be via Substack.
It’s not going to be easy of course. Last 2 years, I’ve largely focussed on my job and family, and done little else (apart from this blog and lifting). I will need to prioritise properly, and manage my time well (something I’ve never been good at). But there is no harm putting out this goal, and in public, in the hope that having put this out will help me do better at it.
Let’s see where this goes! And any ideas are welcome.