By Pete Ferguson

As 2016 wrapped up, within two days, two icons slipped from this life. The first, singer and performer George Michael. The second, "Princess Leia" actress and author Carrie Fisher

Dating myself (I was born in the early 1970's), both were extremely influential and popular growing up. They represented fame, fortune and success. As I thought of George Michael's legacy, he was at the top of music and where I had very immaturely aspired to be as a budding musician. And yet as I look at his life and listen to the lyrics of his songs, I realize he was often on the chase and seldom arrived at contentment. 

Just before her fatal stroke, I had just listened to Carrie Fisher's latest book and was taken aback at the number of pages dedicated to an affair with Harrison Ford. Chasing what she couldn't keep. She never landed a role more iconic after the Star Wars trilogy and seemed to live in the shadow of her early success until her dying day from my limited perspective. True Carrie Fisher fans will likely dislike 

2016 was a fantastic year personally. We were able to pay off our house after 9 years of digging out of a financial mess. I don't owe a dime to anyone but my future retirement account. The day came on May 5th, 2016 (Cinco de Mortgage as it has been rechristened at our house) when we hit "submit" on the Wells Fargo website, followed up with a phone call where I was invited to take out a home improvement loan ... "no thanks" being my prompt and abrupt reply.  

The reality that we really did it is only now settling in so many months later. Something the Dave Ramsey Show seldom discusses is that after the house is paid off the cars will all need significant repairs, another child will desperately need braces, a daughter will need to upgrade instruments and the extra amount we had each month was gobbled up immediately.

As those things have all been paid and we are starting to see significant more in-come as compared to out-go, I can sit on my bought table atop my bought tile floor fastened to our bought foundation sunk in our purchased dirt and know that everything on our plot of land belongs to us and no one else. I'm only legally attached to my wife with my only legal obligations to my greatest blessings in life, my children (okay, and the IRS).  

Which brings me to the topic of contentment - as I look at my goals for 2017, I'm doing a lot of the things I've always wanted to do. Daily personal study and journal writing, connecting with excellent friends, making positive progress at work. 

Given that today is the 9th of January according to StatisticBrain.com 27% of people have already abandoned their resolutions and by the end of this week another 3-4% will give up and give in.

So as I think about what I want to accomplish this year, I'm not going for "go to gym 4 times a week and eat 2,300 calories" because I've proved 30+ years that I likely will not be at the gym that much and I'll eat that amount of calories by early afternoon. 

Instead I'm focused on the state I want to be in and maintain. 

And that state is contentment and appreciation. For everything else will likely change. 

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Comment by Jeff David on January 13, 2017 at 3:20pm

You're awesome Pete! Thanks for your friendship and example. How wonderful that we are both finding our way back to 48 Days at the same time.

Comment by Dave Wadsworth on January 10, 2017 at 11:22am

Pete, love your blog.  Congratulations on your paid off home!  You are officially my "Hero-for-the-Day" That is one of my 5 year goals.  I'm very impressed with your ATTITUDE of contentment and appreciation.  That is a great place to be.  Always having goals and striving to improve daily but being happy and content where you are and sincere appreciation for what you have.

Best to you in 2017

Dave Wadsworth - The Attitude Architect

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