September of 2019 marked my third year as a physician finance blogger. Blogging has not brought me fortune or fame. Why do I keep doing it?
It requires discipline
Like many of you, once upon a time I had aspirations/pretensions of channeling ideas through the written word. Committing to writing 2 posts a week indefinitely is discipline on a deadline - and the more practice I get, the sharper that particular knife becomes in my otherwise dull tool shed.
It helps me meet cool people in real life
They are internet famous superstars in my mind, yet have the humility of radio hosts and are more often than not happy to meet an admirer. Keeping a blog is my Trojan horse approach to meeting people I admire by pretending to run in the same crowd (which I'm pretty sure was the plot of every John Hughes film from the 1980s).
It helps me meet cool people in pretend life
I've had electronic correspondence with goal-oriented hustlers in their 20s, rich with youth and beauty (if cash poor), at a stage in life all about pursuing big dreams.
I've connected with folks about to undergo high risk surgery bent on trying to ensure their kids and spouse would be well-cared for if next month's procedure turned out to encompass their last breath (thankfully, it did not).
I've met an endless train of docs burned out from medicine for every possible reason, and I've witnessed them respond with course corrections that altered the trajectory of their lives for the better.
My wife and kids no longer balk when I give them updates of my "invisible friends" because the community we belong to is a genuine source of support.
Enthusiasm waxes and wanes
When you begin writing about personal finance, there are what Harry Sit has termed the "big rocks" - housing, transportation, food - where a major move can alter a trajectory. As a physician, I've been surprised to discover I did not necessarily have the same big rocks as the majority of folks pursuing financial independence.
As a newbie finance enthusiast I was charmed by low cost index funds, seduced by do-it-yourself portfolios, and could not get enough Roth IRA in my life.
Over time, after a threshold number of books and blogs, you achieve a level of competency that makes the finance portion less novel.
Fortunately there are plenty of established bloggers offering highly actionable advice about reasonable things to do with your investments, and a flourishing group of up and comers chiming in with the enthusiasm of the newly converted! I'll always hold the door open to welcome them as they enter the virtual doctor's lounge we have created together.
The positive aspect of developing competence as a do-it-yourself investor is that as my portfolio becomes more automated and requires less intensive concentration, I have more time left over to ask the bigger questions.
It's all a head fake
Struggling to answer those bigger questions, far more than personal finance, has gradually become the focus of the blog over time.
Having you, dear reader, look over my shoulder during this journey has transformed a time of isolation and reinvention into an opportunity to feel less alone. You've supported me as I have:
- Celebrated small victories and owned up to big screw-ups
- Course corrected, made amends and sought renewal
- Thrown things at the wall of my life to figure out what sticks as I explore potential second acts
- Worked on being present at this sweet stage of family life even as I develop fantasies about adventures yet to come
- Developed a detente with medicine by doing less of it, to the point I've rediscovered what attracted me in the first place
Thank you for making a vanity project into a community.
I am grateful for your friendship.