I'm not Alive just to pay bills and lose weight
I don't remember where I heard that. I may have made it up, but it sounds like something I read and then wrote it in my journal. It's dang true, though.
Why are so many of us so caught up in paying our bills and losing weight, that we forget to stop living? It dumbfounds me that people work year round without a vacation, then wonder why they are gaining weight. Of those that do take a vacation tend to vacation for one or two weeks a year. I need to be more clear. It doesn't dumbfound me that people work year round with little to no vacation. It dumbfounds me that I used to be OK with this.
My early adult years were spent pursuing a career. Making lots of money was the single motivator for my life and the decisions I was making. My first choice was to be a pilot. I chased that dream for many, many years before I finally gave up on it. The second career I shot for was firefighting. Again, after many, many years of volunteering, interviewing, and getting put on 'the list', I got tired of doing it for free and gave that one up.
While pursuing these two failed careers, I generally had two jobs when my main job would allow me time. I can think of two jobs that kept me busy enough I didn't have the time or energy for a second job, even though both of those jobs paid peanuts. I'm a dreamer, though, and never gave up on finding that magical career in which I could make lots and lots of money.
Along the way, I discovered the majority of the people I knew that were making it big were business owners. Being the creative person I am, I put on my thinking cap and came up with some business ideas that were just different enough to make me competitive in those niche markets. First, I started a business that sold people's unwanted junk. I'd go their house, inventory everything in their garage or storage units, take very high quality photos of those items, and list them on various websites. The business model looked great on paper, but in reality I couldn't get the pricing right in order to make money for myself.
Another business I started was an all electric, organic lawn service. I mowed lawns with battery powered equipment and had a cool setup on my Volkswagen Golf, instead of a truck, to haul my equipment around in. I did this for a year and was starting to gain momentum when I shut it down for an opportunity to chase another career that I had been working on for several years. This business model still has potential, but now I'm too busy to start it back up.
During those years of chasing a career I met many older guys through my various part time jobs that had given up very successful careers to live an easier, less stressful lifestyle. Their advice went in one ear and out the other. In my mind, it was easy for them to talk about getting off the corporate ladder because they had already climbed it. I was still thirsty for my own sip of that Kool-Aid.
What I didn't realize at the time was the traps I was setting for myself by thinking, "Things will get better when goal x happens." Guess what. Things never got better and goal x kept shifting. That is, until my career goals were actually met.
I can't talk too much about what I do now because shutting down the lawn business led to a lucky break within the federal government. I absolutely love this job and it pays well. All of my earnings goals have been met, as have the job satisfaction that I've been craving. The downside to this new success? Now I don't have the necessity to pursue other opportunities.
When I was younger, I had the privilege of taking chances. I could drop everything for any opportunities that looked promising, even if they were sketchy on the surface, because the jobs I had weren't paying well and they sucked, overall. It feels strange to not need a second job anymore. It feels even more strange to not have my eyes and ears open to the prospect of new opportunities. I'm happy where I'm at, and now I'm deathly afraid I'll stay with this job until I'm ready to retire.
Why does the prospect of a secure job with a great retirement scare me so much? I'm a dreamer. And now that I've tasted the Kool-Aid, and I realize how much I like it, opportunities are flying past me. Instead of living a minimalist life at sea exploring the world, I'm buying expensive trucks and jet skis. I now own a house, which has been the worst decision I've ever made with my money. Every time I spend money on my house or cars, I'm further locking myself into this career until I will be forced to stick with it through retirement.
Living to work and gaining an unhealthy amount of weight are not at all what I had envisioned while chasing my career dreams. I had hoped the more money I made would lead to a better life. It has, don't get me wrong. But it isn't the life I want.
I would be doing myself and others still chasing the dream I've obtained a great amount of injustice if I didn't use my current earning capacity to do something good with it. If you read my previous posts about financial security, you already know I don't want a big house and fancy cars. Yes, they are tempting, even for me. But every time I'm tempted to spend $50,000 on a new Jeep, I, with help from my supportive wife, remind myself those things are not getting me any closer to my ultimate goal.
In a sense, I'm still stuck in the rut of 'things will get better when goal x happens,' but now that goal is more aligned with the old guys that I worked with at REI. I've become one of those guys that made it and now want a simpler life. I try not to tell myself things will get better when x happens since things can't get any better than what I'm currently experiencing. But, wouldn't it be nice to have a life worthy of thousands of YouTube views?
Our goal x has shifted to obtaining financial independence. With a good deal of dedication it is a real possibility. Mailbox money, as some call it, where one doesn't have to work but still gets checks in the mail. Fuck you money, others call it. In other words, I don't need what an employer has to offer, so fuck you.
I'm too old to ever have a mansion and tons of cars and a 100' yacht, but I'm in the perfect position to live a simple life on vacation every day. The next step is to get fed up enough with the status quo, working to pay bills and losing weight, to build up the courage to jump off the upper rungs of this career ladder and just do it.
They say it's best to write down your goals, so here is a simplified list of the things I want most out of life.
1. Acquire our forever boat.
2. Become financially stable enough to not need a job.
3. Sail off into the sunset and do things interesting enough that people would want to watch on YouTube.
Good luck to all the dreamers out there that are still chasing the lifestyle they crave.
Fair winds and following seas, y'all!
We are an adventurous couple exploring the Chesapeake Bay by boat, paddle board, jet ski, and whatever other means necessary!
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