We’re raised to finance cars and save for retirement.
We ought to be raised to finance our life. Instead, we’re groomed to get a job and seek advancement and more money. Or, to start a business and strive for more success, more clients, and financial freedom.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make more money, but our goal to make more money ought to be more closely tied to the amount we need to finance the life we desire. Tim Ferris talks about this in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. He advocates that we find out how much our dreams cost and work to finance them now, rather than save so we can enjoy them in retirement. He suggests that most of our dreams probably cost less than we think, and therefore could become part of our life experience sooner rather than later.
The other day I was in the backyard pulling weeds.
It was a Thursday morning and that’s what I was inspired to do. Not too long ago I would have felt I had to be in my office working on a Thursday morning. Either my calendar would have been full of scheduled calls and tasks or my head would have been telling me “it’s work time, you need to be in your office” (even though I work for myself).
As I was pulling the weeds, listening to the birds, and watching my puppy play, I realized how grateful I am that I have the freedom to pull weeds, or do whatever I please, on a Thursday morning. I was thankful that after going so crazy chasing success for years, and piling up debt in my quest for a financially-free retirement, I chose to step off that crazy treadmill, pay off my debts, and sock money away. Not for retirement. Not for a rainy day. But for now.
I can’t take credit for being wise.
It really was a knee-jerk reaction. I like the safety net of a savings account. And, after blowing all my savings trying to buy more success, and waking up to the reality that it wasn’t working, I rebounded to the other side. I suppose I wanted to feel safe after feeling so vulnerable.
Simplifying our lives and paying off all our debt, and once again having savings to fall back on if we need it has changed our lives dramatically.
And, I’m reaping a wonderfully welcome side effect: FREEDOM!
When we’re busting our butt to make it in business, and the success industry and coaches are whispering in our ear to keep investing in ourselves and our businesses so we can enjoy greater and greater success (or maybe it’s so THEY can!), we don’t stop to think there might come a time we don’t feel like doing it anymore. A time when the success aphrodisiac wears off. A time when we get tired. A time when even though we know how to make money, we don’t feel like putting in the effort to do so. Or, a time when we really don’t feel inspired anymore and just need a career timeout to gather ourselves.
And that maybe we ought to be socking away some money to get us through that time should it arrive.
I’m grateful I chose to save.
Because I didn’t anticipate no longer feeling inspired by my business. No longer feeling the drive I’d felt for more than 25 years. Or, needing time to just center myself and wait to become inspired again.
I never pictured myself weeding on a Thursday morning.
And yet, that is the place I find myself now. It’s a place I’m relishing. A place I’m grateful for every day. Whether I’m weeding, writing, going for a run, spending time with my parents, driving my son to the doctor, or simply watching my puppy play, it’s about being able to spend my time as I choose. And that, not a million dollars, is true financial freedom.