There once was a boy with dreams of doing great things someday. Ever since he was old enough to talk, he asked his parents questions about anything and everything. “Why are there hurricanes in Florida and earthquakes in California, but only Tornadoes in Minnesota? Why are cars now front-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive? Why do they make cars that go faster than the speed limit? How do trees stay alive in the winter? What would happen if our house got struck by lightening?”
This little boy saw a world full of things to learn. He also saw how most adults went to work all day long, year round and asked, “Why do adults have to do that?” This boy thought things could be different. He was determined that he could game this system and not have to spend his entire adult life doing that like everyone else. He believed that he could start his own business someday. While paging through his grandpa’s RV magazines showcasing glamorous motorhomes jam packed with luxury, this little boy dreamed of living in one of those someday while traveling full time to explore the country.
Eventually, things became more grown up like. One day, it came time to take a mandatory careers class in high school. This boy went through the motions as he had no other choice. He learned that he’d have to build a resume and pick a good college and a “smart” major so that he could hope to someday get a “good job”. He was taught that if he was a good enough boy, then maybe, just maybe, someone would pick him for job someday.
And Then He Grew Up
This boy eventually grew up, went to college and landed a job afterward. He loved it for the first few years and felt that he was doing great things, while also getting to tell everyone else how he had a good job and all that. This went on for many years until one day, he remembered back to who he really was. He started to feel that this high he had for his job and all the security that came with it wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. He knew that he would eventually grow to dislike the position he was in. He also knew that he was trapped because who was he to do anything else? He had no money and was completely dependent on the life he was caught up in.
This guy, now a twenty-something adult, decided to take some initiative. He remembered his dreams as a kid of doing things different, escaping the normal life everyone expected him to live. He remembered how free he felt when dreaming about traveling and being out on the open road. He remembered his curiosity and drive to learn all he could about this awesome world. He even believed he had something to offer the world because deep down, he knew that he cared about other people’s happiness as much as his own.
And, This Person Is
This person is me. I’ve always had big dreams. I’ve always yearned for freedom and for a life that didn’t fit the mold of today’s society. One day a few years ago, I remembered that that’s who I really am. So I started. I started getting out of debt. I started saving money. I started acting on making the life I knew I was made to live a reality. I started a blog. I got myself out there and met new people. I did big things. I sacrificed a lot. I worked on things in my free time that others thought I was crazy for doing. I did something.
Today, I announce to you that I’m at a crossroads in my life. My path will change. My dreams as a kid are still my dreams. My butt kicking hard work habits will remain a huge part of my life. My relationships will continue to be important to me. My values remain the same. My job? As of next Friday afternoon, is a thing of the past.
I’m Really Doing It
Yep, I’ve gone off the deep end. I’m walking away from the “perfect job”. This job allowed me to first of all spend a bunch of money and get into debt, then to pay off that debt and eventually save half my income for years. I’ve done a lot with it. I helped build a company from 4 employees to 40 in my time there. I rose from the bottom up close to the top. I had a fancy title. I made good money. I was very well respected among co-workers and partners. I came and went as I pleased. I traveled regularly. I had fun.
But it is time to leave it behind. Am I an idiot? Perhaps. Am I going to look for another job? No, I’m not. Am I going to continue to work just as much if not more? You can count on it. What will I be working on? Helping people like you and me make a real difference in our lives, whatever that means. If it costs me three years and $60,000 to fail at doing so, I still know that it won’t be a failure, because I believe I will have helped people and learned a lot in the process. If I end up making it and surviving, I will be a person who went for it and survived. There will be more happiness and joy in that than all the money in world. Following my dreams and making them happen in my life is something worth risking it all for, in my opinion.
I Know You’ll Be There
Last week, as I felt scared about what I had done. I made a request to all of you to please email me and let me know you were there. First of all, thank you to everyone who did. I received emails from close to 20 people, all of whom I had never heard from before. The emails averaged 4-5 paragraphs each and were deeply personal. These people shared with me the impact I have had on them and shared their story with me. Let me just tell you that those emails made me feel like a person who can make it. They brought me real joy. I made 20 friends last week. I personally responded to every one of those emails and will make this commitment to you right now. Anyone who emails me directly with a personal email will get a personal response from me (except if you’re disrespectful). So, feel free to email me, for any reason. I want to know you. If you want to do big things like I do, let’s help each other. I’m not in this alone. We’re in this together.
Off into the Unknown I Go
I’ve got one more week of living like a normal person and working full time. After that, I’m going to be doing bigger and better things. That means you’ll be hearing more from me and seeing me do new things that I believe may be able to help us all on our paths to living below our means and changing our futures.
As you can probably tell, I’m nervous about a lot of things but excited about them at the same time. I’ll be there for you going forward. If you feel the urge to be there for me as well, I’m excited and very thankful for that. If you want to encourage me during this time of unknown, of course I would love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now, I’m Really Living
I decided a few years ago to live like a poor person even though I made good money, saving over half of my income and looking like a freak for doing so. Today, I’m ABLE to walk away from a life that isn’t my dream to go and chase it. I’m able to do it all because I did big things and knew my “why”. That “why” is to live a better life, not the one I’ve been living. I’ve got bigger and better things to do with my life. I owe it all to this personal finance stuff, for without it, I’d be trapped, stuck, miserable and dying inside. Now, instead, I’m really living.