Time. The most valuable of resources. Yet we all seem to have so little of it.
Since I have been on summer break for exactly 9 days at this point, I have had more time on my hands than I have possibly ever had. I certainly have significantly more time now than I did during the school year.
With all this time, I have realized a couple of important things. The first is that instead of working for the life we want, it seems so many of us are just working our lives away. And for what purpose? To buy, buy, buy? We are like fish- we fill the spaces we are in. If we are moved to a larger tank, we will grow larger. If we stay in a tiny fish bowl, we will stay small. I’ve proven this to myself over and over again. I started out in a small one bedroom apartment. I had no furniture, decor, or kitchenware. Yet, by the time my lease was up, my apartment was fully stocked. When Jose and I moved into a larger apartment together, we of course had more stuff because we combined two households. But then we moved into a smaller apartment and managed to get rid of what we didn’t need. Presently, we are in the biggest apartment we’ve ever had and we are somehow running out of room! Mind you, we have only lived here for a year and a half, but have already managed to fill it to the point that I have caught myself thinking, “We need a 3-bedroom soon.”
The more space we have, the more things we buy. The more things we buy, the more space we need. The more space we need, the more money we need. The more money we need, the more we work. The more we work, the less time we have.
Guys, here’s what I’m beginning to realize. Without time, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no progress toward your goals. As an example- Jose and I “started” this blog in December. I wrote one measly “About” section, then promptly passed out due waking up at 5 a.m. and working until 7 or 8 every evening. I had no time or energy, so I had no opportunity to tap into my creativity and take this blog anywhere. My brain was too full of work.
It makes my head spin, this crazy cycle of work, buy, work, buy, work, buy… But I’m trapped in it. I want out. With the time that I’ve had, I’ve been researching… a LOT. Like, researching as if it were my 9-5 job. Through my extensive research, I’ve discovered some really intriguing Podcasts. Through a Podcast titled Afford Anything by Paula Pant, entrepreneur and investor, I ended up down a rabbit hole of a movement called FIRE. Financial Independence, Retire Early. Here’s the thing- People (normal people!) are actually do this. They’re downsizing and investing wisely in order to get themselves untangled from this web of consumerism. The result is that they find themselves with enough free time and financial security to be creative, to travel, to pursue their passions.
I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this. I don’t know if the FIRE community is even what I’m after. But man, it got me thinking. There is so much more to life than working, buying, and dying.
That brings me to the second important realization. We can’t be afraid to go after what we really want. It’s easy and comfortable to fall into what we know and what we’ve seen throughout our lives. What I’ve seen is this idea that we work until we’re 65, retire IF we planned well and get a little lucky, then we get the last 10 or 15 years (generously) of our lives to attack our passions. Except, many people don’t even make it that far, and if they do, I’m not so sure traveling the world as an 80 year-old would be as exciting as it is in my 20’s.
I’m just not into this never-ending cycle. It’s not because I’m lazy. It’s because I know how short life is. Even if you’re lucky and get to live into your 80’s or 90’s, did you even really live if you never took a risk or followed your dreams? I’m more than willing to put in the work now so Jose and I can follow our dreams early and know for sure that we’re really living.
The final epiphany I’ve had over the last few days is that money isn’t what buys happiness. Enough of the right kind of money (passive income) buys time.
And time is happiness.
But how do we get there without losing the little money we do have? How do we get there when it’s not what we know or what we’re comfortable with? Is passion enough to make something out of nothing?
Until next time,