If Money Didn't Exist
Money doesn't exist. There's no such thing.
What would you go do tomorrow? What would you do next week, next month, next year, 5 years from now?
Seriously, come with me. There is no such thing as money any more. What would you do with your life tomorrow?
Write it down.
"Tomorrow I am surfing, all day. A week from now I am hiking the Santa Barbara back country. One month from now I am surfing the long point breaks of Santa Barbara and sharing time with my best friends.
"Next year I am spending half the year in Santa Barbara sailing to the Channel Islands to dive, surf, and fish. And I am spending the other half in Telluride, Colorado biking to the ski resort to throw huge arching carves that rooster tail light pow up into the bluebird sky.
"And five years from now I am going out to the Virgin Islands to dive through the beautiful under water rainforest. I am spending time in Alaska to experience what is truly "wild" about this world. And I am sitting with my mother and my father eating a cheese plate in their beautiful backyard listening and sharing stories because I love that."
For one moment in your life -- drop the lines society has drawn and join me. Write down what you want if money didn't exist. What you really want.
Don't think. Just write it down. Now.
Done? Now ask yourself, Why? Why do I want what I want?
"I want to surf because it brings me to a beautiful place mentally and physically. I want to hike the back country of Santa Barbara because I hold so many special memories there and I miss them. And I want to flow down the beautiful waves Santa Barbara has to offer with my best friends because it is in those moments that I feel most alive.
"And a year from now I want to split my time between the mountains and the sea because that middle ground feels magical to me. And I want to snorkel the colorful reefs of the Caribbean because they are a natural wonder I'm dying to explore more. And I want to experience Alaska because the open space screams freedom to my soul. And I want to spend dinners with my parents because I love them to death."
Don't think. Just write. Why do I want what I want?
You could do this all when you're 65 after retire just like the norm has set in place for us to imitate. But, Why? Why should you wait? Why not just go tomorrow?
"Well I do want a few of the comforts of society too."
Ok. What do you need to be happy? Write it down. Give it life.
"I am happy when I live simply. I just want a space to feel at home in. I want a social life that fills me with laughter, warmth, and love. I want to learn, gain new skills and accomplish personal and team goals. I want to have the wings to spend time in multiple locations during a year where I become true friends with the local people. And I want to eat grubbin', healthy food day in and day out."
It looks like you don't need too much to be truly happy. You don't need the 2016 Land Rover to one-up the Jones' next door. You don't need the brand new iWatch you saw on that commercial. And you don't need those new business shoes you saw on that model in the magazine.
Actually, beyond not needing those things, those things actually take away from you doing what you really want. Locking yourself into monthly car payments, committing yourself to unlimited data plans, and giving in to the consumerism showcased on every billboard, magazine, and screen you see everyday takes money away from your freedom for surfing, relaxing with family, or sailing to the islands.
It's okay if you've lived like that before. So did I. Look outside. Everyone does it. They eat the cake of consumerism every meal, every day. The taste is good when its in their mouths, but moments later they meet truth -- they find that every unconscious purchase takes away from what they really want. It's become so popular that this ridiculousness looks -- to the untrained eye -- normal.
But to a trained eye this world seems quite preposterous, even if perceived as the norm. To a trained eye purchases are made in laser focus with what you truly want in life -- a life where money doesn't exist. Purchases align directly to your goals. Your goals don't need to be perfect. Mine definitely aren't. But they just need to be written down. They simply reflect parts of what you truly want, and that is good for you to know and see.
I've learned over the past month that you don't need to reach the pinnacle of financial independence (where your passive income from investments equals your spending) to become financially free. You can be free living off the income from a job you love doing. Or you can be free living off $5,000 of your own principle that powers you to see a new part of the world like Europe.
Freedom happens as soon as you have the confidence to control your situation to design the life you want. Both of those examples are freedom.
But, is it possible that one day down the road you may not want that job any longer? Or is it possible that circumstance may hinder your ability travel further? What then?
If during those journeys you made some money and still stashed +50% of your take home pay, then neither situation holds any dire weight.
To do that, maybe you worked a bit during your travels in Europe and it introduced you to wonderful local people. Maybe you were able to keep your dream job and your awesome life but made a few simple changes to live a less expensive lifestyle. Then the freedom, the worry-free lifestyle, begins to last. You don't have to do this. But why not?
So to you I ask again, Why not now?
"Me? I am enjoying my life right now. I have a good job, close housemates, friends and family, and outdoor activities galore at my doorstep. I may feel too locked in to my job, but that's okay. I don't mind my work most days. Though I know that one day I will want a change. And because I looked outside the lines and am stashing, that day when I enact my freedom to aid a stress-free life change will be wonderful."
If you answered the question "Why not now?" and there are one or a couple things holding you back, it's totally fine! Those are your goals. Mine is to get more comfortable feeling less locked in to my job.
I will take this goal head on. (Update on 1/28/16: I got a new job!. Updated goal on 2/15/16: Leave my company, and start a small lifestyle business.) And you should do the same for yours! With some childlike learning, creativity and action you and I will answer "Let's go!" way sooner then you'd ever image.
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