¡Happy Cinco de Mayo! I’m not really sure why we “celebrate” this day here is the US, but I’ll be on the lookout for Mexican beers on clearance in about a week or so. 😉 Anyway…
For the last 11 months, we’ve been sharing our journey towards financial independence and early retirement. News of our upcoming move changed our plans a bit and my last day at work is now August 5, exactly three months from today! Can you believe it? I’m trying to stay productive in my job, and to be honest, it’s a daily battle to not completely check out mentally. My office is made up of genuinely good people, though, and I don’t want to go out like that.
Even with the busyness of the last few weeks, I’ve had some time to reflect on my working career and look forward to what is to come later this year and beyond. Although we often write about money, this blog is about much more than that. For me, it has really been about understanding myself and discovering what is important to me and my family. The money is simply a tool, allowing us the flexibility to reshape our lives to align with these newly-realized priorities.
Through my introspection, I’ve noticed three things about myself.
- I do not work well in a large corporate (or bureaucratic) environment.
I’m sure lots of people feel the same way. However, if that’s the case, I’m not quite as good at faking it as others may be. As I look around my office, it seems that my coworkers genuinely like their jobs and have no trouble keeping themselves busy. On the other hand, I have to actively force myself to be motivated. I am truly disinterested in my job. And the sad part is I work for an absolutely amazing company. I can’t imagine many other large organizations that would be this good to their employees. I am very fortunate to say the least.
And what’s even more interesting is that I felt almost the exact same way during the nearly nine years I spent on active duty and the year I worked as an engineering co-op while in college. I always did a good job, and it’s not like I completely slacked off or anything like that. I enjoyed being on active duty and serving in the military, just not the daily grind of inspections, checklists, and training. That’s why the reserve has been a much better fit for me.
It’s almost like if I don’t have complete control over what I’m doing, I can’t force myself to go all in.
2. I prefer uncertainty over safety.
The one “job” I can say I’ve enjoyed the most in my adult life was not really a job at all. I purchased my first individual stock in December 2012. A few months later, I took a trading class and really got hooked. By the fourth quarter of 2013, I was following the market daily and trading frequently. My passion continued to grow and in 2014, I made $35,934.19 trading stocks, nearly all of it in the first eight months of the year before I started my current job. In total, I’ve made around $60,000 trading stocks, though I haven’t traded much the last year and a half.
Maybe it was just beginner’s luck combined with a raging stock market, I don’t know. What I do know is that I felt alive when I was trading. I immersed myself in it. I loved the market fluctuations and the uncertainty. I never knew what would happen next.
Contrast this to my actual job. Show up, go to meetings, type stuff into a computer, get paid. It’s steady, it’s predictable, and it pays well. It just doesn’t do anything for me.
I’m not saying I want to be a full-time trader. Instead, I want the feeling that on any given day anything can happen.
Even with our finances, we’ve never thought much about safe withdrawal rates or whether our money will last. I’ve always been confident that we’ll just make it work.
3. I have lots of ideas that I want to pursue.
Similar to the feeling I get from trading, I get excited when potential business ideas pop into my head, which is probably on a weekly basis. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had numerous possibilities floating around in the back of my mind. I’d think about them for a while, maybe even jot down a few notes. Every time, life would get in the way and my ideas would fizzle out and fade into the background.
Aside from the awesomeness of getting to live in the UK for three years, here are a few of the things I’m most looking forward to:
- Launching and growing a travel blog
- Consulting small businesses seeking government research contracts
- Watching out for unique and interesting reserve opportunities
- Writing more consistently here on this blog
In just a few months, my excuses will be gone. I’ll have the flexibility to choose what to work on and how to spend my time. With this new found freedom will come unlimited possibilities and a world of unknowns. Any time an idea comes to mind, the only thing stopping me from exploring it will be me.
I feel like there’s an entrepreneurial spirit at my core that I’ve been repressing for years. It’s time to unleash it!