For the last couple weeks, I’ve been flirting with missing my Wednesday post and yesterday I finally did it. Hats off to those bloggers who maintain regular posting schedules, especially those who post multiples times a week. It’s not easy… and I don’t even have a job!
Speaking of which, the other day I was mentioned in a tweet by Even Steven Money. Seriously, look who’s on this tweet. Do I even belong in their company?
He has a running list capturing the “Financial Independence Day” of various personal finance bloggers. Previously, my plan was to quit working in March of this year and that is what is shown on his list.
Things changed a bit from the time I made my original announcement. Mrs. DTG’s job reassigned her to a base in the UK and last August, right before our move, I quit my full-time job. This got me thinking, if we hadn’t moved and instead continued living in Texas, would I have had the guts to follow through with my plan to leave corporate America, ditching the daily grind in the process?
I’d like to think the answer would be a resounding YES, but I’m not so sure it would’ve been that easy. You see, moving to another country was a convenient excuse to quit my job and start fresh. It’s not like I had much choice in the matter. And just like that I was retired… or am I just unemployed?
In reality, I’m just like every other military spouse who has been forced to move overseas, losing their stateside job and becoming a stay-at-home parent. Are they retired, too, or just taking a temporary break from the workforce? What’s the difference?
The main distinction, I suppose, is whether or not one actually needs the money and their personal view of the situation. In our case, though I wouldn’t classify us as 100% financially independent, we’re doing pretty well and don’t have any financial concerns. And it is this level of financial security that has allowed me to experiment with freelancing without the pressure of bringing in additional income to support my family.
I’m finding work now out of choice and a personal motivation to do something interesting and rewarding. Maybe I am just a stay-at-home dad who happens to be a part-time reservist and makes a small amount of additional cash as a freelancer.
Who am I kidding? I didn’t retire, I simply moved on to the next season of my life.
Now back to my original question: would I have had the guts to quit my relatively cushy yet unfulfilling corporate job had we remained in Texas? If we hadn’t moved at all (or transferred to a stateside base), I would have presumably continued working in my same job the last five months, slogging along and growing more disenchanted by the day. Still, would that have been enough to drive me to “retire early” and do my own thing?
It’s not like it’s normal for a 34-year old guy with a wife and three kids in elementary school to stop working on a whim. To make things less awkward with friends and neighbors, I suppose I could’ve just said that I started working from home.
In the end though, I don’t know if I would’ve gone through with it. At a minimum, I think I would’ve tried to find a different position within my previous company or something else locally that was a better fit for my skills. But I don’t think I would’ve quit working completely the way it actually occurred.
Regardless, I truly believe certain things were meant to be. Moving overseas has been an amazing blessing for our family. I wouldn’t change anything so far. Additionally, it has given me an opportunity to try things professionally that I never would’ve done otherwise, and who knows what opportunities may arise in the future.
Has anyone else ever used a move or other life-changing event to springboard other changes in their life, ones that most people would think are too risky or unrealistic?