What if We Hadn’t Moved?

the-hague-boardwalk

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?

even-steven-money-tweet

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?  

14 thoughts on “What if We Hadn’t Moved?

  1. Mr. SSC says:

    I have to say that I was kind of (very silently) in the back of my mind rooting for us both to get laid off last year. Especially if we could have ended up with fairly decent packages it would have been the push out of the nest for us to start our Lifestyle Change a yr or so early. I’m confident we could’ve succeeded in it, and we’re sitting well enough financially that we’d just need another job to cover our bills, not necessarily that AND keep building savings.

    Like you, I’m still here at the office, and plan to be for another couple of years at least – unless something comes along to force me out, like layoffs or a teching gig for Mrs. SSC. Same with her. The teaching gig she ahs now couldn’t be more perfect. She has research opportunities, grad students she’s taking on, and all kinds of doors are opening for her. I’m as excited as she is!

    Until something forces a change, it would be hard to say, yep, we’re done and just up and walk away from this comfy life now. Fortunately, we still ahve about 2 years before we have to wrestle with that decision. Unless she gets a better job outside of Houston, then I’m more than happy giving notice and tagging along.

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    • Ditching the Grind says:

      A nice severance package would’ve given you some cushion and a layoff would be a good reason to try something different. I can see why you were silently rooting for it!

      I’m glad that Mrs. SSC’s teaching gig is going so well. Sounds like an ideal position at the moment. Now you just need to find a way out of Houston!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. evenstevenmoney says:

    DTG, glad you wrote this article. I think it says a lot about FI and those who pursue it. There is not a pass or fail grade given to those on the journey, not a single person come March will yell at you for not being FI or sitting on a beach drinking PBR (everyone always says tropical drinks, be different). I think it’s more important that your pursuit of FI led you to have choices, most can’t drop the 9-5 because the groceries are expensive, the utility bill comes every month, and the car or mortgage payment sucks them into the 9-5 so the paycheck keeps coming. It’s your journey, it’s your map, it’s your vision and none of it is going to perfect or just right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Thanks, Even Steven. Like you said, the ability to have choices is probably the biggest benefit of pursuing FI. Sure, our savings may have slowed down some these past five months, but at this point does it even matter? We’re doing great and in the midst of an amazing experience. That’s winning in my book!

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  3. mrspickypincher says:

    Yay for the ability to not work! I totally feel ya on the posting schedule conundrum. I have a 9-to-5 and it’s super-challenging to keep up some days.

    I salute you for achieving FI as a military family, too! I’m an Army brat and I know it’s not always an easy thing to do.

    It was “easier” for you to quit since you were kind of forced to quit! (fingers crossed) I haven’t had an experience like that yet. My first reaction is to hope nothing unexpected or big happens, but that’s laughable. Hopefully one day I’ll have the comfort of FI and the ability to do what I want, no matter what life throws at me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      I really don’t know how people keep up with multiple posts a week. That’s serious dedication!

      This PCS gave me a lot more appreciation for military spouses and kids. It’s a lot easier as the active duty member. The families are the ones who are truly uprooted. I think being dual military made a lot of things easier in a way.

      And quitting is definitely a lot easier when you’re moving on a certain day regardless!

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  4. less4success says:

    I’m hoping to use my recent local move (and associated longer commute) as a cover for going part-time. Sometimes a little nudge is required to prompt us to stop planning and act 🙂

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  5. Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions says:

    We’re getting ready for a “risky” (not to us, but others would think so) downsize and other changes this summer. We keep telling ourselves that if we’re not happy with the change – we’ll make a new plan. We aren’t buying a big fancy house – so losing money isn’t an issue. We already own this smaller one, so if we hate it – we can rent it back out or sell it and change course. Actually pulling the trigger and saying – we’re doing it is the hardest thing. We’re working on that plan this weekend. Great post – and yep, sticking to any kind of schedule is really hard on me in terms of blogging.

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    • Ditching the Grind says:

      You’re right, you can do all the planning and everything can be in place, but pulling the trigger and actually going through with your plans is still the hardest part. In my case, I’m glad our move forced a big change. I wish you the best on your downsize and other changes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Graham @ Reverse The Crush says:

    Great post DTG!
    It’s definitely challenging to maintain a blog posting schedule, and that’s regardless of having a full time job or not. Do you still plan on sticking to the Wednesday schedule now?

    I have used difficult situations in the past to propel life changes. I think it’s a productive way to deal with tough times. I used a challenging period of my life combined with job dissatisfaction to quit my job and take a year off.

    Recently, a family situation occurred that has been pulling me away from productivity. However, I’m looking to make some habit changes soon to get back to focussing on what makes me happy–blogging. Thanks for sharing the post!

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    • Ditching the Grind says:

      I’m planning to stick with the Wednesday posting schedule, but I’m failing miserably again this week. I really need to get in a better groove.

      It’s great that you could turn a difficult time into something positive like your year off. Hope your family situation is nothing too serious.

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  7. rilmanstuff says:

    I kinda tiptoed out of corporate America. Kinda. I am a contractor and love the freedom it brings. I do go to an office everyday and so maybe I’m still trying to get out but as a contractor I have so much freedom over my schedule, who I work for and how much. I would say the biggest step is realizing that you do not really have any more security as a direct employee for some one or if you own your own business and contract.

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    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Very true, especially nowadays with layoffs and reorgs so prevalent. Traditional jobs offer a veil of security. Once it’s gone, most people are screwed.

      Though I hadn’t really thought of it this way before, I suppose in a way I’m a contractor now, too (albeit a low-paid one). Freedom over your schedule is a huge plus. I know it’s one of the things I’m enjoying the most.

      Like

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