As I write this post, I am remembering what my personal and financial life was like two years ago and how much stress I was keeping wrapped-up inside. I was a financial and emotional train-wreck, chaotic and unpredictable. I was $15,000 in debt, I didn’t have a job that could pay the bills, and I was hopelessly mired in personal and social anxiety that was preventing me from being the person that I wanted to be. I wanted to find a way out and to start making things happen for myself, so I took it upon myself to start paying off my debts and start working on getting rid of my physical and psychological baggage. Here I am, two years after starting with barely $3,000 in debt remaining, with a fairly tight circle of friends I can be close with, and with a much smaller space footprint. Spending the time last night, I took and made personal financial projections to the end of this year with extremely promising results: By Christmas of this year, I will have paid off every single personal debt obligation I have, and I will have put away at least $4,000 in savings. What a way to start the new year!
Bearing all of this in mind, I am now looking toward the future and what it might hold for me with regard to employment, education, and what I really want to be spending my time on. I have felt as though a larger portion of my life has been on stand-by while I have been busy toiling away on resolving my financial and personal emotional situations, which is no way to live one’s life in the long-term sense. There is a larger number of things that I want to accomplish and experience in my life, and the more that I think about it, the more that the life of a cubicle-jockey seems like a commuted life-sentence surrounding commuting, submission, and constant fear. I don’t want to live that way, and I feel that I don’t have to. I have a choice, and I have the power and ability to do what I want and still get important things done. I can’t get what I want done by staying where I am and by depending on the same modus operandi day-in and day-out, so to me that means that I have a choice: repetitious comfort punctuated by increasing distress, or a higher form of living where the primary driver for continued growth is that nothing is the same and failure simply means that a big effort didn’t pay off.
The former is simple: continue working, go to college, get a better job (or get promoted), and continue living with the 9-to-5 grind. The latter is much, much more complicated and involves a great many more questions than the former does:
- What matters to me?
- What drives me to get up in the morning?
- What do I spend the majority of my time on?
- What makes me happiest?
- Can I make a living (or better) doing what I love?
- Will doing what I love continue to matter to me in 5, 10, or even 20 years’ time?
These questions aren’t simply a litmus-test to determine their worthiness as an endeavor, they are constantly being pressed against everything that I do and every opportunity I seek out (or seeks me out), because in this world there isn’t much of an alternative. Yes, there’s always “moving back home with your parents”, but what good is that? If you move back, that’s merely accepting defeat and expecting people who expected you to leave them behind and do great things to provide for you. In-short, the options for me are extremely stark: Near-guaranteed survival (with near-guaranteed frustration, angst, and financial security) or near-guaranteed risk (with the potential for a huge emotional payout as opposed to a financial payout).
At the time of this writing, I have begun work on an as-yet unofficial project for a place that I deeply enjoy spending time and energy at. Admittedly, it’s not very technical in nature, but it supports something that I have been engaging in on a daily basis for training both mentally and physically. It’s something that I care about, and it’s something that I want to work. Not merely because it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but it’s something that has an impact on both people I care about as well as people that might eventually be part of a wider community. To me, that’s worth its weight in gold all on its own. I’ll be able to talk about it more as we get closer to launch-day, and I’ll be chomping-at-the-bit to tell people. It’s going to be awesome.
Returning to the topic of career and employment pursuits, I will continue to work where I am at least for the entirety of the calendar-year of 2013. By January 2013, I will begin to deposit 50% of my pay into a savings account with a goal of saving $25,000 by the end of 2013 as a “crash pad” in the event that my endeavors end-up falling-short or failing. By the start of 2014, I will be able to make a conscious and informed choice as to whether or not I will separate myself from my current place of employment and determine for myself what my next steps are. Whether to go to college (for what I have no clue yet), to work on new projects and to really put 150% of myself into the projects, or to comfortably begin a new job-search under a lot less stress are the decisions I have laid-out in front of me.
The only question now is where to begin.