As with many other people out there, I take the time to look back on the past year and try to look forward to the future. The last two years have been very eventful and have allowed for a lot of personal growth. So to anyone out there reading this, there is may be little value other than learning more about me – so read with that in mind.
I want to first touch base with the highlights of the past few years. One of the biggest positives we’ve experienced are the joys of moving to a new town, and becoming friends with great people in Spokane. My sister has given birth to a new daughter, and my sister-in-law has successfully written a highly acclaimed book. The economic struggles of 2008 and 2009 seem to be behind us, and 2010 was a pretty good year for us. We purchased a new home in the closing days of 2009, and have made some slight improvements to the property. Anne is also driving a much safer, comfortable, and practical Subaru Outback (rather than her Civic). I got back into rowing, and we are healthy (including my dog).
On the other end of the spectrum we’ve dealt with the tough economy and survived on a single income for quite some time. We’ve left family and friends behind on the east coast. I’ve experienced the difficulties of trying to build a business and make more money than I spent. We had close family members battle with cancer and other worrisome health issues. We live comfortably, but do have debts for our house, car, and student loans. It would be exhilarating to have absolutely zero debts.
I had a conversation with a friend and talked about how I think I’m in a mid life crises – at only 29 years old. He responded by saying, “Have a crisis early and often” and I think he was dead on right with that. Because, ultimately what is a mid life crises? It’s a time in your life to look back on what you have accomplished (or not accomplished) and change your action plans to get you where you need to be. If you have them more frequently, then certainly they won’t be “crises” when they happen. More than likely they will just be goal setting sessions.
When I look back to who I was coming out of college I had the world in front of me. I was going to make 6 figures in a couple of years, buy some fancy material possessions, and talk about how awesome I was to everyone. I was going to go back to my 10 year high school reunion and be like “yeah, I’m awesome.” None of that really happened. Sure I’ve got some nice things, good income, and I am still a little cocky, but ultimately my outlook on life has changed dramatically. Gone is my desire to show up everyone and to work for material possessions.
My goals for income are no longer about what I can buy with the earnings, but how it can allow me to be free. As I get older I have a stronger desire not be handcuffed to anything. To get there I need no debts, strong passive income, and a healthy personal life with my family. I’ve got one of the three, but what scares me is that I may not get the other two until I am 65, 75, or maybe never. The other scary thought is I may have to sacrifice one of those three today, to get where I want to be tomorrow.
A simple way to achieve the goals is to lower my desire for frivolous things. For every dollar I spend on something that gives a temporary joy, I could have been spending it toward personal freedom. There are few purchases that appreciate in value as you get older and those purchases are generally experiences. My trips around the world grow fonder with age, and I need to devote more energy to travelling. Sadly, my fancy new phone, big screen TV, laptop computer, and new outfit all become more and more drab over time. I start searching for what’s the newest and coolest thing out there. It’s a race with no finish line and only exhaustion.
I didn’t write much in 2010, and part of that is probably because of concerns of what other people thought. But, how can I be free, if I don’t even have the power to express myself? I won’t make any guarantees to blog updates as that will just make the task feel like another job, but hopefully I will share my personal experiences more frequently. I’ve got many business ideas that I never plan to execute and maybe I might share those with the world so that someone can execute on them – make the world a better place.
So if/when I do have the incredible successes I dreamed of in college it won’t be compared to others. I’m now living my own life without concerns to other people’s perception (who aren’t close to me). I will strive to humbly enjoy the fruits of my labor and share good fortune when possible. So here’s to 2011 and everyones new outlook!