Recently, the thought of the amount of time I have left on this earth has been on my mind. A good friend of mine, his brother just passed away at a young age, and this has spurred some talks between us. As my friend grieves, he has brought up the idea of how precious time is and that we need to treat every day as if its our last. I have been thinking this over and tried to relate this to myself. What if this was my last year on earth? Would I be happy with the way I lived my life?
This made me think of what my daily routine is like. It generally ranges from sleeping in a little to long, lounging around the house for a while, trying to get some type of physical activity in, going to the drive through to eat lunch, then heading off to work. My days off work are then filled with busy work, getting chores or tasks done, maybe taking advantage of one day to do something fun, and then beginning the cycle all over again. If I were to write a book on my life story of my adult years it would probably be very boring and consist mainly of the things I listed above, also including countless hours of watching netflix, being on my phone, procrastinating, and putting things off until tomorrow.
One of the main reasons I enjoy the idea of financial independence is that I realize that mandatory work will be optional. I will have the time to pursue the things I want to do, the energy to not be lazy everyday, and won’t be drowned down by the idea that I HAVE to go to work that day. While I don’t hate my job by any means I constantly find myself wondering “what if I didn’t have to go to work today, or for the next month, or the next year?” I dream of how I would utilize my time, the new things I could learn and pursue, the extra time I could spend with my family and friends, and the difference that my example could make in other people’s lives.
So while thinking of death can be a scary thing, I think it is very important to take a look at your life and think “am I really happy?” “Could I be doing other things instead of just working 9-5 for the next 20 or 30 years?”
A few months back I read the book “Your money or your life” by Vicki Robin. One of the main takeaways I had from this book is realizing that time is the most valuable thing we have. Everyday we live, our time is dwindling away and the choice you have to make is, how will you spend your time? Will it be mandatory work, netflix, being stressed, and paying bills? Or will you seize the opportunity to save your money, pursue goals, make memories, and be active.
I recently read a very inspiring story on Facebook that was written by a garbage man. This man stated that he had worked for 8 years and realized in that time he had only saved approx. $15,000. He realzed that he would have to work for the rest of his life at this rate and in turn found ways to cut spending and save more money resulting in saving $30,000 in his 9th year of work. This amount increased every year for the next 8 years as he got raises from his job. This man and his wife then had a baby boy only months later to find out his wife was diagnosed with brain cancer. The man’s wife ended up passing away approx. 1 year later but his financial security allowed him to leave work to live with her in a nursing home in her last living months. While this story is incredibly sad it illustrates the options that this man had and now has due to his decision to pursue finanicial independence. It gave him the option to spend as much time as possible with his wife before she passed away, and removed the stress of having to worry about bills and money in the process, especially while raising a young child.
This is just another way to show that the pursuit of financial indepence is really not at all about the money, it is about the options, freedom, and stress relief it will bring you not only to live your life the way you want to live it, but to be able to face many challenges in life that come your way with confidence.
At the end of the day, or at the end of your life in this instance, what will matter most to you? Will it be that you owned expensive cars, a big house, had fancy clothes and shoes? Or will it be that you spent your life being free from material things and pursued the things that matter most in life like building and creating relationships, eliminating stress, spending time with your family, learning new things, helping others, and enriching yourself in as many ways as possible.
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the wisest men I have come across
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. Naval Ravikant