Another year gone by as I sit and reminisce on the past. So many cherished memories and good times had. It’s funny when I think about a lot of the great moments from my past it seems like they just happened yesterday, but actually they were many years ago. Time really does fly. Looking back on the good times really makes me miss the way life used to be. Thinking back to my early twenties, there was such an abundance of free time, although I thought I was busy back then. I didn’t have much money or income, but money was never really a concern.
There was always enough to go out and be social and that’s all I really required. At that age, you’re not too far out from high school and college which groups you into a population surrounded by thousands of peers, the same age, with the same luxury of free time, so your social circle is naturally huge. With such a large group to choose from it was see easy to find others with common interests and hobbies, and it came natural to group up and get enough people to form a sports team, start a band, or go out to a bar with a big group of friends.
Now that that life has slowly deteriorated to something almost nonexistent, it really has me missing that time frame. I look at where I’m at now and wonder if things will ever be as exciting as they were back then. I miss having a lot of close friends and the time to maintain those relationships. I miss being involved with sports, music and so many other activities simply for the enjoyment of them. I miss not worrying about money, or paying off debt, or if I’m going to have to work a 9-5 job for the rest of my life. These are issues that can’t be ignored, but at the same time, I feel that I need to slow down a little, and not worry about these things as much as I have been as of recently.
It’s my goal in life to achieve financial freedom and to create an abundance of time to focus on things that truly matter to me. I want to develop and strengthen relationships with friends and family, with my future children when that day comes. I want to be able to read new books constantly, continue to learn and grow as an individual, to take what I learn and share it. I want to be able to give back, to have a positive impact on other people’s lives. I want to achieve this goal of freedom, so I can teach others to do the same for themselves, and ideally in a better way after learning from my experience.
There’s the outcome. There’s the target that I’m aiming for. I’m not 100% sure the exact steps I’ll have to take to get there, but I’m constantly brainstorming and thinking of ways to make that vision a reality. I’ve taken thoughts and brought them to life. I’ve created multiple streams of income. None of which are large enough to free me from my job at the moment but the potential is there. This leads me to wonder which channels of income I should focus on, and which, although profitable, aren’t going to get me to where I’d ultimately like to be. Another analysis of opportunity cost.
Before it was, find other ways to make money outside of working for someone else. Now it has evolved to, determine which ways, of the methods you’ve created are best to focus on to get where you’d like to be. It’s a tough decision and it’s hard letting go of something you’ve created that does make money, at the risk of something that makes no income but has potential to be the solution long run.
I think there’s a part of me, in looking back on the past that feels dissatisfied with my current circumstances. I’ve always had a tendency to be hard on myself, always raise my standards, and push to achieve more. In the process of burning the candle at both ends, I think I’ve lost some of that enthusiasm. If all the hard work has worn me down and left me wishing I could go back in time to where my income was a fraction of what it is now, then maybe I’m out of balance and I need to reassess my priorities. Do an audit of my values and really question the path I’m on.
Coming from middle America and wanting to transcend that status quo life can be very difficult. It’s so easy to say “do what you love”, “do what makes you happy”, “follow your passions”, when you’re coming from a position of abundance. It’s a lot harder to spend 100% of your time on doing what you love when you haven’t figured out a way to do that in a way that creates value for other people and you find financial compensation in doing so. There’s bills to be paid and if I just do what I love all day without figuring out a way of being compensated for it, there’s going to be major financial problems very quickly. Foreclosure, debt collection, tanking of credit score, no food on the table, no money to put gas in the car, etc. That can get ugly fast.
So to tell someone to do what they love is not nearly as simplistic as the statement makes it out to be. It’s almost as if you need to work on establishing yourself, automating some streams of revenue, pay off your debt, and then reach a level where you can begin to consider doing what you love. At least that’s been my approach. If you know of a better way, please share.
Right this moment I’m doing what I love, that being writing about life. Reflecting on the day to day issues and struggles. Taking in a volume of information and trying to make sense of it as it applies to my individual reality. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his first million in real estate before getting into acting. He claimed that because he already had money it allowed him to pass up on lower quality acting roles and only accept roles that he felt were good for his career. Other actors needed work to survive so they’d take the lessor roles that weren’t necessarily the best thing for their careers. Sometimes there’s value in letting the little things pass, in not running the business that only makes a nice side income, in order to focus on the one that will replace your 9-5 income. Don’t spend your life focused on minor tasks to keep busy and then regret never doing something big.
With that all being said, I’d like to begin the new year with an open mind, keeping an eye out for what I can do that has the potential to really add value and solve problems. I want to discover an idea I have passion for and take it through the process to really have an impact. Do less of the small, to free up the capacity to focus on something big. Those smaller income streams have served their purpose, have been a great learning experience, and have provided the additional income necessary to really knock out a lot of debt, and also make some investments. But it’s time to expand my vision, drop the safety nets and really be ready for that idea that sparks massive action, resulting in complete change to my current circumstances.
2015 saw massive progress and a lot of constructive change. In 2016, progress isn’t enough. Achievement of goals and reaching the destination is the new focus. I’m not getting any younger and time is too precious to waste leaving my life in its current state. I’m ready to go out and make things happen, take risks, embrace change, and create the life I’ve always dreamed of. There just isn’t any other alternative. After what I’ve endured, it will be impossible not to enjoy the ride and have fun in the process. Here’s to the next chapter, fulfillment, achievement, contribution, and happiness.
It’s interesting to reflect on where I was three years ago. Check out Set Your Goals – Planning For Achievement to see my 2013 New Years post.by