For as long as I can remember, a strong value in my life has been around Freedom. I felt a deep need for it and the main vehicle I saw for getting it was money.
I watched my parents struggle and suffer. My dad was a fast-talking dreamer who could sell ice to an eskimo and wanted to “Get Rich Quick” and my mother was a soft spoken, kind soul with low self worth, who believed that you had to “work hard” for money. Neither were very good with money or had anything saved. They were living paycheck to paycheck and I assume, just putting off thinking about the future.
I knew I wanted something different. Although struggle is common and almost palpable in Maui (where I grew up), I knew deep inside that it wasn’t like that for everyone and didn’t have to be for me. This set me out on a quest, as seeker of the truth, my truth.
All my efforts, research, long hours of work, sacrifice and being cheap, got me to my Financial Independence number at the ripe old age of 28.
FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. The major criticism that this movement gets from the “Early Retirement” part. Sure, I understood that by “retiring” at 28, it meant that I no longer needed to work and yet, I knew it didn’t mean I would never work again.
There is still a lot of life left at 28 and a lot of desires and interests to explore and fulfill. I took about 2 years off, just managing my two Airbnbs at the time, amounting to 5 - 8hrs a week of tinkering, with plenty of time left over for cooking meals with friends, riding my bike, exercise classes and the like. And yet, after those two glorious years of calm, opportunities for more started presenting themselves and I built a little side business for fun.
Fast forward to now and I’ve returned to what looks like work and yet it’s super flexible and pretty darn enjoyable. I get up without an alarm clock everyday. Leisurely make my way to the couch for some reading time and morning practices while my boyfriend flutters around the house preparing to leave for work. I usually make a delicious breakfast, walk him to his office then return home to settle in with my laptop around 10.
I’m getting into the habit of writing more so I slate two hours a day to that, make lunch, do some emails/task and usually break to get out of the house / see a friend for some part of each afternoon. Maybe for a hike or a meal or just some errands on my own. I’m using the car less these days so I walk or bike.
I leave most evenings open for classes or dinners with friends and Ben time. It’s a simple life and a good one.
I love going to conferences and yet, when I do, I see that most people in my line of business go hard to push the envelope and build, build, build. For the most part, they skyrocket with success but I see the bags under their eyes from lack of sleep, notice that they don’t have much else to talk about aside from work, and hear that their relationships suffer as a result. I understand that they believe it’s a trade off and maybe they think it’s temporary. I have faced the realities of death, in losing both of my parents young, and know we never know how much time we have left.
So in closing, I will leave you with this quote from the famed poet Mary Oliver, as a pondering thought on why you may want to consider FIRE:
‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’