“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then seem improbable and then when we summon the will, they soon seem inevitable.”
“I have a star to catch.”
Everyday we are given choices.
Alarm clock goes off: get up or hit snooze?
Time for breakfast: Bacon or Ham? Or maybe it’s as simple as yes or no?
Yellow light on your way to work: Speed up or slow down? (speed up, yes? please tell me everybody speeds up!)
And that’s all in the first 60 or minutes of the day. Phew.
But what about major life choices? I made a major life change by choosing to take this year off. By breaking from my career to live a life of leisure.
I have a confession…
This year is not what I expected.
What could be better than a year of not working? A year of working. Yes – a year of working! Working on my terms. Doing something I love.
I entered this year with a plan. My everyday would look like this:
I’d drop the kids off with the nanny. Leave the maid a fat tip, on my way to meet the ladies who lunch.
Okay – that’s not quite accurate. (although I’ve run into a few people who seem to think this is what I do every day)
But I did have a plan – a plan to relax and do nothing, really. I was gonna hang out with my kids. Go to the beach at least once a week. And I’d make some blankets to sell on Etsy for some side cash.
Through a rather random and unexpected series of events – largely getting the equivalent of an MBA through online programs and many heartfelt emails from readers of Skinny Seahorse (specifically my Skinny Wallet Phat Life series) – I found I had 1) the experience 2) the knowledge and 3) the ability to create a product, a unique product, to help a specific group of women in debt. Women who were bored (or intimidated) by finance.
I had found the perfect opportunity to empower others to find the financial ability to follow their dreams.
And so the Fiscal Flamingo was hatched.
The most amazing thing occurred to me the other day. I am breaking all the rules. The rules I had set for myself based on society expectations.
I graduated from college with a responsible degree. I climbed the corporate ladder, making progressively more money each year – enough to be the primary (read: only) breadwinner for my family. I have 2.5 kids – a boy, a girl + a cat. We live in a modest home, we go to church and we pay our taxes. We have a decent retirement account and a fully funded emergency account.
Solid citizen, me thinks!
But I spent the last 5 (or so) years not enjoying my day-to-day life. I worked 5 days a week to live for 2 short days on the weekend. The math didn’t add up.
But wait. Wait! The stability! the security! and the pre-planned path that was laid out before me! What about those? Those were supposed to give me comfort and joy.
If I continued on the same path, I knew exactly where I would be in the next 5 or 10 years. I had a fabulous career. I worked my fanny off and I was paid nicely for it. But I didn’t enjoy it and that was not going to change.
One day, this spunky little redhead entered my life. Shortly followed by her happy sidekick. I realized that I couldn’t be an example to them if I was unhappy.
If I wanted to teach them to follow their dreams, I needed to follow my own.
You see the corporate world today isn’t that of my parents. Lack of pensions and overburdened employees leave little incentive to stay with the same company for years. There is no promise of a kooshy retirement. I have zero faith in the performance of my 401k and it’s ability to provide the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (ie the golden years).
During the first six months of my year off, I found an open door. A groovy thing called the internet. Coupled with the idea for the Fiscal Flamingo, I realized I could use this to change my life. (Boy – this post is getting more woo-woo by the minute, isn’t it. Gag! I’m almost done, I promise).
The internet is the perfect place to breed a location-independent, small-business minded, anti-corporate entreprenuer. People like me. Well, people like the me I want to be.
And so, I’ve spent the last several months “working.” I put working in quotes because it doesn’t feel like work. You know, like crunching numbers and managing staff did. And while I work around the clock (truly!) it is on my clock. My pink, happy, laying by the pool, while I work clock.
I walked out the door on my last day of traditional employment with trepidation, fear, uncertainty, vulnerability, excitement and peace. It is with these same emotions, I walk through the door open in front of me.
I’m making a choice. A choice to do it my way.
A choice to reach for my star.
A choice to refuse the broad path and to take the narrow path.
A choice to be happy.
Do you have a choice to make? A choice that has the power to change your life? Make it!
Live Life Your Way!
I leave you with a quote by Steve Jobs. You’ve seen it before. And while I’ve always felt a bit like a round peg trying to fit in a square hole, I am no troublemaker. But my daughter is. (Son – TBD) A spicy, spunky, spectacular little troublemaker. I see the genius in her. I want her to have the power to see things differently. I want her to have the power to change the world. And I want her to choose to live her life her way.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”