Lately, my thoughts drift violently between 'getting a stable paycheck-producing job' and 'packing my bags and leaving for a perpetual world trip'.
Yeah, I'm not kidding. This is what happens when you have a little too much time on your hands...
Since young, I'd always leaned towards creative pursuits - music, art, photography, exploration. I almost pursued music/graphic design as my major. The problem, however, is that these pursuits don't pay the bills; or rather, it would be a real struggle to make ends meet.
At least, that's what I thought at that point in time.
So I adjusted my bearings, and headed towards the metropolis - submitted myself as a victim to the allure of the corporate ladder.
Seven years later, here I am, feeling as unfulfilled as ever. I have food on the table, my bills are paid on time and I'm not broke (I mean, I would be if I don't find another gig soon) but somehow, this does not feel right.
I thought creative pursuits would be a struggle, but hey, on the flip side, a traditional corporate career path like the one I'm in right now isn't any different. I've learnt that either path is a struggle, so why not choose the one that provides some form of enjoyment?
The thing is, expectations sink in as you age.
"Those are hobbies, son...you need to get a job"
"Have you gotten a house yet?"
"Are you getting the new Apple Watch?"
"Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?" - everyone expects a 'I'll be head of department by then, have kids and dogs running around...' kind of response.
Those expectations may hold some weight. However, if you were to respond to each and every one of them, you'd be living life according to what others expect of you.
What a silly, silly thing to do.
Don't even get me started on the impact of those expectations on your finances. One thing is for sure - people who achieved Financial Independence (F.I.) didn't respond much to expectations.
If you like fine watches, yeah sure, go for it if you can truly afford it. But don't get a Rolex just because your clients expect you to have one strapped around your wrist.
It takes effort to manage expectations, but those who can ignore them are bold.
I know for a fact, that acquaintances who ignored expectations but had the work ethic, drive and perseverance achieved so much more than those who pursued a traditional career path.
The main reason why I'm trying to achieve F.I. by 35 is because I see it as the freedom to pursue what I want without having to worry about a paycheck anymore.
In short, Financial Independence is not the end game, it's merely a means to an end.
The pursuit of freedom is my coping mechanism, but I'm starting to ask myself if wearing an ill-fitting job for 10 years to finally pursue what I want to do in life is worth the sacrifice.
The insurance here would be to work on those pursuits concurrently. There's nothing stopping us from getting our freedom fund in order while we work on our true interests.
But to be honest, I'm not sure how everything's going to work out.
But I'm OK with that, too.