Most people don’t, and that’s cool, as long as you are striving toward what you want.
I’m going to open this up by saying that I love my job. If you could call it a job. I really don’t make much money. After I sell the house and ditch that bill, I’ll be almost to the point where I can cover my expenses with the freelancing thing. But I’m sitting here on a Saturday, in a coffee shop, hammering away at the keys like there is no tomorrow on a bunch of projects I won’t receive any money for. How many of you love your job enough to do it for free? This is how you get there.
If you don’t love your job, or downright hate it
Make sure that it serves a purpose. Most jobs I’ve had loose their luster after the first few weeks or months. Historically, since I was sixteen, every job I’ve had served but one purpose: money. The root of all evil. I didn’t care what the work entailed, and to be honest, I still don’t. If it means that I can eat, I scrub toilets, push a dust mop, fall trees, hack brambles and palmettos with a machete in the Florida heat, or kiss ten years of my life away on oil rigs. If the price is right, I’ll do it. If I need the money, I’ll do it. Recently I made the swap to doing what I love, not because it would make me money, but because I needed a break, and I needed to give my writing a chance to flourish.
If you are working a job you don’t live for, there isn’t anything wrong with that. But work toward what you want, not what society wants for you. I stashed away some little cash piles here and there that I’m glad I now have. I’ve always lived a little below my means, trying to make as many of those pennies count, but I’d still slip up and splurge from time to time. At the end of the month, though, the money coming in was more than what I was spending, and trying to expand those margins helped me save. I’ve learned recently that I was still spending much more than I needed to, because of late, every little expense needs to be justified.
So, what do you do? Make a goal. Spend your spare time trying to figure out what that one thing is that you want. If you are the main character in the story, you need to have an ultimate goal. Your pursuit of it is what makes your story interesting. Or, as Nathan Bransford says:
“every single protagonist, no matter what the species, has one thing in common: they want something. The novel is about trying to get that thing they want.”
This is true in life, too, but for us here in real life, a lot of that struggle is finding out what that thing you want actually is. How do you find out? Try things. Explore your interests. Look at all the things that make you say, “I wish I could do that,” and learn it. Do it. Take an hour out of every day to devote to the pursuit of something that could make you happy. For me, writing was the only one I really stuck with. I worked 13 hour days in the oilfield, and still found an hour somewhere to fit in my writing. Every. Single. Day.
That’s why I don’t mind catching up on my writing on a Saturday instead of partying at Festival. I like writing things. And I like reaching out to you guys and trying to motivate you to go after what you love.
I jumped in, but not head first. I know that I have some 401k money saved up, and I can find a job if I need to. I ensured that the land I want to live on someday is paid off. I sold my Jeep, and cut a bunch of bills. I knew there would be a storm to weather. The cancer thing I didn’t see coming, so that’s just proof that there’s going to be at least two or three problems you never anticipated. Be ready for those too. For me, my property is the end game, and I hope to write while I’m there, between tending to animals and crops, logging, clearing, mending fences, etc. But that’s my ultimate destination. It’s where I want to be. Farming and writing is what I want to do.
Don’t get so caught up on saving that you forget to live it too. That’s where I got hung up for a long time. I thought, I need this much for a tractor, this much for solar panels, this much for this, this much for that, and was constantly chasing a growing number. Screw that number. You can start living the life you want right now. One hour at a time. Build the knowledge, learn the skills, and do it. You’ll know when the time is right. Ultimately, I left my job because I realized that if I kept chasing a number, I’d never actually get to my property.
Spend some time to build a nest-egg, but focus on the big picture, not the savings account.
Hit go when you’re ready
When you are ready, really ready, you will know. Because you will remind yourself constantly that you could get by with some part time job and there is something you really want to do with your life. You know what sacrifices you will have to make, and you’re willing to make them. The hardest part is making that decision to ditch a good paying job and seeing how far you bounce before you land on your feet. But I’ll tell you one thing. You will never feel more alive or motivated than when you take that big step.
Of course, this is all me. I’m not you, but maybe theres a tidbit in here that everyone can glean something from. I never feel alive unless I’m literally fighting for my life. I think that’s why I like being alone in the woods so much.