Last weekend we did something we haven’t been able to for a couple of months, we got out of town to go camping. For us, they just opened up the campgrounds with restrictions and since we already had a booking, we took advantage of it. Now I have to add a little context, our ‘camping’ is taking the RV which has not only a bathroom, but a stove, a shower, and most importantly air conditioning! I should adjust my earlier statement, we went glamping!
It was a very nice change from being locked down in the house, we went hiking, cycling, and swimming. It was great! There was a distinct feeling of normal on our trip which was much needed. With everything that has been going on in the world a little bit of normal and balance were just what we needed.
It got me thinking more about balance and how many parts of the world have been out of balance of months (and realistically will be for a while still). Balance is a great state of being but let’s be honest we are out of balance all the time; we’ve simply gotten used to it. In North America, too many of us don’t even take the two weeks of vacation we get a year.
For what purpose do we do this? I know that for a lot of people this is to pay for all of the toys and crap in our lives. But still, it’s not a great situation.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve found I want less and less of everything, in many ways taking to minimalism more. I just don’t really want a whole bunch of things for the sake of having them. It isn’t that I want nothing, I want a few higher-quality things but a lot less of them. The item I want most of all is I want my time back. The more time I spend away from ‘regular’ work the less I want to go back to a slog. It’s a very odd feeling because I know if I really want my time back, I need to buckle down, throw balance out the window, and really hit the afterburners on the FIRE button. The flip side is I don’t want to kill myself in the process, I want to enjoy life. It’s a strange juxtaposition.
How do you find that magical balance?
If I had the answer to this question, I would instantly achieve financial independence because everyone would want that answer. Unfortunately, I think the answer is different for every person and family. There is no one size fits all here and as time passes the answer changes which makes it that much harder.
When you hit financial independence, you don’t stop working and instantly hit a lavish retirement. It isn’t quite that easy; most people’s magical financial independence number really just maintains the status quo. It keeps food on the table and a roof over your head, maybe a few added niceties. What it doesn’t account for is lavish trips (when the pandemic ends) or fancy car’s in the driveway.
I’m oversimplifying here as financial independence really is the goal, it would make everything else so much easier. For me, I want my time back and I need to find a good balance, one that works for me. That’s a tough undertaking since I’ve struggled to find something akin to balance with work. Doing something I like, making money without accepting a soul-crushing situation to get there. I’ve spent too long chasing the dollars only!
Where is that balance point?
The answer is unfortunately, I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that for me, there does need to be balanced at least at times, life can’t be on pause until working becomes optional. There is no point in working hard for retirement and then not being able to do anything during it. I know that it won’t always be a perfect balance, but I have to keep that in mind. I have to find one that works for me.