What Do You Really Want?

What’s Your Plan, Anyway?
Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

What do you really want?You can’t have it all.

There. Some nice encouraging words for the last Thursday morning of the year. I want to do a great job at work; be able to take time off whenever I wish; have time, energy and money to do fun family activities, volunteer, own investment real estate and renovate my house. Oh yeah, and save the world. All while getting a full 8 or 9 hrs of sleep each night, eating well and staying fit. Whose planet am I living on…??

We all know that reality for most of us is quite the opposite. We may struggle at work. Or with the bills. Or with family issues. You name it, someone’s screwing it up and someone else is a superstar.

Joe’s Story

I have a friend from university I’ll call Joe. I can’t even remember how I met Joe; probably in residence. Definitely in first year, because we decided to be roommates for second year. Joe was in a completely different faculty and program than I was. His cultural upbringing was such that his parents pressured him to get a super-valuable technical degree so he could go and make a ton of money. That was their definition of success. And the entire time we lived together, he was miserable. It was very clear that he did not wish to pursue that career path.

Because this is a distant memory, and Joe and I only vaguely keep in touch, I unfortunately don’t know/can’t remember if he actually ended up switching majors later on in his studies. But I do know that he loves to travel, and has found a job that involves a lot of it, resulting in many, many travel points, and therefore many, many vacation trips to the far corners of the globe. And I’m pretty sure that that is what he wants.

Travel in Mountains

So What Do I Really Want?

I want freedom and flexibility. I want to contribute to society and make a difference. I want to spend time with family and friends. I want to travel a bit, but not crazy amounts forever. I want to be the best husband I can be. I want my kids to grow up to be fully contributing members of society and chase their dreams.

And just how am I achieving/going to achieve this? I am taking deliberate steps to move my life from here to there. I always have, and I always will. It’s just that the here, there, and steps all change with time.

Early in my career, I had more than one opportunity to join small start-up companies. I would have been getting in on the ground floor of what are now multimillion dollar international organizations. But I wanted stability. Security. A predictable environment and career that would support a family, both financially and by being physically present. I declined those opportunities and joined a large, well-established blue-chip organization with a standard 40-hr work week. I still work at the same company, although I’ve moved around a bit, learned some amazing things, and gained increasing levels of responsibility through the years. But as I mentioned just above, the here and there change with time. What used to be my “there” is now obviously my “here”.

The Next Steps…

Unfortunately, my next “there” sounds nice when written down but it’s really just pie-in-the-sky generalities. I need to be specific so that I can act deliberately and take the appropriate steps towards change, which I am still firming up. Maybe you thought that this post would tie up nicely in a bow, with a clear plan ahead and some key direction. But we all know that reality for most of us is quite the opposite.

On the plus side, as I continue to seek, think, and discuss with confidants and advisors, I am starting to see shapes emerge from the ether. One thing is clear: it depends significantly on making good financial and lifestyle decisions that deliberately eliminate waste and focus my resources on the areas that are important to me, instead of following what “society” expects me to do with my time and money.

I still haven’t got all of the details figured out, and I may never, but that’s OK* and I’m working on it. Because one way or another, it’s gonna rock! Will you join me?

Pencil with ShadowYour Turn Now!

Be honest and accountable as we roll into 2018: What do you really want? Not what your parents want you to want, not what society wants you to want, not even what your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend wants to you want. What do you really want? And how are you going to make it happen?

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* Expect this to be a future blog post someday…

What’s Your Plan, Anyway?
Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

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