I’ve been on autopilot for some time now. At first, it seemed like a good idea to continue on my current path of saving several years of expenses each year, while focusing on living my life in the moment. Now I realize that I need a pinch in the arm from time to time to stay on target. It’s difficult to focus on a goal so far in the future while enjoying the present moment. Some people are so focused on that future goal (i.e., financial independence), that they miss out on life. Others get caught up in the moment and let their goal slip away from them.
In trying to maintain this delicate balance, I momentarily lost sight of the long term goal. There were several factors at play. First, my work took me to some high rolling locations with high rolling partners. I was surrounded by people who enjoyed only the best. From $500 bottles of wine at restaurants to suites at world-class hotels, I enjoyed it all for two weeks. Bit by bit, I was lured to the glitz of the lifestyle. I didn’t even notice the change, until I found myself faced with the unusual urge to buy things when I returned.
Compounding this change of mind, I was also the subject of political tug of war back at the office. For reasons I won’t state here, the partners were keen on making sure I felt like I was valued by the firm, so I was lavished with praise and promise of riches (i.e., partnership). I swear I heard it from five partners in a week, some of whom dropped by more than once to tell me that they were my strongest advocate and that my career about to shine. All of it started going to my head. Deep down, I still know that the career path I’m on is not a healthy one. But I started thinking more seriously about working at my job longer and striving for more money, power, success. I was getting indoctrinated. They used the only carrot they had and it was working.
Finally, some of my friends bought very expensive property. I was actually impressed when I saw the place, but cringed when I heard the price. But the very next week, I saw a similarly priced listing that seemed like a “steal” and I almost got sucked in. That was the wake-up call. Buying that place would have destroyed my current financial plan. I don’t even have $400K liquid yet, and I was looking at spending three times that. Holy cow.
I’ve slowly been regaining my senses. I’m going to continue on my career path for now, but only for the right reasons — its the fastest path to gain my freedom.