Enjoying the Moment While Pursuing FI
Growing up, I have always understood that money can be a tool and not a crutch. Maybe that’s not clear but I’ll explain… There are usually two views in the general world pertaining to money: money is evil, money is a tool. Those who don’t know how to use the tool regard it as a subject in the book of life that they’ll never grasp, writing it off as for the rich only. Those who educate themselves in the subject of money view it as a way to achieve their hopes and dreams. Sure I might not be a millionaire today or tomorrow, but I’m sure as hell eventually that I’ll reach FI (financial independence) and be able to live the life I want to.
I am definitely in the camp where I believe money is a tool: use it wisely and it will return with dividends. I have been doing everything I can to potentially one day reach FI including investing in myself through getting a masters degree, career hacking (which I have a complete guide of how I went from 0 to 84K by career hacking), starting an Etsy shop (well trying to), starting a Society6 shop (well, again trying to), setting up this blog and I am eventually planning on launching my own UX Design business. I have some heavy duty ambitions.
I am constantly thinking of , “How can I earn more money?”, “How can I reach my goals?” “What will help me reach FI faster?”. It is a never ending cycle of pursuing a ton of different ideas at once while trying to balance my career and schooling. I know I am constantly wearing myself thin but as I see it and maybe others can relate but there are so many things in the world I want to do before I leave it that why not just try it? The worst that can happen is failure.
I get so wrapped up in the “what if I…” that I don’t usually even have time to take a breath. I am constantly editing my schedule and to-do lists that that in itself feels like a full time job trying to balance everything. I know everyone can see the pressure I put on myself, to reach FI, to try to do everything at once…
My boyfriend said something that really resonated with me the other day...
"You worry so much about the future, why don't you just enjoy the moment."
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I have always had an unhealthy obsession with being secure but it has been recently spilling over into my life. I would spend hours at work googling different strategies for investing, ignoring and putting off commitments that had deadlines. I would spend hours on my phone looking on Pinterest for FI blogs when I could of been more present while with family or friends. I could of done a hobby or learned a new skill when I would just sit there, paralyzed by the fear of the financial "unknown".
What my problem was was that I was getting too wrapped up in all the information and possibilities instead of acting. What I should of been doing was exploring hobbies that could eventually lead to side hustles, I should of just made a decision instead of wait to see if other information would lead me to a better choice, I should of worked harder to earn a higher raise to earn even more money. But I didn't.
What You Should Do If You Get Wrapped Into FI
These are the steps I took and I am still taking to not get so wrapped into FI and saving my sanity.
Prioritize what's important.
I have always been the type of person to write down a million things that I wanted to do but never actually do them. I'm starting to think it's a way for me to cope with my anxiety but it actually tends to make me more anxious. How terrible is that?
Focus on yourself.
I heard on a podcast there other day, “If you need to live with yourself first”. Meaning that you need to love, accept and appreciate yourself first before you can take any major step forward. So many people including myself struggle with this and it becomes a real detriment, a wall in the road. These walls come in the form of self doubt since you’re confidence is not strong enough to carry you over.
Hobbies are part of your mental health.
I love creating. I love painting, I love writing, I love UX, I love knitting, I love to love all these things in life that lets me create and add to the world. The thing is, I have been focusing way too much on using hobbies as a way to make money (unsuccessfully probably for this reason) instead of using them to relax and escape the daily pressures I have with my job, my schooling and my home life. Hobbies should be enjoyable and not feel like a job. For now I will treat my hobbies as hobbies, stop comparing myself to others, and create to add to the world and if it doesn’t add to my pocket for now… So be it.
I encourage whoever will read this to take a step back in the journey, if pursuing FI or something else, to look at your habits, your impulses and your tendencies and to analyze if it is helping you or hurting you. To change directions if needed and to focus on what’s important which is first and foremost yourself, your wellbeing, your passions and the ones you love most.