Dear Risk Takers, I enjoy living vicariously through you.
It makes me smile every time I read a story about someone who takes a chance and does something crazy with their lives. Make no mistake, as a personal finance blogger I think quitting your job to travel the world without several years worth of savings is kind of crazy, but I love it all the same! Your risky actions shows the rest of us that we don’t need that much to survive, especially those of us living in America. We’re spoiled by excess.
You are the lucky ones because you aren’t encumbered with baggage. If you lose everything, you might have a moment of pity, but you never had much to lose in the first place. I originally wrote this post on November 19, 2010. At 32, I was thinking about what else there was to life. The 2008-2009 financial crisis really made me question the point of working in finance.
Thoughts On Breaking Free
We’ve got spreadsheets and calculators where we pro-formalize our lives. If we work this long, and save this much every year, then we’ll get to be free and travel the world! But in the mean time, we have to patiently wait.
Living vicariously through others is the only thing we can do until we reach financial freedom.
Do you remember freshman year in college? I don’t know about you, but I felt like it was one big orgy. Everything was new, and we all had a sense of wonder, wanting to meet and do everybody! We were all accepting, because we had to be.
There weren’t any cliques formed yet, because we hadn’t developed our good or bad perceptions. That’s the way it should be, but we just can’t help settling into a mold, doing what society tells us to do.
Two Choices When I Graduated From College
When I graduated college, I had two job offers and a half-dozen rejections. One was to go on an adventure and work in a foreign country. The company literally made widgets, and I was asked to manage the factory and develop a marketing plan for international expansion.
The second offer was the dream corporate job offer where business majors and Ivy league grads would die for. Seriously, every single stiff in a suit you see walking around campus holding a leather binder would have gone streaking just to land this job.
Of course I went with option #2 because I rationed that there must be a reason why so many folks study all day and join every little resume-building club for this job.
True to form, the job was a ball buster, everyday for two years until I escaped to come to San Francisco. Now, I can still work all day. However, now the air is fresh and the tennis courts are plentiful and free. Living vicariously was no longer just a dream.
Wondering What If
At least once a month, I think about how my life would be different if I went with job offer #1. I wonder about the different people I would have met and how my professional lives would compare.
Maybe I’d be a tri-lingual mega-millionaire by now, or maybe I’d be light years behind where I currently am since the factory may have shut down. Who knows for sure, but I can’t help thinking about how things might have been. It’s not an agonizing thought mind you. It’s just a fun thought to have.
There are seldom really bad choices in life, only sub-optimal or different choices. If we’re realistic enough, we can see the good and bad in everything we do. The idea is to make the best choice possible, and minimize the potential annoyance of not taking the other one!
Living Vicariously: You Are The Lucky Ones!
People don’t change their lives when they are happy. People change their lives because something is bothering them sufficiently to change. You’ve been pricked so many times by your boss, that you quit.
The work you’re doing is so soul-less that you switch fields. You realize your life is half over and you don’t want to die before seeing the pyramids so you take a sabbatical. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy for them all because of the stories they allow you to provide us.
It’s unfortunate we can’t live parallel lives, or be in two places at once. Just that one choice will alter your life forever, so choose carefully, and have no regrets!
Thanks again for writing all your inspiring stories. Don’t let anybody keep you down because they’re just jealous you’re doing what they’ve always wanted to do. Perhaps I can join you in 10 years, when my career is over. In the meantime, thank you for letting me live vicariously through you!
Taking A Leap Of Faith And Retiring On My Own Terms (I finally broke free in 2012, just two years after I wrote this post)!
Readers, do you consider yourself a risk taker or more on the conservative side of things when it comes to your career and investments? Was there anytime in the past where you regretted or deeply wondered what could have been? Are you living vicariously through someone else?
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Financial Samurai has been online since 2009 and is one of the most trusted and largest independently-run personal finances today. You can sign up for my free newsletter for more insights. I’m still living vicariously through many of you. I just have a lot going on with two young kids to raise.
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”