We had quite a busy weekend last week. On Friday, we had dinner with friends for my birthday and on Saturday we had our soccer team party finishing with… nothing but a great game for the Montreal Impact who won 3-0 under heavy rain. To finish this weekend, we spent our Sunday as a family, hiking a small mountain with our kids. We decided to end this weekend with a good bottle of wine and delicious salmon in front of the TV. After all, the screen hadn’t been on at all the whole weekend!
We stumbled upon a new TV show about a young girl who’s been backpacking for the past 2 years. She was a successful Real Estate Agent who sold everything three years ago and headed out to discover the world. While explaining her decision, she said something that has resonated with me:
I have other things to do than live to pay for my mortgage.
Some people may say it’s easy for someone who doesn’t have a spouse or children to sell everything and travel the world. After all that person didn’t have any responsibilities or attachment in the first place. Getting rid of her mortgage was the only real tie to the world of consumerism.
Because this is what we are really talking about here; about how we are all tied to working to buy stuff and to keep working to take care of this stuff… I’m not judging as I’m no different, I plead guilty for walking the line of consumerism.
For many years, I thought living was about working hard, earning promotions and making more money. Of course, I did plenty of activities, made many friends and even had time to get married and have three marvelous children. I’m not one of those folks who are never home because they have to work. Since 2009, I actually work only 4 days a week. Still… I was driving in the Rat Race and the years were passing by and there wasn’t much new to talk about.
Each year was the same thing; work the whole year, spend money on weekends to feel good about working so hard and taking on so much pressure most of the time. I realize there wasn’t much new when looked at my life between 2009 and 2015:
2009: I finished my MBA and decided to work 4 days a week, my wife quit her job to take care of the kids.
2010: We sold our house and we moved into a bigger one, I bought a sports car.
2011: We installed central AC in our house and bought a pool.
2012: We had our third child, Caleb. I got a job 5 minutes away from home.
2013: My wife started a daycare at home to increase our household income.
2014: We went to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary, besides that nothing to report.
2015: We are selling everything and will leave home to live in our RV in 2016.
As you can see, besides having Caleb, nothing really exciting happened in my life over the past 6 years. The worst is that if I hadn’t taken on the project of leaving, I would have nothing to say about 2015… and the years after. In the end, it’s mostly about working to pay for what we buy and enjoy vacations and weekends as much as we can.
There Must Be Something Else About Life Than Working
My house is almost sold (waiting for final conditions to close any day now) and I have started having this amazing feeling of not having to work tomorrow morning. I will still wake up and work, but I don’t have to since I don’t have to pay for a mortgage anymore. It’s not specifically about the mortgage, but more about the overall feeling of not having financial obligations that push you to work each day.
I’ve never planned on stopping work to sit on my couch all day. I have too many passions to do that. However, I dream about a life where I can work when I want to and where I can decide to climb a mountain or do community service whenever I feel like it. That I can leave where I am today, to explore something else and come back whenever I want. I think there is more about life than simply waking up in the morning to go to work to pay the bills… and I don’t feel like waiting until I retire to do something else. Hence the idea of retiring at the age of 35 to enjoy life to the fullest.
My project of leaving is not for everyone. In fact, it’s far from being the ultimate solution for happiness. This is the way I choose to reach full happiness, and I know there are plenty of other ways that will lead you to the same objective; living an inspiring and exciting life. I simply realize I have something else to do with my life than paying my mortgage, do you?