Have you met your inner porpoise?
Cetacean jokes aside, purpose is important. If you’re reading this blog, chances are good your life is already filled with purpose. For the vast majority of us, going to work and paying for our lifestyles is our purpose.
What? You don’t agree?
Think about it. Work sucks up all those spare hours in your life when you’re not eating, sleeping, using the toilet, paying taxes, or reading cool blogs on the internet. You might believe life has some higher purpose, but the vast majority of your LIFE ENERGY is spent paying for your lifestyle.
Purpose isn’t what you believe in. Purpose is what you DO.
OK, I’ll grant you that most large corporations now have “mission statements” used to convince the worker-drones they have a purpose besides enriching executives and shareholders.
Sorry guys, I’m not buying that mission statement bullshit. The only real purpose in life (most) people have is heading to work Monday through Friday to pay for that house, the car, the occasional vacation to a sun drenched beach, and of course we can’t forget Christmas gifts.
But what if life didn’t have to be that way? What if you could lead a completely “normal” life, yet fill your time anyway you damn-well choose?
Finding Something Else
A relatively small batch of us humans had this dream, and actually did something about it. Instead of directing our efforts toward greater consumption, we directed our efforts toward investing and wealth accumulation. Those efforts paid off, and FIRE (Financial Independence and Early Retirement) is a reality.
That’s pretty much my life today. I don’t need a job, and I can buy pretty much anything I could possibly want. (Within reason of course) It’s a pretty great feeling that I have half my life ahead of me, and I can now live it on my own terms. But what’s my purpose? What keeps me going?
As we’ve discussed in more morbid posts, people with a purpose live longer. They lead fuller and happier lives too…hence the phrase “Don’t retire from something, retire to something”.
When I first decided to “be done” with work over a year ago, I didn’t even think about purpose. I was just ready to be finished with corporate life.
While I was working, life was too busy to think about such things — I had kids to take care of, bills to pay, and work projects to complete. Weekends would sometimes be consumed by work as well. Purpose wasn’t a proposition that came to mind frequently.
Now, 1 year into my Financial independence, the clouds are finally starting to clear…
So what purpose does an Octopus Without A Job have?
Traveling & Moving
It’s no secret that I live up in the Pacific Northwest, near the Seattle area. It’s cold and rainy nearly 9 months out of the year. Yes, it’s really like that, and it sucks. The other 3 months of the year are wonderful, but very very short.
The only reason why we live here is because we both had jobs here. Why would we bother staying if we didn’t have jobs in this area? I can’t think of any good reasons.
So, Mrs. Tako and I are going to do more traveling in the next couple years, and start scouting out a better home.
Eventually we will find that “better place” in our travels, and move there. Somewhere we can lead healthier lives not stuck indoors 9 months out of the year. Somewhere the property taxes, sales taxes, and car-tab taxes don’t rise at ridiculous rates to handle continuous and unrelenting population growth. I like what it does to my property value, but the cost of living here is growing crazy-fast. It’s not San Francisco yet, but not far off either.
I think moving would be a solid improvement to our Post-Work lives.
After leaving work, I noticed some of my old interests began to surface once again. Long forgotten and smothered by work, I re-discovered that really like to build things.
It’s not something I expect to make money doing, I just enjoy it for the love of making things. After attempting a more involved project, I think the results were decent.
Building is a good activity for kids too — They can learn the basics of engineering, robotics, programming, and all sorts of other great STEM fields.
Already the boys and I head out to the garage on a regular basis to “build stuff”, and I hope this continues as they get older. I’d love to start building projects like this robot kit (robots are fun for Dads too), or a DIY quadcopter … but I’ll have to wait a few years for that.
Leaving A Legacy For My Kids
One of my biggest “purposes” in life right now is my kids. Keeping them healthy, teaching them, and providing them the care that they need. I give them a huge amount of my time right now…and it’s mostly pretty great. Some days are worse than others (to be honest). But eventually they’ll grow up and won’t need ‘good old Dad’ anymore. They’ll want to be independent, and doing their own things. But I have bigger plans.
I’d like to give my kids the gift of financial independence at an early age, but NOT by giving them money. Instead, I’ll share with them my financial know-how, and a decent blueprint for financial independence. I think that’s far more valuable than handing them a big check when they graduate college.
The only problem with this plan is they’re way too young to understand money right now (ages one and three, if you’re curious). By the time they’re ready and willing to understand personal finance, I’ll either be dead or an old doddering fool.
Now is the time for me to be writing it all down.
That’s 85% of what blog is all about. Most of the time when I write a post, it’s written directly to my boys about something I want them to learn. I need to write down this legacy for them while my mind is sharp and the thoughts are still fresh.
Yes, eventually they’ll probably inherit some money from ‘good old Dad’… When that time comes, I hope they know what to do with it.
While I’m not big on giving money to charity, I strongly believe in helping people. Helping people with my time, not necessarily my money.
I’m not a big fan of monetary hand-outs, I think they incentivize the wrong things. Instead I prefer the “teach a man to fish” option rather than just giving him the fish. In my mind, it’s a more personal way of giving too.
Examples of this in-practice might mean: Helping a friend finish their home remodel. Donating time to a local cause. Lending my tools to friends and neighbors. Or even giving people who ask financial advice on how to improve their lives.
There’s a lot of ways to help people, and it doesn’t have to be people on other continents. Simply put, I’d like to help the people and communities closest to me.
I realize many people think about this differently, but I won’t judge.
We help in our own way. For me personally, I’m going to realize far more personal satisfaction than I would by sending an annual check to charity.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting on your road to financial independence, or practically at the finish line — Having a purpose is important. If you spend your days sitting around eating bonbons and watching TV, you won’t last long!
Finding a purpose outside of work can be a challenge. Most of us never think about it. Almost from birth we’re conscripted into the system — Go to school, get good grades. Graduate. Go to college. Graduate. Find a job. Buy a home. Buy a car. Work for 40 years. Consume. Retire. Die.
For decades we’re practically told what to do by our families, our peers, and “the system”. Nowhere in the standard script is there a line-item for purpose outside of work and consumption. Guess what — The standard script doesn’t have the answer! You’re going to have to find purpose for yourself!
For some, they might just stay at work.
What will you do when you reach Financial Independence?