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Enjoy the Free Things in Life

I woke up extra early one Saturday because I heard noise outside. It was the neighbor loading up his boat for a day on the lake and some fishing. He was retired and yet still did these crazy things like loading up his boat at 4:30 in the morning on Saturdays. It was going to be one of those blistering humid days we have here in the South and seemed smart to be spending it on water. Maybe that sense of foresight is what made it possible for him to retire so early too so he could spend his time waking up his working neighbors on Saturday pre-dawn hours.

I couldn’t go back to sleep after that. Getting up to make coffee, I settled down to take care of the bills while the family still slept. I was at that point in my life where I was ready for the good times like that. The easier times where I didn’t have to worry and stress over some job that I couldn’t count on month to month. Another asshole boss who didn’t have my interests on their radar. I wanted to be able to live comfortably and spend my time doing things I cared about without so much of the other stuff. I admit I was greatly burned out from my career but that wasn’t a new sentiment. It was long overdue for a change but like most people I struggled with the career change shifts to determine what and how to make that happen so in the meantime I hushed and did my job.

Retirement for me is still a good distance off. In truth I don’t mind working and by that I mean doing something that earns an income. However, I knew my interest in corporate work with big salaries, fancy titles and more political drama than a number one rated tv series was not where my heart was anymore. I think so often we confuse living the good life with a big salary. It certainly can help don’t get me wrong but we get stuck in this thinking that the only way to achieve that is through corporate work. The easy button is to get a job and the hard part of that is not letting the job kill our soul in the process of making that money.

I thought of the path to retirement and firmly knew the money tips that never go out of style. Enjoy the free things in life I heard myself chiding in my own ear. Great advice I tell my son all the time too. Make the most of what you have and invest in quality. Stretch your dollars as much as you can. More of my motherly wisdom I hope he applies to save himself these deep thought conversations with yourself in pre-dawn weekend mornings. Perhaps he will have a better answer than what I have come up with so far on how to do work that interests and inspires you while living well.

As I sat with the monthly bills and budget, cooling coffee and these thoughts, I thought about my neighbor out on the water. By now the sun was coming up just barely and he would probably just have wrangled that big fishing boat of his off the ramp and into the cool water. Where was I putting my boat per se these days? That was easy to answer. I was stuck in another job that wasn’t going anywhere and left me frustrated, stressed and worried about security regularly. I had a boss that couldn’t remember what she had told you to do one day to the next and then questioned why you did something she asked for. It was rather normal all things considering but not the least of which was fulfilling. The bills were paid though and that was something. I guess.

It felt like settling and playing the waiting game. It felt like letting time slip away while I paid a penance for something I didn’t even know I had done. I wasn’t even able to enjoy the free things in life because of the burden it sometimes felt to carry surviving. Corporate work will do that to you. It gives you so much hope that things will be alright and you can be successful only to find you spend most of your time worry and stressed from it. Little wonder why so