My plan for escaping the clutches of the rat-race is really only part (albeit, a large part) of an overall self-improvement program that I’ve set up for myself.
My goals are as follows:
Get out of debt.
Lead a healthier lifestyle.
Lose the hyper-consumption attitude.
Practice the less-is-more philosophy.
Become financially self-sufficient.
Quit my job.
Give back to the community.
If you were to ask me what it is that I want out of life, I couldn’t tell you at the present time. I do know, however, that I was not meant to live this way. My gut feeling is very strong in that regard.
The above list is roughly the order I intend to roll out this plan. I’m not sure of every little detail at the moment, therefore I cannot tell you exactly what I will do step-by-step. I wish I could be more tangible here, but this will be a “work in progress” and I’m sure that the plan will be tweaked several times. It will become clearer as time passes. I will be posting a daily account of anything relevant.
I have written a separate page outlining my thoughts and plans concerning debt. This is my number one priority and it is something that must be dealt with very soon.
I have also included a separate page in which I discuss following a healthier lifestyle. This centers on diet and exercise mainly.
Starting immediately, I will try to get by with less. I intend to sell most of the high-priced “junk” which I have accumulated over the years.
I intend to scale back my living expenses in a major way. This will enable me to bank much of what I make from my job. The money will be invested in relatively safe vehicles; T-bills and that sort of thing.
I intend to explore alternate sources of income. Realistically, I could not expect to live off of my savings and a few small investments, indefinitely. Starting a business of my own is one possibility which I have considered.
When I am satisfied that I have a sufficient amount of money saved, I will quit my job.
I will spend much of my post wage-slave hours volunteering my time and simply enjoying life.
Why do I need to do things in a certain order?
Well, let me use the following analogy:
When I was a teenager, I worked one summer for a tree arborist. The first job that our crew was assigned to was the removal of a very old, diseased oak tree on a busy street in the down-town area. There was very little room to work. We barely had room to park the trucks. The tree was massive.
I could not see any way we could bring this oak down; at least not without causing major damage to the surrounding houses.
I was not directly involved with the tree cutting. My job was to carry the branches over to the chipper. I did have a great vantage point from where to see the more experienced workers in action. I was amazed at how the problem was approached.
You see, the tree was not cut down per say, in fact, it was “disassembled” very slowly starting with the smallest branches and working towards the larger. This pain-staking process continued for most of the day. Finally, there was nothing left but the main trunk. This was then cut down in small sections, starting at the top. It took a while, but the job was completed without any problems whatsoever.
Quitting my job before having things in place would be like simply chopping down the big oak. There would be a lot of damage and would involve much more hardship than necessary.
Eliminating my debt, liquidating my assets, decreasing my expenses, and building up my bank account are things that I need to have in place before I finally tell the corporate world to stick it.
Yes, most days I feel like quitting my miserable job, but I’m also not reckless. I don’t want to end up homeless and broke.
What’s my long-term plan? I mean, not many people retire at 44. Well, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t really know myself. I do know, however, that I can’t spend one more hour than is necessary doing what I am doing now. I still have 20 years left until I can officially retire. This corporation is not getting it. I refuse to let that happen.
Will I work for another company? Highly unlikely. Once I exit the rat race, I believe there will be no going back.
Am I having a mid-life crisis? Probably. But that can be a good thing.
Am I being immature and irresponsible? Maybe, but I tend to look at it as self-actualization. We are so conditioned by what society deems to be appropriate, that I believe we lose site of what makes us happy.
I look at it this way: nothing will change in the next 20 years unless I decide to make a change. In 20 years I’ll still be working as a wage-slave. I’ll still be owned by the corporation and the bank. I’ll be living the same over-indulgent lifestyle and likely in much poorer health; that’s if I live that long. At 64 my options will be very limited or non-existent. This way, I have the rest of my life to make choices and enjoy my freedom. Yeah, it’s risky and I could lose everything, but that’s a gamble I’m willing to take. I love the idea of not knowing what is around the next corner.
By the way, if you are genuinely happy in what you do and don’t mind the 9-5 lifestyle, then by all means, enjoy. It really comes down to a personal choice and I can only speak for myself in this regard.