Monday, January 30, 2012

Now it's Personal!

See, gobbledygook IS a word!
Can you believe that January is over and my mind still wants to write 2011 instead of 2012? Does this mean I’m afraid of the future? No. No it does not. So far this year has been going relatively well, and when I say relatively well, I mean ok, and when I say ok, I mean, it could be better. Yesterday I was having a conversation with my friend Andy about my budget and my future (I’m really amazed that Andy hasn’t asked me to shut up about the budget already – gold star for Andy) and I got to thinking about where am I planning to be at the end of all of this debt repayment gobbledygook. Sure, it’s wonderful that I will have no debt and I will have more freedom to come and go as I please, but what is the point to getting this debt paid off. I really have no desire to buy a house or a condo, I don’t want a car, and there aren’t any other major life-changing purchases that I have in mind. I don’t see myself as someone who fits the same norm as most people. Even friends that I would never expect to mutter the words “I’m moving to the suburbs” are actually planning on moving to the suburbs.

So many questions!
So the big question is, is there something wrong with being happy living in an apartment downtown with cheap rent and just stockpiling a wad of cash toward my retirement? Do I really need to buy into this idea of a house and family and 2.5 kids? How do you even go about raising half a child? The point is that I have started to hit a crossroads where I want to do something that really matters to me other than paying down this budget and trying to fit into some kind of mold that is expected of me. Yes, I have a great job and I am doing well, but is this really what I want to be getting myself into until I’m 65 67? Is there something more that I should be planning to save toward?

I realize that I am finishing off my 20’s and now I’m getting to the point where I am expected to “grow up” and get ready for the future, but I still have another 30+ years of work to do and I want to be able to look back on my life and say that I was really proud of all the things I have accomplished. My creative bone is itching to be used and my heart is yearning to help people who actually need it. I think the biggest challenge that I face is that I have a great salary and a stable(ish) job and I don’t want to do something stupid to mess this up for me, but at the same time, I crave risks, I love adventures, and I hate regrets.

So what am I going to do about this? Well I guess this is where I get back into the talk about setting goals. I want to set myself up so that if I choose, I can take a large chunk of my time to either go back to school, or search for another job, move to another city, open my own business, and really take control over my life. Big things always happen to me in February so I guess I’m just getting a little antsy over the idea of going through this month.

Actually, I guess this is a good time to bring up some exciting news! Starting near the end of the February, I am beginning a yoga teacher training course as part of the “Off the Mat and Into the World” program. The classes are only going to be once a week followed by charity classes every weekend as a way for me to “give back” to the community. If this program really has an impact on me, there are so many places that I can go to work with underprivileged people around the globe and I think that it could have a profound impact on my life. As an added bonus, this training could be the start of a series of courses I could take to make me into a certified yoga instructor and I could make some extra money on the side to help me get this debt paid down faster.

Anyway, I realize that this post is pretty personal and it isn't giving you, the reader, much to use toward your own personal debt repayment planning, but I always like to highlight the importance of looking at the big picture and starting to imagine where you plan to be in the next few years, decades or even in your retirement. With the right dream and the proper plan, your potential can truly be limitless so don’t lose sight of what really matters to you. Only you know what works you so don’t always worry about doing what everyone expects you to do and live your life free of regrets. 

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