I had some problems with Quicken in November, and because of this my accounting for the month wasn’t accurate. I could have spent several hours getting it all organized, but I’ve decided not to do that. Six months ago I would have put in the time to reconcile my expenses, but things have changed. Where as 6 months ago I was completely focused on getting my expenses down to achieve financial independence, I feel that I’ve transcended that to some extent. Sure, tracking my expenses is important, but it’s no longer the most important thing. Let me explain…
The more I continue my journey towards financial independence and an extreme early retirement, I’m coming closer and closer to the conclusion that the strict rigidity of the world is just an illusion. It’s been exhaustively asserted that life doesn’t have to be “go to school, go to college, get a job, retire, die” and while this is part of the illusion I’m referring, it’s not the only one. There are illusions all around us that act as guidelines to life, but the truth is that these guidelines are really just restricting what should be an endless supply of possibilities. These illusions get wrapped up and presented as culture, morality, laws and common sense.
- Culture – A car for every household driver, a TV in every room, the belief that technology and progress is inherently good
- Morality – Hard work is a virtue
- Laws – The right to assembly (as long as it’s during daylight hours, no sidewalks are blocked, pot is illegal but tobacco and alcohol are ok
- Common Sense – Bigger is better, 10 hours a day in a cubicle under fluorescent lights is a perfectly reasonable way to live your life, millions of dollars are required to retire
But once you realize that these guidelines to life are just one way to do things, it’s incredibly empowering. I’m not just talking about non-comformity, either. Non-conformity is fine, but it’s often rooted in rebellion rather than a deeper awareness that these rules aren’t rules, they are just one way to do things.. Some of these “rules” are rooted in old habits, others by a herd mentality, and still others by corporate pursuits. But none of this matters once you realize you can be freed from all of this, and once you do then everything changes.
For me, financial independence was a way to break out of the biggest illusion, the need for a regular job to have financial security. For some more free-spirited types, they can chase a dream while living broke (starving artist), but I’m wired differently and that would drive me into a nervous breakdown. Now that I have financial independence, the chain is broken. And with the chain broken, it’s become easier for me to see the truth about all the other “rules” of life. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
When the doors of perception are cleansed, things will be seen as they truly are. Infinite.
Ironically, I didn’t fully grasp this statement until my doors of perception were, in fact, cleansed.
Think about this the next time you think you need to wear a tie to an event, you upgrade your cell phone even though your current one still works, you pay your cable bill, you schedule the default 30 minute meeting in Outlook when only 15 minutes is required, or you drink bottled water. Ask yourself why you are doing it.. Is it driven by culture, morality, laws, convenience, or common sense? Is it consistent with how you want to live?
(Side note: I will plan on returning to my monthly update next month. I’d prefer to stop, but I have been getting a lot of emails the past few days asking whether I’m going to continue to provide them because they find it inspiring. This means a lot to me, more than any benefit the financial report provides for me. I like this.)