My sister confided in me how difficult her life is to keep financially afloat. A kid in daycare. Car payments. A mortgage. Flat income growth. This was a woman who was living the life not less than 5 years ago, living rent-free at home, making almost six-figures and saving close to 95% of her take home pay. Now? Not so much.
Salary is just one factor. Not the be-all and end-all.
I had a relative a few years ago who was the pride of many in the family. Why? She was absolutely killing it on paper. A business degree from one of the top schools in Canada. A job at a reputable employer with a six-figure salary. A beautiful bachelor apartment in downtown Toronto all to her self. She had it all by age 30 – except her happiness.
I watched a flawed, but nonetheless captivating movie last night called The Company Men. It had Ben Affleck (meh), Kevin Coster (meh), Tommy Lee Jones (yay) and Chris Cooper (yay) star as men navigating the crippling recession of 2008, experiencing everything from job loss to family pressures to renewed optimism, Hollywood style.
10 years ago, I entered theatre school, all doe-eyed. I was planning to be Gregory Peck. I was the drama class rock star in high school, so success was guaranteed, right?
Wrong. While I certainly had some talent, I realized that being a professional thespian wasn’t quite for me. Instead, I shifted my academic focus from onstage to backstage, finishing my four year degree as the top production student in my graduating year. Again, I was a “rock star”. Professors and peers alike would reinforce an unhealthy cocky attitude: “You’ll be fine!”, “You’re going to do great things in theatre!” I believed them.
I naturally once again thought success was guaranteed. But the world doesn’t work that way.
2013. Life was good. I was two years out of my Bachelor’s degree in theatre, employed in a university job and saving money. The savings were pouring in because I was living at home. I had passed the GMAT and had gotten accepted to my school of choice for my MBA. Things were trending up.
The biggest gap in my life? My inability to move around freely. Furthermore, now it was MBA time, so I was going to need to move every 4 months to accommodate my co-op terms. The pieces were falling into place for my first big purchase: it really felt like car time.
You’ve done it. You’ve f*cking done it. You’re FIRE’d. You don’t need to go back to work. You don’t need to slave away on strict schedules and timelines. You can instead spend time with those that matter most to you: your friends and your family.
July. November. December. Three dates marked on many a shoppers’ calendar. And why not? There is honestly so much bold and CAPS happening. On mailed flyers. In emails. On websites. In storefronts. It’s like retailers collectively decide to work together to tell you: “GO SHOPPING. PLEASE.”