I saw a FIRE blogger mocking the idea of following one’s passion. Instead, the standard FIRE plan is to find a lucrative job, save money, and then retire early to THEN focus on one’s passion. And granted, I’m a lawyer, and I’m on a mini-retirement so it would seem like I would agree with that path.
But I don’t. Here are several reasons why I think you should pursue your passion.
On February 4, 2019, I quit my job. February 19 was my last day at work, and February 20 was my first day of freedom. On this one year anniversary, I’d like to look back at what happened the year that I retired at 35.
I read another blogger’s early retirement post and he could quantify a great deal of accomplishments. And I guess I can rattle off things I’ve done, but that seems like running a different kind of rat race.
I kept busy on my time off. I’ve traveled a bit – to L.A., New York, San Francisco, Redmond, Capetown, Johannesburg (South Africa), Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra (Portugal). This is what I would say if people asked me what I had done with the year. Travel seems to be the only “real” accomplishment worth noting when you’re retired. And to be fair, South Africa was eye-opening, especially after listening to Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. But to me, the really interesting changes were when I was home.
What I’m focusing on in this post is not necessarily my choices during the year, but the repercussions. I often would made one choice that led to another choice and all those choices led to a different trajectory. It’s like when I started this blog, then I started Twitter to promote it, then I met friends, and two of those friends were the duo that started Chain of Wealth, who will figure significantly in some of these adventures. You just never know where things are going to take you. And the oddest part of any journey may be where you end up.
I read 113 books this year. Considering I didn’t have a full-time job for 10 months, it’s probably not as high as it could have been (but there are 42 books that I started and did not finish, for lack of interest). I love Best Of book lists, and I love new book recommendations, so this is mine.
At 11am on a nondescript Monday in February, I noticed that nothing unpleasant had happened yet. That was unusual. And noting that peculiarity seemed like reason enough to quit my six-figure attorney job.
I told people it was a spontaneous decision. I hadn’t picked a particular day, but I knew that day I couldn’t do it anymore. Rereading my journal, however, I came across this entry:
I just can’t continue on at my job. It’s never-ending [work]. I’m constantly stressed and crying and there’s no relief in sight.
I wrote this in March of 2017, almost two years before I gave notice.
They say it takes decades to become an overnight success, so maybe it’s also true for overnight failure. I remember for so long actually liking my job that I failed to look around and notice, hey I don’t like this anymore.