For an immigrant like me who came from a third world country, it’s hard to believe the fact that most Canadians(including middle class earners and up) struggle paycheck to paycheck. You read it right, despite the abundance here, or should I say because of that abundance people tend to increase their consumption which leads to deep debt. Surprisingly, it doesn’t only trap those who buy a $400 handbag every month but even those who just wanted to provide ‘good’ life for their family. Getting a big mortgage and vehicle without taking a careful look at the numbers, to cite a few but major mistakes. I could go on and on with this, but let’s save it for another topic. What’s even unthinkable is that this trend can easily drag anybody especially a settler who tries to fit in.
This is where ‘social slavery’ begins. When people kept buying things they don’t need to impress people they do and don’t like. They tend work their butts off for decades and decades to enjoy the life they wanted when they don’t have the energy anymore. It’s even worse for parents as they past that trait to their kids, trying to earn as much so they can provide them junks(I don’t see how a $100 barbie house can help a kid be a better person) while neglecting the most valuable gift they can provide, time! As this path just seem so unattractive to me, I tried my best to go the other direction, I choose freedom!
When I resigned from my last job, I used to say “I’ll be semi-retiring and pursuing my passion” if anybody at work ask why I was leaving. It’s sad to hear some of them say “I wish I could do that too”, while most of them laugh thinking it was a joke. Almost everybody thinks I’m nuts for wasting such good paying job, especially for a 30 y/o relatively new immigrant. None of these intellectual hard working professionals, who have been in that same old chair for decades, thought that was doable. That moment I realized I just bought my freedom.
Now you might ask ‘how’ is it possible to buy that kind of freedom I wanted. To explain that it will be best to start defining what I consider freedom.
Freedom for me is simply having a ‘life reset button’ I can fearlessly press anytime I want a career shift or do something I really really love. This is to accommodate my ever changing mind in search for my life purpose. I always know I have the tendency to try different things and just eliminate those that doesn’t make me happy. And since this style could easily make a person broke (and potentially create unattractive dents on resume), I have to mitigate it by having enough savings to spend for 5 years of ‘soul’ searching, and gaining valuable alternative skills. Aside from the self serving benefits, this ‘reset’ also helped me become a more productive member of the society in the long run.
My journey begun by dreaming of the lifestyle I want, which is the most important part. I had a clear picture of that dream and possible ways to get it. Not just of the end goal, but each step on how to achieve it was vivid enough in my cerebrum. However, things only started to happen when I decided to work on that dream.
So after the fun 3 years of mindful financial habit and resistance to the tide, I saw the glaring sign “freedom for sale”. So with my 50 grand in the bank and without hesitation I bought it. Not literary though, because I haven’t lost that amount yet. And in all seriousness, I wouldn’t be brave enough to resign from my last employment without that cushion (I’m crazy but not that crazy yet). I bought my freedom for the risk of losing that hard earned Canadian money (in case 5 years of ‘freedom’ doesn’t provide me that income). Ironically, after that I had a chance of earning more by having time, energy and motivation to work on things I’m more passionate about instead of working for the money.
That is my how and why in a nutshell. I can’t say the whole process was be easy but sure it was fun for me who like this kind of challenge and it’s reward. Though you may find the detailed ‘how’ with very specific strategies, hacks and tools I’ve used in my journey in this around this little blog, I won’t advice you to do all of them… or any of them. You have your own dream and I believe you’ll find out your own best ‘how’ too.