What does success mean to you?
It’s taken a long time to come up with a satisfying answer, but to me, success means being able to control my time. It means being able to do the things I want to do and avoiding the things I don’t want to do.
Right now, I’m only working part time and earning about $2000 a month. And yet, I’ve never felt happier and more fulfilled in my entire life. I’m blogging and not earning anything, but I still enjoy what I do. I finally have the time to work on myself, particularly on my physical and mental health. I feel less stressed and happy to be alive. I’m looking at what I have and appreciating it more and just finding the positives out of every situation.
Back when I was working 6 days a week and making almost double (sometimes triple) that amount, I was constantly stressed and unhappy. I know it’s not that much money, but the paycheck I was getting really did not justify the amount of time I was spending working or thinking about work.
Yes, I was making a lot of money but I was very stressed and unhealthy. I liked seeing that hefty paycheck in the bank book at the end of the month. But, after the first few days of getting my money, I would be down again as I realize I have to get back into the grind. I wasn’t completely miserable because I still liked teaching, but sometimes I would look at the money in my bank account and wish that it hadn’t taken so much of my energy.
This year, I’ve reduced my hours but my husband is still working full time. His income is enough to pay for our monthly living expenses. Right now, my paycheck is funding our retirement. I only work three days a week. The other four days I spend planning and doing things that will create multiple streams of income. I’m not making any money yet, but I love it. I love the freedom.
However, I am not taking anything for granted. If something happens to my husband, I am prepared to take up the reins and make sure we have a home, food to eat, and insurance to cover the risks of living in this world. Or, even if he says he wants to quit his job and wants to take it easy, I’m more than willing to support him with whatever he wants to do. After all, nothing has changed. The goal is still financial freedom–we might have to take a couple of detours along the way.
Sometimes, I look at others who have a lot more money, those who wear the expensive watches and the expensive clothes, driving flashy cars and I wonder if they’re happy. Yes, they’ve got all that cool stuff, but how much time did they spend working to acquire that stuff? Are they stuck doing overtime or working weekends just so they can go shopping on a rare day off? How much of their time was spent with coworkers or bosses they hate, doing the things that make them miserable?
Like I said, even though I am earning just $2000 a month, I feel successful. It is the time I spend not working that makes me feel like I have achieved a lot.