Back to Humble Beginnings…

I just completed my first week of officially being unemployed and out of a job… It felt great. It’s not that I’ve never experienced freedom  pseudo-freedom before: summer break, transition between jobs, short-term leave, etc., but this was something different. For the very first time in my life (that I can really remember), I’ve ended a chapter of my life with nothing looming ahead.

Back in the day, it was always: school, summer break, back to school…

As an adult, it was more along the lines of: work, work, work, new job, 1 week break at the most, work, work, work…

But times are changing now… I’ve really got nothing down the pipe, and I’m basically just able to live out my days without any real regard for tomorrow… Most of the time, I’m just playing things by ear… That’s such a liberating feeling.

Almost to a fault, by nature, I’m just a really future-oriented person. For the last 10+ years, essentially every move that I’ve made was already previously calculated before in my head.

The new job, pay raise, signing bonus, etc. were always a part of some ‘Master Plan’.

Even this early FI journey, for the last 4 years, was all a means to an ‘end’.

 

A wonderful ‘end’ that we’ve now finally reached…

 

But the journey doesn’t stop here…

 

No, far from it. For me, it’s simply a chance to get back to humble beginnings

 

You see, I’ve never needed a fat paycheck, fancy job title, or outrageous signing bonus to validate my self worth.

I know who I am.

I know where I came from.

And that won’t ever change.

 

I grew up poor. I didn’t have all the fancy toys that the other kids had. I never went to science camp. We couldn’t afford music lessons. As kids, our idea of a good time was picking fruit from the trees and playing tackle football. Sure, bumps and bruises hurt, but they came free. 🙂

I have no clue how I would ever parent my own kids, but I am damn grateful for the way I was brought up. I just embraced life, explored around a lot, and never really expected much more than the basic necessities of life: fresh air, a roof over my head, decent food and water, a hot shower, a warm bed…

Man, I dunno what else really…

Freedom, most importantly… I could never get enough of summer breaks.

So, you get accustomed to that from a very young age. Not needing much. Then, I worked as a bagger in high school for 4 years, which was really my initiation into the school of hard knocks. That was some kind of hell. Menial pay, lots of verbal abuse, tough labor… That job really, really, really sucked!

Once you’ve experienced stuff like that for a long enough period of time, I just can’t see how someone can ever forget those life experiences. For me, they were ingrained permanently, so by the time I graduated college, I already knew that I would never ask for much in this world.

Working a white collar job was a revelation for me… It took awhile to get used to it. I remember getting my first engineering paycheck when I was an intern earning something like $65,000/year. I was literally like, “Holy Sh!t… What the hell am I supposed to do with all this?

I always took things in stride… Over the years, I earned more money, got promoted, job hopped, and the money kept pouring in.

But I accepted the fact that the whole engineering bit would only be temporary… And I never let money or success get to my head.

 

I never changed.

I’m the same ‘lame’ person that I was when I was 15…

Somehow, I always knew that I would end up back where I started from too…

And now, here we are…

 

This past week, I spent some time writing articles for an external website, and earned about $50/article… You wouldn’t believe how stoked I was to publish the content either… I was literally like, “Woohoo!!! $50! I can afford to eat this week!” 🙂

The little things excite me… Experimenting, trying out new ideas, doing stuff that I ain’t ever done before…

$50… That’s what I used to make for an honest day’s work bagging groceries for 8 long, grueling hours.

Somehow, making that type of change gives me more satisfaction than anything more I could have ever done in engineering… This last ‘hustle’ felt especially good because I accomplished it on my own terms. I put out the content that I wanted to… No one forced me to write it. No one demanded I do this, or that, or what have you… It was a piece of work of my own creation.

Again, a sense of liberation…

 

You know, the coolest thing happened to me earlier this week. I had lunch with my best friend, and he told me point blank, “I’m just not worried about you at all. With almost anyone else, I would tell them that they were crazy to attempt what you’re trying to do… But I know you’ll be alright… Since I’ve known you, you’ve never changed. You’re the same guy from all the way back in high school… I don’t know how you do it.

 

Coming from him, that made my day…

 

I told you, I’m a simple guy.

 

And it feels so GREAT to finally be able to get back to my roots. 🙂

 

Fight On!

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theFIREstarterFinancial Nirvana MamaFI FighterElle @ New Graduate FinanceMidwestern Landlord Recent comment authors
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Income Surfer
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It’s incredibly exciting to make money, even modest money, doing something you’re passionate about. I also took the plunge and quit…..without knowing what was ahead. That was the hardest part for me, because I am a planner. You’ll do great, and we’ll be here to encourage you all along your journey! Have a great weekend
-Bryan

Dividend Hustler
Guest

You’ll be fine FIF. You’ve gotten this far and you’ve done what most can’t. All good now, what’s the worst that can happen? Do your thing bud, I’m with you all the way. Cheers and have fun.

Midwestern Landlord
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Midwestern Landlord

I am impressed with the ambition and frugality that you have shown. Bagging groceries in high school to making $200K / Year at Apple and then becoming early FI is pretty cool.

Have you always been highly ambitious? Even in your first week away it looks like you have been fairly busy even doing some side work. Did you bag groceries in high school because it was an absolute necessity or you were just looking for ways to make money at that time? Did growing up in humble beginnings play a a major role in your mindset or do you think it was hardwired all along?

This comment is a bit philosophical, but I have always been curious as to what makes one individual ambitious, frugal, etc versus someone that is not. And what role environment / experience plays versus just being hard wired that way.

Elle @ New Graduate Finance
Guest

I am amazed by how deep your sense of identity is.

Think about all the people that spend their lives trying to “find themselves” through travel, books, and a few other things that I won’t list for the fear of offending a lot of people right now…

I am impressed that you have known who you are from such a young age, and that you have stuck with this identity the whole time.

I know I’ve had my fair share of identity crises.

Please keep posting – your posts never cease to amaze me.

Financial Nirvana Mama
Guest

I am so happy that are enjoying your first week off, welcome to the world on your own terms. I recall this experience two years ago, and it was an amazing feeling..:)

I look forward to reading your future posts about your adventures.

theFIREstarter
Guest

Another thoughtful post. Nice 🙂
I relate to not wanting or needing much as a child and yet always wanting to be free.
It’s something I think many adults just totally forget about but something that I definitely haven’t and likely won’t. It’s like something burning deep within me!

Glad you’re enjoying your new found freedom.

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