Time is flying be really fast these days. Our little bun in the oven we had last August is now over 8 months old and growing like a weed every day. As I watch him each day I gaze in wonder and amazement as this tiny human learns to do everything there is to do in life, for the first time. Can you imagine how daunting that would be for an adult? Having to learn to move, eat, and communicate for the first time as a 30-year-old. Sounds like the next M. Night Shyamalan movie to me. Little baby Ethan, on the other hand, has the benefit of a sponge brain, ready to absorb anything and everything it encounters. Nevertheless, Mommy and I still worry about him as he becomes more mobile. These past few weeks have seen him practicing his heart out at this crawling thing. He’s making really good progress, getting onto his hands and knees, but he is still stuck there. He can’t seem to figure out how to put one hand in front of the other and go forwards, or backwards for that matter. I want so much to help him do it, but I know he needs to figure it out on his own, and he will be better for it. Watching him progress so fast, combined with some career struggles that Mommy is experiencing got me thinking about the future. Where do I want this family to be in 5, 10, 15 years? How should I lead it there? And then out of nowhere, one night, my dear, sweet wife summed all of these questions up into one and asked me, “Sweetie, what is your goal?” With that one question, I had to come up with an answer and I responded with the first thing that came into my head, which I now believe really is my life’s goal. I had just never spoken it verbally before.
Family’s Expand and Ours Will Too… Just Not Yet
One of the things a person does when pondering the future is examine his or her environment. And at the moment our appears to be filled with babies and growing families.
This summer has brought tremendous news in our extended family + friends. Multiple pregnancies have been announced, including my own sister (her first!), so my mom will soon have six grandchildren. Ethan’s new cousin will be very close in age, so he or she will be the perfect play mate to grow with. Speaking of cousins, Ethan was born with four of them, but they all live out of town. The picture above, taken at Mom’s birthday, was the first time all of them were together, ever!
In addition to a new cousin, two of our very good friends are expecting their first child next month, and two mothers in our church small group are also expecting soon. This is in addition to the myriad of pregnancy announcements that Facebook provides us with every week. Yes, Ethan will have plenty of friends to grow with, and one day we will welcome his little brother or sister to our family, and then we will have our complete family of four.
Time is Important
Another thing that enters the mind when pondering the future is… What is important? People make goals to help them achieve what they value, and what they desire. For me, and for Mommy to, that is time. Families grow fast, and the kids can be grown and gone in the blink of an eye. Do you really want to spend the majority of that time in a cubicle and staring at a computer screen, while you pay somebody else a small fortune to raise your kids? No! But that is how we live, and how most people with small kids live. We are forced to work for money to pay somebody else to watch our kids because if we stop working and watch our own kids we will not have enough money to live. This is the ultimate catch 22. Time is super important to us, so I began to wonder about ways to free up more of it.
Many people in my family, myself and Mommy included, have a passion for exploration. Besides our baby boy, traveling to new places is my wife’s and mine single greatest shared passion. We have so much fun on the road and in the skies and touring places we haven’t been before. We have plans to visit every country, and through travel hacking this is definitely possible pre-retirement. In fact, we could go anywhere in the world we wanted to right now, but we are restricted by the amount of time our aforementioned cubicles will give us. It is really frustrating to know that we could spend a couple of months in different countries every year, enriching our children’s lives, only to realize that Corporate America will only allow 2 to 3 weeks. We live in the most worked country in the world folks.
So How Did I Answer Her Question?
“Sweetie, what is your goal?” All of these things swirled in my head in an instant: family is important, time with them is important, traveling with them is important. Time will enable traveling, money will enable time, so the goal here is to acquire money without sacrificing time. And so I responded from the heart, and I didn’t even have to think about it.
“My goal is to become financially independent from work in order to enable my family to see the world together.”
Easier said then done right? Yes, this will be a challenge, but now my life has a clear goal, and every action I take puts me a step closer to it. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted!