Waking from a dream by the screaming buzzing of the alarm, I look over and see that my dog is sleeping right through it and the day has already begun with out me. The house is empty and I am ready to do something productive for the day. I get out of bed push the sleep mucus out of my eyes then stand up to stretch. I look down at the clock, and realize that this day has played itself out before. It is time for me to leave my life to go devote my time to an institution that continually reminds me that I am just there to work for a paycheck. Does this sound like a similar rut that you wake to every morning?
It is like I am living the life of Bill Murry in the movie “Groundhog Day”, but like a machine, I am doing what I’m programmed to do. In this day in age, we continue to keep doing this until we are worn out and can no longer keep pushing forward.
When I first took the job, I was excited that I was going to have a very secure place to work to insure the integrity of my family through retirement if I wanted. This excitement comes from the fact that I have a difficult time holding a job for one reason or another for extended periods of time. I do not believe that it is in my DNA to work for other people or be assimilated into the belief that I should depend on just one group to control my fate throughout life. A few years into working this job, I felt that I was due for a promotion, so I opened Tearstone Performance reselling automotive parts to fill in the gap where I was not getting a promotion. I was aggressively going after an increase of pay without having to beg or plead the institution I was working for.
I have learned that with money comes problems and that there may be something to living a simpler life. Most people grow up with dreams of having a nice car someday or having a big house or even being rich. The bigger house you have, the more money it is going to cost to heat that space, repair things when they go wrong and taxes you are going to have to pay on that property. The more expensive car you buy, the higher your insurance, repair costs and in most cases fuel will be also. On top of this, usually it is done by getting even deeper in debt slaving yourself away at lining the pockets of banks with extra money from the interest accrued which could have gone to buy twice to three times as much of what originally paid for to begin with.
The original reason why I was struggling to become more successful and build a better paycheck is to accommodate for all this extra stuff I have been accumulating. I was in debt so bad at one time, I was praying everyday that nothing would ever happen to me while I was working this job. I opened up Tearstone Performance for the soul purpose to help bail us out of the debt we were continually accumulating. I was a slave to work to pay for all my stuff.
Fast forward to today, after working intently from my very good friend, that debt is dumb. She coached me through pulling myself up by my bootstraps and charging head first into paying off this debt to get my head over water. Today, I have no credit cards and no car payments. I only owe money on my house which using the same principles as before.
So now, being debt free I am evaluating the need to work for someone else at all. The American dream is to focus your life at learning a marketable trade to eventually seek employment for someone else to make them rich so you can buy a bunch of meaningless junk that emotionally degrades your quality of life. I cannot help to feel that if I walked away from this career how many people would scratch their head to say “wow he walked away from a killer job, working at a killer company”. When I am lying on my death bed, I doubt I am going to say “only if I would have worked more”.
Sitting here at this company watching other employees fight tooth and nail to gain the admiration of the management in hopes they will move up in the company. These same people make this company their life by working late and taking time from their family and kids. They are caught in this rat race to pull out the stops to make more money to support a life that they continually grasping for constantly sacrificing time with their growing children they cannot get back. I am punished with reprimand because other people make these sacrifices and I do not. As I get older and begin to understand the big picture, that it is time to truly sacrifice things such as a big house or a new fancy sports car in exchange for focusing on being home and watching my children grow up. It is time to start working on getting out of this rat race and into a place where I can be in the driver’s seat of my own destiny.
I am sure there are many people that may feel guilty about the course their life has taken or may just be unaware of what they are giving up. Perhaps the greed of amassing a bigger income to have nicer things forces both parents to work while the kids fend for themselves at home. Even those who do not have kids, sacrifice their relationships to focus on their own careers instead of each other. This country in general has it’s priorities screwed up and admittedly I am no exception for falling in the trap.
The path less traveled would constitute securing a means of self employment which would give the flexibility of time without having someone manage my time for me. It would be nice to be able to go to my daughter’s open house at school or to a doctors appointment without having to be chastised by management about creating a pattern or taking too much time out of work on taking care of personal matters.
After the long day is done, it is time to go home. Within that time, the family is preparing for tomorrow to do it all over again.
Live simple, live happy.
2 Replies to “Tempting A Path Less Traveled”
Your writings absolutely amaze me everyday. Don’t let the interruptions of daily life make you lose focus on the prize at hand. God has a plan for all of us and I see god working through you daily.
Russ – I have watched you grow professionally, personally, become debt free and most importantly build your relationship with Christ.
What you have said here is exactly right. Too many people are focused on “keeping up with the Jone’s” rather than keeping up with their family and friends. In the process of becoming successful and/or wealthy, the lose the very thing they were doing all this hard work for, their kids childhood, a solid relationship with their spouse…some even lose their spouse & kids all together. You are correct, I don’t believe I know of anyone who will be on their death bed saying they should have work harder or longer….most will be feeling the guilt of what they lost and will never gain back, relationships.
Keep focused on Christ, set your goal of being a “Free Agent”, your time line and meet that goal, I know you can do it, just like you met your goal of being debt free! This is a fantastic article, keep it up!