If you woke up tomorrow and had a billion dollars in your bank account, what would you do everyday? What would you wake up every morning looking forward to?
Your dream might be spending as much time as possible, in any context, with a particular person. Maybe it’s establishing a business, becoming a rock star, saving lives in Africa, competing in an exclusive event, or achieving the best shape of your life.
When you don’t devote the bulk of your time towards earning this income, the whole focus of “what to do” suddenly seems to shift. Unless you are already living your dream, the two (your dream and your current situation) might not coincide. Not to worry, as our options are nearly limitless. We live in an age and world of unfathomable opportunity to do/become pretty much anything.
The question is a hard one to answer. Most of us have become very programmed to earning, earning, and earning some more, and the reasons and driving forces behind the earnings are often forgotten. When asked what we’re saving for, we capriciously throw the label of “the future” on our hardship, and all is well and good. We pain and pain now for a (hopefully) better tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow is often decades away.
Maybe your dream is to own (or at least drive) that gorgeous 1997 Dodge Viper. The blue one with the double white racing stripes. Nothing would make you happier. You finally save up enough money, but suddenly, spending this quantity of cash on your dream just doesn’t seem like a smart investment, and you opt for an 03 Corolla. Oops.
I am also personally guilty of over-saving and not spending money on things that I legitimately want. I’ve wanted to take drum lessons for some time, but always tell myself that I don’t need to spend the money on them. They will always be there in the future if I change my mind, and I can teach myself for now. However, as the years progress, my drumming has not.
Don’t run into the trap of ensuring yourself that the prospect will always be there for the future. Frankly, it won’t. If you really want to do/have something, go do/buy it now, and enjoy its company or the memory for the rest of your life. The longer you put off a dream, the less and less chance you have of acting on it. Don’t trade your entire life for misery and money so that you can spend this huge chunk of savings in the final, weakest years of your life. Do what you feel.
Take some time (it might be very difficult), and think, outside of earning money, what do you really want from the world. Cash, savings, retirement aside, if you could do anything, what would you do? What’s your dream, and what is stopping you from living it?
As a close friend once assured me, “If you follow your heart, you can never be wrong.”