I harbor a secret addiction to Broadway musicals. I mean, the entire reason I'm going to London in October is to see the Harry Potter play in West End. (It's going to be awesome and no, I haven't read the book yet. It's been tough to resist so far!)
Anyways, one of my favorite Broadway musicals is a little number known as Avenue Q. It's loosely based on Sesame Street except with major adult themes. And Gary Coleman. Can't forget him. #rip
A song I keep going back to time and time again is called Purpose.
I don't know how I know
But I'm gonna find my purpose
I don't know where I'm gonna look
But I'm gonna find my purpose
Gotta find out, don't wanna wait
Got to make sure that my life will be great
Gotta find my purpose
Before it's too late
Unlike him, I know what my purpose in life is. My problem is getting there in a timely manner.
OurNextLife had a wonderful post back in January on Defining Your Purpose, which I thought was just fabulous and articulated many of the things I wish I knew how to say. Yesterday, she released a follow up post about their Retirement Dealbreakers. In these two posts, she maps out their goals and activities into 3 categories and overlaps them into a Venn Diagram. It's really neat to see it all laid out like that, and I was inspired to make my own diagram.
The three themes I came up with are Adventure, Creativity, and Society. For creativity, I'd like to learn more about how to do crafty/handy things; things like learning more about DIY skills or pottery, woodworking, and maybe even some painting. This can segue into adventure by traveling to learn new skills or hone existing ones. Maybe spending some time in Italy learning the secrets of stained glass. Maybe traveling around the Comic Con scene and have a booth to sell my fancy art pieces.
I could also give back to society with my creativeness, like fixing up the homes of low-income people or having beautiful homemade furniture to sell to people to use. I made society somewhat of a general term because what I am thinking of doing encompasses such a range of activities. To me, society includes things like Big Brothers, Big Sisters where I could have more of a specific impact on one person's life. It includes working at a summer camp to have more of a general impact on lots of young people's lives.
It could even include spending more time with friends and family. I have such a wide net of people, I could spend a fair amount of time traveling around to visit my far-flung network. This is where the adventure comes in. Maybe I'll spend a year in an RV traveling around the US. Maybe I'll embark on a round the world trip.
I came up with a few scenarios based on the above themes. Keep in mind, these scenarios are based on the premise that I'll still be single and able to do whatever I want, when I want.
End my working career a few years early and take advantage of the 4 years of tuition left over from my time in the military. I'd probably get an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) in some medium I'd be interested in learning more about. One problem with this is I'd have to go back to my home state, and higher education there is in dire straits. I'm not even sure the universities will be around when I get ready to use my benefits. Another potential issue would be timing. I'm not sure my benefits will last long enough for me to use them. I've already been out a year, and I'm not sure how long they'll last now that I'm out. I should probably get that figured out sooner than later….
This scenario plays into the creative aspect the most, since I'd be going back to school specifically to learn more about art. Although I assume I'd have the breaks off to either travel or hang out with family/friends wherever they may be, so then I could work in the adventure and society themes too.
The best summer of my life was the summer I spent out at the local Girl Scout camp as a lifeguard. I spent 9 years there as a camper and relished the chance to be a role model and mentor to the next generation of girls. Growing up, my counselors had a huge impact on my life and I wouldn't be who I am today without them. Now that I'm older, I'd like to be an even better role model than my 17-year-old self was. So my plan would roughly look something like work at the camp during the summer (food and living space taken care of with a small wage coming in), travel during the spring/fall or spend some time with family or both, and then during the winter get a part-time job doing something fun. Like working at a ski resort. Then I'd even get to ski for free! (or a heavily discounted rate).
This scenario would best play into the society and adventure themes, although with camp life there are plenty of ways to express creativity. I made lanyards, leather products, painted murals and thought up ways to keep the magic of camp alive and well. Obviously, society would be the major theme in this scenario, since I'd be getting to work with kids all summer long and working with society for the winter. I'd get the adventure in too with travel in the off-season.
Meet an incredibly attractive, smart, nerdy foreign guy and move overseas to be with him. I'd leave my savings alone and let them grow while I lived a “normal” life. One where we do whatever we want and don't worry too much about savings rates, maxing out all our retirement accounts, or finding all the loopholes to pay as little tax as possible. By the time I reached “traditional” retirement age, my savings would grow to a nice lump sum and we'd be all set for the rest of our lives. Of course, this an entirely hypothetical scenario. Totally imaginary. Things like this only happen in cheesy rom coms or steamy books. shuffles feet, clears throat. Right? Right.
This scenario really caters to the adventure side of me. What could be more adventuresome than selling all (ok most) of my stuff and moving to a new life overseas!?! I'm sure my creativity wouldn't stop overseas, and I'm also sure I'd find ways to incorporate society in there as well. Just as soon as I learn one or two new languages so I can talk to people 🙂
Ideally, my life after FI would encompass something from each scenario involving all three themes. Then, I would be truly fulfilled.
What elements does your ideal life after FI include? What do you want to do after reaching FI?
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