Where do I see myself when I finally reach maturity? Steady and secure, continuing to be a software engineer? Having a hobby? Traveling a bit? Parlaying decades of work into a comfortable and enjoyable life? Sure, this is the “go to” answer. One I’ve worked hard at achieving. And as long as I keep those wheels rolling, I’m financially secure enough to make it to the end. But I’m not sure this is the right path.
It’s a hard thought to think. Because at 59 years of age, the risks are higher. Or at least they feel like they are. I’m “supposed” to be planning for my quieter years. Finishing building the ole 401k and getting ready for the leaner decades (financially speaking). It’s scary when this normal life is all you’ve known, and you’re considering tossing it all away for something else. Something that has a low probability of success.
It’s coming as a complete surprise to me, but I’m finding that my new creative hobbies are taking over my being. Writing (like this), filming and editing videos, planning trips and adventures … it’s all I can think about. Learning, being positive, exploring. It’s the soundtrack that’s playing in my head when I’m just sitting there, writing another line of code.
Could it be possible? Is there a way for a near-60 dude to reinvent his life in a financially stable manner? What does it even look like anyway? All I can think about is the fun and passionate aspects. Would the “business side” be just as routine as being a software developer with a hobby? And would switching just give me the same basic life, only with a smaller income?
What would a day/week/life look like?
For starters, I’d write. On my blog, on other people’s blogs, for magazines, anywhere a written word was wanted. All about travel, within oneself and in the usual sense. I’d write another book, only decently this time.
I’d travel, both locally and afar. Filming and exploring. Share what I see and find. Bring people into my world and be inspirational. Collaborate with others, be uber-social, and be uber-creative.
I’d create a daily vlog, sharing this wonderful life I’d created. I’d do documentaries on the wonderful people I’ve met volunteering. I would spend every day with a sense of wonder, with more options and opportunity than time. I would live to create.
And yes … I know everyone wants to be a travel blogger. Have someone pay their way to go play. But my goal isn’t to find a free ride. It wouldn’t be about ‘me’. It would be about creation. It’s the words and images that I want to make. It’s the sharing. I can go to Country-X all by myself, anytime I want. But if I can take a few thousand people with me …. heaven.
I know there are hundreds upon hundreds of videos and blog posts telling me how to do this. Usually by people who are using that telling to support their own journey. Multiple and diverse revenue streams. Hustle. Yadda yadda. And no, I’m not putting it down. I would have to follow a lot of that advice, and a lot of it is good advice. But I’m not out to build an empire. I’m not about the hustle of having a super-successful media conglomerate. I just want enough funding to do what I want. To be able to share, inspire, volunteer, and live a learning life. Without having to find myself in Sunny Acres Pre-Funeral Home in a couple of decades, trying to live off of social security and eating cat food.
I suppose the true “meat” of this post isn’t about dreams. It’s not about plans. It’s about fear. About change. About doing something every adult in your life has told you to avoid because it’s frivolous and would ruin your ability to grow old. It’s amazing that after nearly six decades on this planet, I still think as if my parents were telling me everyday how to live my life. And how my desires won’t pay the bills. All this time and I can’t push back against the basic rules of First World Society.
There is this little voice inside of me. Part hippy, part nomad. He really likes the idea of being spontaneous. He’s like a little kid looking at Disney World for the first time. So much to see and do. So willing to stay awake for a week and take it all in. Then there is other, older kid on my other shoulder. The scared one. The one that says he wants to “get into a good school”. Wants to buy that house in suburbia because he wants to be a good father and provider. Then there is yet another person in there, telling me that I’m too old to be sleeping in a hostel. That giving up my seemingly unlimited credit card and my ability to buy what I want, when I want, would be a fate worse than death. I mean, if you’re used to eating steak, how could eating ketchup packets be better?
So yea, I’ve got issues.
But the kid under it all, he’s dying to be heard. He wants to run around that amusement park. And somehow he knows that with each passing day, it’s just going to be harder to do. At at some point, it’s just not going to be possible. The vacation will be over and he’ll be back home. So if it’s going to happen, if there is even the slightest chance, then I’ve got to change my mindset. I’ve got to start believing that it’s possible.