A Gap Year and Permission to Fuck it All Up

For the past 10 years I’ve pursued a fairly consistent career path. The work is not my life’s passion, but I am generally good at it, and it has been somewhat lucrative and rewarding. I haven’t put 100% of my energy toward developing my skills and excelling in my work, but like most people, I’ve allowed work to consume most of my time and focus in exchange for a comfortable salary and a predictable schedule.

For the past 6 years, I’ve also focused on aggressively saving toward a more flexible future. I’ve honed my frugality, paid off debt, learned about travel hacking, side hustled, invested, and optimized my finances every which way I can, while continuing to plink along at the same job. It almost seems as though “money” is one of my main hobbies – but really it’s what I focus on to distract myself from the truth.

The truth is, I am quite bored with my every day life and BURNED OUT at work, and my mental health is suffering because I’ve always opted for the safe path instead of a life that may be more exciting and fulfilling. A steady paycheck that helps me save toward a vague goal of financial independence is safe. Not upsetting the status quo by working and quietly saving away in the corner doesn’t scare anyone. The goal of financial independence also gives me a good story to tell myself, “you just have to stick with it for a few more years and you’ll be TRULY FREE…” but I won’t.

What will give me true freedom is giving myself permission to experiment a little with life. To leave my job. To spend money for a little while, instead of obsessively squirreling it away. To try out self employment, and give myself the mental freedom to be creative. To understand what’s best for me and prioritize my sanity.

So, what’s the big reveal? I am taking a gap year or mini-retirement! I am quitting my full time job in the next month. I will be done by the beginning of May. I will be unemployed for at least a year. I am truly terrified and incredibly excited at the same time – but I am also unbelievably happy that I am finally giving myself permission to try something new, even if that means that I fuck it all up and learn some important lessons.

Maybe I’m just an entitled asshat who wants to quit their perfectly good job and go off looking for unrealistic self actualization. Maybe I will fail miserably… but for once in my life I have decided that it’s time to not worry about the consequences and what other people might think, and to go with my gut. I have plenty of money saved up, so even the worst case scenario is bound to be pretty easy to handle.

Of course, I can’t quit and not have a plan, because that’s just not the type of person I am… but more details on what I’ll be doing for the next year will have to wait until my next post!

Posted in Gap Year Experiment, Musings