“What the hell would I do?”
The thought that instantly entered my mind.
I was lucky enough to escape out onto my bike at the weekend and enjoy some of the glorious weather we were afforded. The pockets on my cycle jersey were stuffed with a banana and my phone, and I set off to find a quiet place for breakfast.
It wasn’t until I was on my way home, when I hit a bumpy bit of terrain. My thoughts flashed to the handset bobbing around in the pocket on my lower back. The phone, with bank card and house key hidden away in its protective cover, would be free to leap out at any moment and perform a Bond like action roll on the floor. All of this could happen without me knowing, loosing my cargo for good. Then the thought hit me; What would I do if this happened?
I was 5 miles from home and I wouldn’t be able to call anyone. I would be locked out of my house, and how could I contact my better half to come and save me and let me in. What if I suddenly got a flat tyre in the next 100 metres? I didn’t have a patch kit, nor money for a taxi, I would have to push a broken down bike for 5 miles to wait outside my house weeping at the thought of replacing my expensive phone. Life would be unbearable.
This was all initial thoughts, uncontrolled perspective, a hangover from my previous existence before I found Financial Independence when silly stuff like this mattered. My brain just as quickly corrected itself.
Loose my phone? I would cycle home. Lost my key as well? Well, I have family living near by I would go and wait with them. Actually, my brother in law lives on the way home, I would stop by there. Flat Tyre? I have legs. It might take me 40 minutes longer to get where I was going, but that’s life. 40 minutes walking in the sun ain’t so bad. Replacing my expensive handset? Isn’t that what emergency funds are for? I no longer crave the possession of the latest Apple technology every September, and I could easily settle for second hand. I wouldn’t feel any necessity to stick with Apple. My time of need might prompt me to go for a more commercially advantageous competitor.
As these thoughts danced in my mind, I couldn’t help but smile as I pedalled through nirvana.
It felt like a glimpse of the freedom I am seeking. A life of little worry and little stress. I suppose part of the reason why people feel like Financial Independence isn’t possible is they fear loosing the ability to replace all the things in their life they have chosen to buy. Without a job, how can one possibly afford a new car every three years? How am I going to up-size home in 5 years even if I don’t need the space? And yes, the latest and greatest in handheld technology at a premium every twelve months. I need a job to sustain that.
It hasn’t just enhanced my ability to spend wisely, on things that actually matter in life, but it has also taught me about managing stress and problems. You don’t always need to throw money at problems to solve them. Taking time to think them through can be more beneficial than waving a piece of plastic at them.
I used to believe that money would solve all problems, but when it didn’t and couldn’t, I was left with a gap. I was left waving my arms in the air screaming to the Gods that this was supposed to fix everything. I blamed them. I blamed everyone around me. I blamed society, I blamed work. I pointed my frivolously spending finger at everyone but myself.
I’m far more measured now. Yes, my old life creeps up and throws idiotic scenarios into my head still, trying to drag me back to the old me. I manage that. I stand up to it, take a deep breath and realise that ‘it’s fine’.
In that moment, wheels whirring like my mind, I tasted Freedom.