I’m obsessed with personal finance. Yes, this is a writer’s blog, but I’ve been craving writing about financial independence, so write I must.
For the past five years since graduating from college, I’ve been working full-time — the first two years I even worked a lot of overtime though that lifestyle wasn’t ultimately sustainable for me — and dreaming of not having to work anymore.
There’s something soul-crushing about commuting large distances and spending the most energetic years of my life being productive for someone else. I don’t mind being productive, not in the least — I come home and write and blog and learn Python. I’m not lazy — as much as my capitalist brain wants me to believe when I constantly dream of freedom from paid labor.
As a result, I’ve strived to invest 50%+ of my earnings in the pursuit of retiring in my early fifties.
Honestly, I don’t think I can wait; that’s a quarter of a century from now. So I looked up an early retirement calculator on Networthify.com and plugged in my numbers. It said I have 7.4 years until retirement, assuming my expenses stay the same (though that is super unlikely with inflation unless the calculator compensated for inflation). That made me heart calm. This calculator seemed a bit lean, and I definitely think I need more money than it calculated I would need, but the encouragement was exactly what I needed.
Even with the horizon closer than I had thought, last year, I started this blog, I decided to self-publish my YA novella The Friendship Ruse, and I just put out my debut chapbook you think I’m serious, but I’m joking. I’m pursuing my retirement goals now.
I’m extremely future-focused, but the only guaranteed time is right now. Imagine if I got to retirement and died the next day? I need to enjoy the destination, in addition to the destination.
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a great computer answered the question of the meaning of life with “‘Forty-two,’ said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.” The author, Douglas Adams, apparently had just meant for it to an ordinary number, but the explanation I liked was that it was a reference to the 42th ASCII code for an asterisk, which in programming language is sort of a wildcard and ultimately means whatever you want it to mean.
As a result, here I am! Pursuing all my dreams right now, because even waiting 7-8 years is too long for your passions.
*Fun sidenote: I was once in a writing class in which I had to write my own obituary. I wrote that I would die at age 42 — before ever reading Hitchhiker’s Guide.