One of my Dove chocolates wrappers conveyed this message today. “Embrace new beginnings.” As it turns out, this could not have been a better time for such a message. Let’s not discuss my Dove chocolate problem. We will save that for another time.
I have been absent from the Pants-free movement for quite a while. The last time I blogged was September of last year and the last time I wrote a page in my novel was February. I would love to blame my lack of progress on the whole life thing, but if you know me, you know it’s a matter of prioritization.
In true retrospect, the life thing has been more challenging the past few months. Instead of prioritizing my Pants-free goals, I chose to tread water in the rough seas and hope for a miracle ship to save me. Not to my surprise, no ship arrived, and it was up to me and my lovely bride to swim to shore. We are both on shore, a bit battered and with a new plan, but we are no longer lost at sea.
The biggest challenge, in the past few months, has been none other than the financial beast that plagues us all. I had some job changes that sent a significant blow to our financial status. I was aware of the changes, so I had few months to prepare. I did what anyone would do, update the resume and hit the job boards. After applying for over forty positions, and only getting a few interviews, I started to lose hope. I was given some advice from a recruiter friend. It turns out that I am overqualified for most of the positions and my resume is stacked enough to scare off potential employers.
My wife and I put our heads together and formulated a plan. In addition to my day job, I have had an IT consulting business for the last ten years. I had a significant amount of money saved up in that account. Our options were to use that money, and other savings, to get by or drain most of it and pay off the majority of our debt. If we used it, we would need to tighten up our other expenditures and make it off her salary and my small consulting revenue. It was a scary decision, but the best decision we have every made.
Like most everyone, we had credit card debt, student loans, a car payment, etc. After breaking down our finances, it was clear that debt was killing us. After paying off all that debt, we have reduced our monthly expenses by more than half. We further reduced our expenses by tightening up our day to day expenditures. For now, we can survive on our reduced income and be ok. Do I find more IT consulting, search for a full time job, or live off my current IT consulting revenue and get back to my dream of being pants-free?
My wife and I talked about it. We decided I would take the next eight weeks and focus on finishing my novel and get my health back. The last six months have taken a toll on my weight, blood pressure and my mental health.
Finishing and publishing my novel is by no means guaranteed revenue. It is more likely to not generate revenue, but that is not the entire point. The point is to create something I love and put it out in the world and see if resonates. If it is well received, I will start the next one, and continue writing them as long as I can type. The more novels you produce, the more likely one of more of them are to be successful. If my writing style is enjoyed, I can always branch out to other writing projects. The real journey has begun.
My current IT consulting gigs are mostly remote work, some evenings and some weekend work. Most weeks are twenty hours a week or less. This has been a tremendous shock to my workaholic system. Some days, the closest thing to pants I wear is cycling shorts. I ride my bike or run just about every day. I had forgotten how much I love my bike!
Other than updating you on my status, this post has more to offer. If you have a dream, you need to find a way to give it a shot. I am by no means saying you need to quit your day job, but maybe you need to change your day job. I believe debt, or the lack of debt, is our key to getting where we want to be. If you reduce your debt and your normal expenditures, you can change that day job or leave it all together.
I am now getting a taste of the pants-free life, and I can’t imagine my long term life any other way. I have a long way to go to get there, but my mission has intensified.
What’s your new mission?