Do You Want Time or Money?

I’m back! After traveling for three and a half months overseas and spending a month with my family in Maine, I’ve returned to D.C. and am currently in the throes of sorting out my life.

*I would like to preface this post by saying that I am fortunate enough to have the privilege to switch career paths due to the safety net of my family and their willingness to lend me money if I don’t get my sh*t together fast enough; even though I’m going to try and avoid it if at all possible and be an “adult” like the 30 year old I am.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to the age old discussion of the tension between time vs. money. It’s a “struggle” because the majority of us never seem to have enough of both at. the. same. time. Before I embarked on my grand summer adventure, I had plenty of money, but no time due to the fact that I worked full-time and had an hour long commute to and from the office. Now, it’s the opposite. I’ve had all the time in the world these past five months, but I’m practically out of money, with no quick inflow coming my way anytime soon.

Every day I confront this tension between time and money within myself. Do I sacrifice my time (energy, freedom, social life, etc.) for a big paycheck, but end up missing out on important events in the lives of people that are important to me, sacrifice my passions, and inevitably compromise on self-care and adequate rest? OR, do I take a big risk and ride the discomfort of not knowing where my next paycheck is going to come from in order to invest in my long term goals and ambitions? Some days I’m scared and I just want the money and comfort; other days I’m feeling liberated by the newfound hours in my day, and I can’t imagine going back to work full-time.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I managed to quit my job and travel for the whole summer, and after I told them (blog post coming soon), their response is always: “Oh, I could never.” And my response is always: “Yes, you could if you really wanted to, and were willing to make the necessary life changes.” In a comical twist of irony, I find that I’m repeating the very words that I’ve uttered to others as a reminder to myself that if I really want more time and freedom, then I have to fully commit to it; cut down on my expenses, and dedicate time and energy to my passions, at the same level as if it were my full-time job.

I share this, because it’s safe to conjecture that many people feel the same internal desire to engage in work that’s meaningful, but might not pay the bills. I know, because that’s what I’ve done for the past few years. I settled for jobs that funded my lifestyle but left me wishing for more. I filled my apartment with “stuff” and bought clothes I didn’t need. I worked in order to go out to overpriced restaurants and wasted my paycheck on tasty, but unhealthy alcoholic drinks. I worked that hard, but for what? To be exhausted and drained, with little energy left to engage in activities that sustained and excited me.

All I know, is that I can’t live like that anymore. I felt like my soul was being sucked dry from my work as a government contractor, and I want to use my skills and passion to help people and animals.  So, yes, that leaves me with the stress of not having money – a complete 180 degree pivot from where I was a year ago. But, the upside is that I feel free. I’m excited about life, and while I know that it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get to where I want, I proactively choose this path because I refuse to be another cog in the corporate machinery, a hamster on a wheel. I want time, and I want lots of it.

Indeed, it’s the most valuable resource we have.

Next up on my reading list: “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Feriss

I’d love to hear from you:

Are you experiencing burnout from your 40 your a week corporate job? How do you cope?

Or are you taking the risky route and making sacrifices in the finances department in order to live your dream job? Any tips? Advice Help me! I’m new to this!