Let’s play a game. What if you woke up one day and you didn’t need to work? You had enough money coming in to pretty much cover whatever it was you needed or, in most cases, even wanted? No I’m not trying to recruit you for my pyramid scheme, I’m simply trying to work through my current reality and dig in on what that really means, and until recently, I took it for granted at best, and found myself feeling guilt-ridden for not working a ‘typical schedule’ or even normal hours, at worst. Truthfully, some weeks I worked ten hours a week! And if I didn’t do that even, the world wouldn’t end, and it wouldn’t affect my quality-of-life. Oddly the feelings of inadequacy and aimlessness would visit and prey upon my mind regularly. I always thought when I was broke and working forty hours a week since age 18 in a typical 9-to-5 job, that a life like this would be glorious! What the heck was I missing? We’ll get back to that in a minute.
You see recently I started to study and consider the concept of minimalism and living a life of intention and purpose. At least personally. I have a wife and three kids who are far from minimalists but we’ve never been ones to shower them with gifts and although my wife likes her Amazon Prime she’s pretty frugal herself. Given what I do for a living as a Medicare broker, my income is renewal based, and at this point I’m lucky enough that if I serve and maintain my current client base and keep my license and certifications up-to-date, we have plenty of money between my wife and I to live a great life. Working for me is not mandatory as we have very little debt, own our cars outright, and have a very manageable mortgage payment as well as ample savings and access to plenty of money in case of emergencies. Also, since I’m practicing a more minimalist lifestyle, my wants are few. We never lived beyond our means and have been responsible in our spending.
In addition, the things I get the most use out of, are essentially free, or baked in to other things (mostly my phone). I like to walk (free), listen to podcasts and music (very cheap or free), and play video games (once you have the console and a game or two, you’re good to go). If I want to watch anything I can pretty much stream it or watch it online for the price of my internet connection or phone bill, which I need to operate my business anyways. Beyond that, I’m golden. I like to spend time with my family as my kids are very young (William is 6, Wiley is 3 and Vera is under a year) and that’s where most of our income, joy and energy goes.
Until recently I was working whenever I got leads or would try to follow-up with current clients to see if I could save them money on their current Medicare Supplements (aka Medigap) if their rates went up. The rest of the time I found myself distracting myself with the video games more than a forty year-old man should. I tried to justify that I wasn’t out getting drunk or getting into trouble. Besides, I listened to podcasts and was available to help out with the kids or my mother-in-law and maintain the house whenever the situation called for it. But still something inside gnawed at me that I was squandering a huge piece of myself. I had more to give. I was playing small, not all out. I was still a relatively young man, not a retiree, like I was living like.
Not only that, one of the things that gives me the most joy and fulfillment is writing, making videos and podcasting. I was a fixture as a DJ at my community college radio station (I have the cassette tapes of my old shows to prove it 😊) and learned that I loved broadcasting. YouTube and podcasting was more than a decade away at that point, and being a disc jockey was a pipe dream so I kind of put that to the side and figured I could bore my kids and grandkids about how their old man used to be on the radio someday. My best friend, Dan, and I used to film ourselves a lot and used to self-produce videos for local cable (think Wayne’s World) that were comedy-based. Eventually he and I did a podcast called ‘That Dandy Classic Music Hour’ for over two years that was fun, but labor intensive for Dan to edit so that went by the wayside. Furthermore, I even used to do some public speaking in the metro-Detroit area for a time in the early-Aughts as I’m a certified graphologist (personality analyst through a person’s cursive handwriting) and would speak to local organizations and health fairs to promote my side business doing that. Shyness has never been a barrier for me and I’m a ham and love to put myself out there.
But the last year or so I’d gotten into a rut creatively and hadn’t had a strong desire to scratch the itch.