The Day I Gave Away A Million Dollars.Posted on Apr 23, 2011 | 9 comments
June 14th, 2010. This was the day I gave away a million dollars.
This is the also the day Heidi and I decided we were going to quit our jobs and travel the world. The retirement plan, the idea of a big house on the hill, the notion of a plush, rainy day fund all got thrown out with the trash. By choosing not to keep our 9-5 salary jobs for the next 25 years we had chosen to just give away a million dollars. The future was now unwritten.
But it doesn't feel like I gave up a million bucks, does it? It doesn't feel like it would if I went to Vegas and dropped a million on a hand of blackjack and got dealt a pair of 2's. It doesn't feel scary or risky or like I am losing something. And you know why?
Because I am not losing anything. This is not Vegas. There is no gamble. There is just life. The future was never written.
When you gamble, you risk losing money you have (assuming you haven't gone off the deep end and hit up Visa for a huge cash advance). But I never had a million dollars, all I had was the idea of a million dollars, the possibility of a million dollars. There was only the illusion of financial security, nothing more.
And for all of you planning on the future, that is all you have as well. There is no security in the future. How could there be? You don't know what is going to happen.
How many of you ever thought you were going to die in a plane crash?
We are wrong about the future every day. How can there be security in it?
In an ongoing debate with a friend of mine, he argues that people focus on minimizing risk in life rather than maximizing rewards and so they end up taking the safe, established path. I am not sure this is so. I don't think people play the risk/reward game much. I think it is much more simple. I think people are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break. You do something long enough, it is very hard to imagine doing anything else. But if you can, imagine this:
Imagine waking up tomorrow and doing whatever you wanted with your family. It could be anywhere. Doing anything. Imagine working on what you love while the kids are sound asleep after a full day with the family. Imagine the freedom and the possibility. Imagine living your life in the present and not having to worry so much about securing a life 20-30 years from now.
What's that worth?
Is it worth giving up the possibility of a million dollars?
Is it worth giving up the illusion of security?
Is it worth breaking a few challenging habits that you never wanted in the first place?
For me it is.
Now . . . .
What about YOU?