Just over a week ago I found out that a friend of mine passed away. I won't pretend like we were great friends, I honestly hadn't seen him in over a year, but he was one of those friends whom you share a lot of mutual friends with and often hear about. I met him a few years ago and we actually kissed one night outside of a party at a friend's house. Surreal to think back on now. He was my age, taught at UWF (the moment you find out someone else is a college teacher you have SO much to talk about) and passed away after a fairly short battle with cancer. Of course, one of the immediate responses humans commonly have to death is utterly selfish. I could not stop thinking about how short life is, and if I am using mine in the way that I most want to. As with most people my answer was 'no' and the solution I've come up with was rather shocking.
I need to work more.
Well, let me back up to one other thing that happened which led me to that conclusion.
Remember yesterday when I said I wouldn't be training for a triathlon anytime soon? Well, I would love to actually but I just can't afford to right now. After I got home from the beach on Friday I started looking into training plans and quickly realized I don't have a lot of things I'd need to start working toward a Tri. Like, a bike (mine is a mountain bike on loan from a friend), helmet, swimsuit, pool access,... all the costs added up including registration fees were about $600-700.
Ain't nobody got money for that.
That's when it really hit me. I've worked hard to create a life where my happiness is pretty independent from money. The things I enjoy most in this world - being with family and friends, reading, hiking, laying out in the sun,... totally free and 100% priceless. However, things are happening in my life right now that are making me aware of how nice it would be to have a little extra money left over. Like invitations to amazing conferences or races. I'm so tired of having to tell friends I can't make it to a local race because I just don't have the money to spend on non-essentials right now.
Or, this whole Hashimoto's thing. I'm going in today (if I can get my courage up after last time) for more bloodwork. I'm also going in to see a new dentist to get an estimate on some dental work I was supposed to have done oh...10 years ago due to my bike accident. None of this is cheap - especially without insurance!
The moral of the story is I'm at a cross-road. Do I continue pouring all of my energy into this site and my freelance writing work to see what may come (and I do feel great things may come of it) or do I start looking for a 'real' 9 to 5 which may not be something I love, but will give me the money to do the things that I love - before it's to late?
When I asked this on Twitter this weekend I was surprised that most people said (B) The world likes to tell you to follow your dreams and passions, but they don't exactly explain what to do about rent in the mean time. I realize there will never be a perfect solution. If I had a job making all the money I wanted I'd likely not have the time or energy to travel and train like I do, but if I keep doing what I love (but is not making me independently wealthy right now) then I'm spending months/years I'll never get back and could be traveling and training more than I am.
Sometimes it can be very overwhelming to live alone and support yourself. I'm not trying to insinuate that couples don't worry about finances either because I certainly did in every past relationship, but I do miss having the emotional support a partner provides. Someone who will be there if you take a chance and the bottom falls out. Or, someone to celebrate with when amazing things do happen. Please don't interpret all this as a 'woe is me' story. I know how amazing my life is compared to most people in the world. Despite some slight issues I'm healthy, very happy, and I've got the world at my fingertips.
I just feel like my work/life balance is off more than it should right now, and I'm not sure how to get it where it needs to be.