There’s a famous parable that goes something like this (I did not invent it, but I am retelling it here from memory):
A businessman goes to visit a local fisherman in a vacation destination. The fisherman takes him for a long day of fishing and relaxation. They have a great time and enjoy the day. The businessman asks the fisherman what a typical day is like for him, and he says, “I wake up, enjoy some time with my wife and family, I come here to fish, meet up with some friends in the afternoon, and head back home for dinner. It’s perfect.”
The businessman says to the fisherman, “You know, you could really grow this business. You could get some money from investors, hire other fisherman, charge businessmen like me a good rate to go fishing, market the business all over the country, increase revenues every year, grow the business and one day sell the business for a pretty penny. It would take some hard work, of course, maybe 3-5 years of growth and development, but then you’d never have to work a day in your life after that.”
The fisherman says, “What would be the point of all that?”
The businessman, surprised by the fisherman’s question, says as a matter-of-factly: “You could wake up every day and do **whatever you want**, not being tied down by responsibility or financial constraints. Tell me, what would be your perfect day if you had all the money in the world?”
The fisherman replies, “I would walk up, enjoy some time with my wife and family, come here to fish, meet up with some friends in the afternoon, and head back home for dinner…”
Sometimes we forget that we can live the life of our dreams *right now*. We don’t have to wait for permission. We don’t have to put it off until the future. We can do it immediately.
I recently changed jobs. Well, more accurately, I left my job of nearly 8 years to go out on my own. It took courage and confidence, but I finally took the leap of faith. So far, it’s been the best career decision that I’ve made in a long time.
I’m making much less money than I was before. But I’m living the life of my dreams, on my own terms. I wake up each day, have a coffee, do some reading. Then I take the kids to school, go to the gym or for a run in the woods, settle in at my home office around 10am. Then I do 4-5 hours of deep work, deep thinking, moving along my professional work and other creative pursuits. I might take a break here or there for a snack, for a walk, or to play the piano. Eventually, I come up for air around dinnertime. Eat with the wife and kids if they’re around. Wash up, read with my kids, spend an hour with my wife, and head to bed. It’s a perfect day. And if I had all the money in the world, it would still be my perfect day.
I feel lucky to have the means and ability to create this situation for myself. But it took me years to recognize that it was in front of me the whole time. Don’t wait for retirement. Live the life of your dreams right now.