As I keep working on my path toward financial independence, I keep asking myself: "What am I optimizing for?"
While I'm not completely sure about the answer, I do have an answer, and it's a transformation to a career of writing and being a Creator.
I've been working on newsletters, blogs, books, and content creation for at least a decade now. It's mostly been half-baked hobbies and experiments with tools, platforms, and anonymous books. I always thought that I'd like to build a side gig as a hobby, but the more I think about it, I actually want to build a new lifestyle. A lifestyle of a writer.
But I'm afraid.
I'm scared of being one of those poor miserable writers that can't make a living out of their craft, and I'd hate to be one of those who keep repeating how they have a perfectly great job, career, and lifestyle, and they gave it all up to become artists. I don't want to worry about surviving. I want to be okay and have enough slack to work on my thing.
Achieving financial independence is key to that. Having the bases covered, not needing to worry about paying the bills and putting food on the table would allow me to focus on my craft.
So it's about the FI part of the FIRE. The RE isn't for me. Not yet. I don't want to Retire Early. I just want to work on something different.
The truth is, I achieved all of my childhood dreams and more. Much more. I always wanted to be a businessman, someone who travels a lot for work, is influential in their field, and makes good money. I have all this. I even made it very high in the corporate world, much higher than I ever planned to.
I'm raking over €250K a year, and I'm not a big spender. The lifestyle creep hasn't really caught me, as I don't spend big money on things; I stick to the experiences, mostly family travels.
I don't have a fancy car, just a nice set of wheels that give me the joy to ride.
But recently, I started feeling like work prevents me from doing what I truly love: reading and writing. And creating content. Yes, I want to be a Creator (a writer, actually, but when you add newsletters and stuff, you're more than merely a writer; you become a Creator).
I know that wouldn't replace my current income, so I'd like to create wiggle room to not have to worry about money when(!) I leave my job and become a full-time Creator.
Perhaps I'm thinking about this the wrong way: as a one-way street, as a "forever" decision. Maybe I can find a way to lifehack my way to living as a Creator, either for a set period of time or on a trial basis.
One way would be to discuss a sabbatical. Perhaps I'd need something like six months to settle into this new lifestyle and produce some serious content. Six months is a long time and is a short time, but I guess it could do. After that, I could figure out if I wanted to go all in or return to my regular career.
I've been building my career for about a quarter of a century. I don't know any other way of making money, and I have never done anything else since finishing my studies. But after all this time, I feel like I want to do something "meaningful." Something bigger than just being a corporate executive. Something that will have only my name and my personal brand attached to it, without the big corporate logo.
But first, eliminate all debt.