I had quite the imagination and curiosity when I was younger. I can remember daydreaming about all types of things which shaped my world into limitless possibilities.
I loved movies and stories that made me think differently which challenged my curiosity to imagine a world beyond what I thought could ever be possible.
As a young boy, my imagination fueled a sense of optimism untethered to physical limits, practicality, or man-made rules. Anything was possible, and nothing could stand in the way. It was hard to understand why adults didn’t have the same sense of hopefulness.
Fast forward decades later, I sit here today thinking about where that boy with his boundless imagination and optimism have vanished to.
Today, I describe myself to be a pragmatist bound to all things from a perspective based in rules. Sure, every so often I may get the imagination started, but ‘reality’ sets in and imagination barely takes off the ground.
I kind of understand. As adults, we go through life thinking we’re better informed. We think we know how the world should work. We have more responsibilities that demand our serious attention. We accept the rules of the world as reality through experience, our social circles, and general consensus.
Anything that contradicts our reality and rules, can be perceived as unproductive and unworthy of our efforts.
Certainly, we have no time for childish imaginations—what good would that do after all. Instead, we leave that stuff to others.
We live vicariously through the life of super imaginative people, books, movies, etc. People like Elon Musk and others that dare to question reality through action and optimism in an effort to drive an impactful change in the world. We marvel at their tenacity, accomplishments, and drive, from a distance.
Living vicarious tickles our fleeting imagination just enough.
The older we get, the more work and personal responsibilities we have, the more challenging it becomes to devote too much conscious time and mind-share to anything else.
Subconsciously, our brain gets us through life looking for shortcuts (heuristics). We’re pretty much sailing on auto-pilot through everything which doesn’t demand our absolute focus.
For the most part, we just want people to tell us what to do. Our brain wants the answer fast and to the point, so it can conserve our energy. We make decisions based on popular consensus corroborated by our general understanding of a subject matter… rather than thoughtful analysis and creative thinking.
For some, this includes decisions concerning personal finances: rent vs buy decisions, car financing, student loan, credit card debt, spending vs savings, etc.
Which is why concepts like financial independence, early retirement (FIRE), can be counter intuitive to many people. These concepts don’t validate general understanding of retirement (work forever, retire at 65+ years old), or financial independence. It goes against everything that generations of people and so called ‘experts’ have been preaching.
For me, this wasn’t the case. FIRE actually re-ignited my imaginative curiosity once again, unveiling a glimmer of that hopeful little boy.
The concept of financial independence and early retirement intrigues me, and I consciously focus my time to achieve it, learn more about it, and share it with others. The math is simple, the concept is unselfish, and the shared experiences of those who’ve attained it are inspiring.
It’s not about retiring early and doing nothing for the rest of my life—although that is an option—It’s about decluttering life, eliminating distractions, and ending the daily grind dictated by the rules and reality of others.
I can focus, visualize, and create a life that is important to me… not an employer, creditors, or anyone else. And, I can do this while I’m still relatively young.
FIRE is freedom to be hopefully curious again, take chances, challenge myself, learn something new, and get lost in imagination with the resources to take action.
This may sound like a silly, boyish dream, but that’s exactly the point.
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