It’s funny. We all go through the phases of the US school system – from kindergarten on up through high school and even possibly beyond into college. What you’ll notice is that, as a student, work is punctuated with lengthy breaks. Two weeks for Christmas here. Spring break there. Then it’s months off during the summer to enjoy life, which is really what life is all about, in my opinion. Without enjoying the ride, what’s the point?
But that all changes when you enter adulthood with all of its associated responsibilities (and bummers).
No More Extended Time Off
The work-break-work schedule vaporizes in favor of a work-work-work-work-maybe take a few days off-work-work-work schedule.
No more three or even four months of free time off per year. It’s like you’re trained to enjoy a few months off every year to recharge and operate at 100% only to have the script flipped once you turn 22 or 23 years old and enter the corporate world. You thought that schedule that’s been ingrained into you since you were old enough to know what ingraining was would continue on? Ha! It’s like a cosmic joke that society plays on itself.
You generally get two weeks off per year in the corporate world – fully paid for, if you’re lucky. Although, there was an unspoken, but noticeable, undercurrent of encouragement to work through those two weeks throughout my career. Yeah, you get to weeks, but you don’t really want it, right? You’d rather just work through it and collect a check, right? Umm, wrong.
I certainly haven’t been able to enjoy a spring break in, oh, more than a decade or so now.
But 2015 is the return of the spring break!
My fiancee, Claudia, works in the education system. As such, she’s been fortunate to kind of keep that student-like schedule all the way through her career. She’s always preferred time off and doing what she loves to more money. And I can’t say I blame her.
Her spring break is this coming week. And guess who is going to be home as well to enjoy it?
I may not be financially independent yet – my passive dividend income is only covering around 25% or so of my expenses right now – but working from home where I write for a living and work on projects I truly enjoy is about as close as it gets. And being able to kind of set your own hours is one of the most magnificent benefits of this lifestyle.
Taking My First Spring Break In More Than A Decade
So I decided to work hard this past weekend by getting a jump start on some of the articles that are due this coming week to enjoy spring break for the first time in a long time, and certainly the first time with Claudia.
We’ve got a full week scheduled:
First, we’re going to hit a spring training baseball game. The Baltimore Orioles make Sarasota home for spring training, so we’ll be going to a game for the first time. Claudia’s never been to a baseball game, so we’re going to change that. And I’ve never been to a spring training game. Killing two birds with one stone.
Then we’ve got tickets to see a play. Sarasota has at least three professional playhouses that I’m aware of, so there’s always an event going on. I haven’t been to a theater since I was in college, so that should be a lot of fun as well. Theater isn’t something I crave or anything, so missing out on it for all of these years wasn’t exactly a sacrifice. But I remember enjoying myself seeing live plays back in college and it’s something we’ve been talking about doing for a while now.
We’re also going to be getting our passports taken care of while we both have the time. We plan on going to El Salvador later this year for Christmas, so this’ll be a good chance to get that done.
Of course, we also have to fit some time at the beach somewhere in there. We’re lucky in that we already live somewhere that people travel to from all over the country – and the world – for their respective spring breaks. So we’re not going anywhere. We’re staying right where we are. World-class beaches are right around the corner, so no sense in paying to go anywhere else. Plus, the beach is free! Oftentimes the best things in life truly are free.
Financial Independence Can Be One Long Spring Break
What I’ve noticed since working from home is that life now is almost like one extended spring break for me. I don’t mean that it’s all parties and shutting the bar down. But when you’re constantly doing what you really want to do, life’s stress and troubles kind of melt away, which is the same feeling I always got during spring break.
And I’m still aggressively pursuing financial independence because I want to make sure this ride never stops. In the end, it’s all about owning your own time and customizing life to your specifications. Want to continue working hard? Great, because financial independence and work aren’t mutually exclusive. Want to hang out at the beach every day? Nobody’s going to tell you any different. Want to travel the world? It’s your oyster.
So for the first time in more than ten years, I’ll be taking a spring break this year!
There’s still some work to do, as I wasn’t able to get ahead on everything. But we’ll have more than enough time this week to do everything we have scheduled, enjoy the time off, and still get a few things done. But everything we’ll be doing – work and leisure alike – will be that which we want to do and that which we enjoy doing.
I’ll still be around, of course. I’ve got a couple of posts in the hopper which I’ll be publishing this coming Tuesday and Thursday – one an article about a recent stock purchase and the other that goes over February’s budget. So keep an eye out.
But let’s keep working. Let’s continue striving. Mt. Freedom is there for the climbing. And at the top of the mountain? One endless spring break.
What about you? Striving to make your life one long spring break?
Thanks for reading.
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