Happiness now, or happiness later? I have given this question a lot of consideration since deciding to go full-timing. I’ve already shared my thoughts about how postponing what you want to do with your life until retirement is a bad idea, but I’m still dealing with this conundrum in other ways. Also, as of this posting, IO has been around for four weeks, so I figured a update of my plans was called for.
Mainly when I’m asking myself this now, it’s about my job. See I haven’t wanted to be there for quite some time, but still I’ve stuck with it because it’s the easiest and fastest way for me to get on the road. I may not be very happy now, but this way promises the greater happiness of RVing sooner than all other routes that I have been able to think up.
But somewhere, there has to be a balance. As I’ve mentioned in 9 Benefits of RVing I’m a big fan of living in the moment, and I’m not sure that I have explained what that means. Allow me to do so now.
It’s not about forgetting the future and just living for today. By that approach, I’d probably already be on the road, but have wasted a fair bit of time and money by making poorly thought out decisions. For a brief time, I’d be happy. But then I’d run out of funds and have to go back to the same sort of situation I’m in now. No, that is not a sustainable way of living. Instead, I have a plan. I’m being methodical, working step by step, and researching as I go to make informed decisions.
Striving for a better future and being mindful about the course you’re on is a good thing. It keeps you from falling into the trap of just going along with everyone else around you is doing. But you also need to appreciate where you are right now, and this is what I mean by living in the moment.
If you spend all your time planning and thinking ahead to how great tomorrow could be, you’re missing out on living today. And you will always only have today. Where you are right now might not be perfect, but you can take comfort in the fact that it is simply a reflection of your journey thus far, and that you hold the reins to where you’re going from here. The joy should come from the journey as much as the destination, because even at the end, when you’ve finally managed to reach that dream, you’ll likely find something else about your current situation at that point that you are unhappy with, and come up with a new goal. Such is life. Keep moving ahead, but don’t take for granted everything you already have. Be present in the here and now.
Currently in the here and now, I’m burning out at work. Originally I was planning on staying there at least until the lease on my apartment was up, which I realized is actually the end of September instead of August like I originally thought. This route makes good sense from a planning standpoint. It requires no extra effort on my part, and I can continue sliding along at work, and earning money to fund my RV dream. I’d continue making enough that buying the Casita now wouldn’t be a problem. The insurance for it and paying monthly to store it somewhere since I can’t park it at my apartment complex would be no big deal, and I’d probably still be saving a little on top of that.
It sounds like a good idea, until I consider how much it’s wearing on my state of mind. There is a pretty good chance that if I stayed, I wouldn’t make it until next August (September, gah) anyhow. I’ll either pass a point where I’ve had enough and walk off the job, which is a horrible way to go because then I couldn’t get a recommendation from my boss – she likes me and the work I do. Or my quality of care would drop off, at which point I’d have to leave because I work as a veterinary technician (like a nurse for animals) and less than my best is just not acceptable to me being in a healthcare related field.
Notice how I said I work as a veterinary technician, and not that I am a veterinary technician. I originally typed it like that without thinking about it, but it rings true to me even after going back over my draft. So often when people ask “What are you?” they’re asking how you earn your living, what your job is. I like to think that I fill many rolls, and that my employment is only one small fraction of who I am. But now I’m getting off topic.
So after much fretting about what the right course of action was and being miserable one too many days from a stressful day at work, this past Friday I informed my boss that I would be leaving at some point after the holiday season. She took it remarkably well. Offered to write me a recommendation letter for where ever I apply next, and even had a contact for a related job opening not too far away. It helped my case that she is also suffering from undue amounts of work-related stress and can sympathize.
So what happens next? After the holidays are over, I start looking for a new job. I don’t have a set time limit that I have to leave by which is nice so I get to search around for something that’ll work. In a way, this is sort of an exercise of what full-timing for me will be like, as I’m planning on taking temporary jobs while I travel, and any job I pick up now I may or may not stick with after Septermber when I am ‘free to roam about the country’.
I’m pretty sure of two things though. Number one, I don’t really want another vet tech job again, at least not right now. I love animals, but I don’t love being a vet tech and I need a break from it. Two, that any job I might be able to pick up around here will be paying less than my current one. So now I’m crossing my fingers that it will at least pay enough to cover rent and gas and all that stuff and allow me to hold steady money wise until the lease is up and I can move somewhere cheaper to start saving again.
Since I’m expecting a decrease in pay, I’m holding off on buying the Casita for the time being. It saddens me more than a little, because this sets all my previous plans back. But being miserable until September just wasn’t worth it. I’m determined to make RVing work, I want it more than I’ve wanted anything before, and so rest assured that full-timing will still happen. I just need to be patient for a little while longer while I re-calculate my path.
Oh, and before I go: current finances quick. I am currently at just over $17,400 saved in the bank. Four weeks ago I was right around 17k, so I’ve managed to save about $200 per paycheck, quite a bit better than my average has been – the overtime has helped with that. I had already gotten a quote from Geico for RV insurance on a Casita (my truck and renters insurance is through them so it just made sense) guestimating the age of the RV and amount of time used (part time for now of course) and it worked out to less than $20 per month, I forget the exact number. RV storage for the place I called around here said $55 a month to park it in an open lot. So add that $75 to my cost of living for a month, and it shows that at my current job, I could indeed buy the Casita now (at $10k) and still be good money wise. But now that’s all blown out of the window.
Plans were indeed meant to be broken sometimes. But here’s to being one day closer to where you want to be, even if the road might not be as straight as you had wished. Here’s also to finding peace in where you are right now.
I’m sure all of you out there have had plans change unexpectedly at some point or another, it comes with the territory of stepping outside of the ordinary and reaching for something few others dare to do. What sort of tradeoffs have you had to make when plans fell through?