My entire financial life has had its ups and downs, but none more rocky than my last five years as a freelancer. Things are a lot better now, but it’s definitely challenged me in ways I’d never imagined. It builds character, right?
I was fairly lucky most of my adult life in that I was pretty much always gainfully employed, even if it was through at temp agency. Back in the 90’s (the good ol’ days) even if you were out of work, you could EASILY find temp work to pay the bills.
And although I made a lot of mistakes and have been in credit card debt off and on, I was always able to rebound quickly and pay it off. Some of my best memories and experiences have probably been made either with credit cards and/or not necessarily saving enough.
I’m in no way condoning being reckless with spending or going into credit card debt creating memories, but looking back over my life, there were things I bought where I necessarily “shouldn’t have,” but did spend a lot of money on anyway, and I don’t regret it:
I was an absolute music junkie in the 90’s. Although most were club/bar shows, I spent a good 4-5 nights per week going to see live music (especially when I lived in Seattle). I’m also fairly certain with the amount of CD’s I owned I spent a couple grand easily. I love being able to tell fun stories of some of the shows I went to.
Like the time I went to see this no name band at the infamous Crocodile Cafe, and Eddie Vedder jumped on stage out of the blue to sing with them. Or when I went to see Marilyn Manson in another small club, and he took a beer bottle, broke it on the side of the stage and started cutting himself. He was just standing there bleeding and sweating. Yeah, sounds kind of gruesome but dang it was pretty rad! Or the time I went to see Nine Inch Nails pretty early on in their career at the State Theater in Detroit, and during Head Like a Hole the balcony shook so violently from people going crazy it felt like there was an earthquake. Or the sod fight during Ministry’s performance at Lollapalooza.
By the way, I have since sold back as many CD’s as possible, but I kept all of my ticket stubs from concerts. Nowadays I’m picky about what I download, and my music taste has softened to more singer/songwriter types like Amos Lee and Jack Johnson. But I have such fond memories of all the shows I went to see.
I didn’t take my first major overseas trip (aside from Canada and Mexico) until I was 29 and decided I HAD to get to Europe before I was 30. Looking back I even think I waited way too long for that! I took the trip by myself and went to France, Italy, and Switzerland. This was also before the Euro and our dollar was strong so my money went a long way.
It was both exhilarating and terrifying traveling alone, but also incredibly memorable and confidence building.
One of my favorite trips was an REI adventure trip to New Zealand. It was around two weeks long over Christmas and New Years back in 2001. It was probably also one of the most expensive trips I’ve ever taken. But to this day is probably hands down my all-time favorite trip!
While I say that I don’t regret the traveling I have done, I DO regret actually not have travelled MORE. It’s something that I, and really you should make a priority in whatever way you can! Thinking back there is a lot of “stuff” I could have easily not spent money on so that I could travel more.
Making Necessary Changes
Two of the biggest turning points in my life was when I decided I had enough of living in Detroit and moved to Seattle without a job or knowing anyone, and when I quit my job of six months working at a movie trailer company in LA and moved back to Seattle…again without a job. At least the first time I moved I had some money saved up, and I was going to be paying around $100/month for rent. The second time was a bit scarier because I had more to pay in rent, and I was dealing with what I thought was a career failure, and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life.
Both were scary moves, but since I went with my gut, everything turned out just fine and I landed on my feet, and don’t regret what I did for a second.
So part of my “thinking big” plan is to start mapping out some long term goals for next year..and the next five years to create memories. I already have something exciting planned for 2014 that I don’t want to reveal quite yet, but stay tuned…
What “financial thing” have you not regretted?