Freedom, where art thou?
Accepting my fate and partially putting myself back onto the traditional path
It took me months to finally accept my reality— that unless I get back to a traditional 9–5, I’m not going to have enough to cover rent. I didn’t survive the entrepreneurial dream but did gain clarity in my goals and wants.
After losing my job due to company closure, I vowed to never go back into the paid 40 hours employment gig ever again. I was traumatized from losing my entire career in one phone call — the late nights, the sacrifices and the toxic cycle of a first-time mother maternal guilt and sleep deprivation was all for nothing.
Deep dive into entrepreneurship
Right after the phone call, I jumped right into the idea of being my own boss. It was a screw everyone. I don’t need a boss. I can be my own boss kind of attitude.
But I was chasing after the wrong metric. I wanted money because, to me, money meant freedom. If I had money, I could buy a house and never have to deal with landlords, moving and competing with a hundred other applicants for a place to live ever again. If I had money, I could do whatever I wanted. The thoughts and daydreams about what I would do if I had money.
But when none of my multiple ventures didn’t work, I became disheartened by the slow results and the sinking bank account. It all made sense at the time but now — all I could hear the original part of my brain, the part that always adheres to rules and societal expectations, is I told you so. You’ve definitely fucked it this time.
My rebellious and creatively disruptive side now sits on a chair in the corner, pouting with arms crossed. It has gone quiet and temporarily accepted its defeat.
Re-evaluating the long term plan
The biggest issue we’re currently facing is housing. It’s one thing to be able to live anywhere, it’s another to have a toddler creature that’s completely dependent on you to provide. The option to just go back to the parents and hang out in the spare room is no longer there.
While we don’t have to vacant the current place until February 2020, a year can move fast if you’re not paying attention. And when we do have to leave, market rent will probably be $100 — $150 extra on top of what we’re currently paying. It’s horrendous but we can’t move. We have a blended family and life becomes a bit more complicated with logistics and relationships.
To get a mortgage, you need at least 20% deposit — or $130,000 because the lowest priced houses that aren’t moldy or falling apart currently sits at $650,000. I’ve done the math. If I go back to work and save up my paycheck, then we might have enough in 2–3 years.
Gracefully accepting defeat…but refusing to settle
I accept that I didn’t make it to be part of the survivorship bias — that I was deluded into thinking that things will just happen and work out. Every entrepreneur needs that good dose of optimism. It’s the thing that helps fuel their successes.
But often, we give ourselves a false sense of reality because we only see the success stories. We know of the failed ones but their stories get swept under the rug. We tell ourselves that we’re different, that we’re going to make it and ignore reality until it hits you in the face — mostly in the form of credit card debts and people knocking at your door asking for their money.
Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. It is a form of selection bias. — Wikipedia
But I don’t want to get to that stage. Which means I’m throwing in the towel now. Except I’ve learned something this time around.
The last time I pulled off this attempt at freedom by making lots of money stint was back in my early 20s. But then when I got a job, I settled. This time — I’m going to do something different.
There have been lessons and it was Warren Buffett and Casey Neistat that got me to realize my mistakes.
Thank you, Warren Buffett…and Casey Neistat
When money becomes the end goal, you lose sight of the important things in life. You do things that make you miserable. You push through hours that you hate. You become an empty hollow shell that’s chasing the ideology that money fixes everything.
Yes — money does help with the physical and material — but not so much with the internal desires.
During the past few months, I’ve binged a lot on Warren Buffett. It’s not your typical Netflix series but it certainly got me thinking. His famous pick your top 5 things and focus story finally clicked inside my brain as I sort out my material and personal priorities with the help of something Casey Neistat said while I was doing the dishes.
I washed dishes so I could make movies. it was never a way for me to make money
— Casey Neistat
Where to from now?
It turns out I had the idea of freedom all wrong. I was young, confused, angry and annoyed. I worked hard and gave up life in general for my job but had nothing to show for it. I played the entrepreneurial game and lost. There is a high possibility of eviction if I don’t keep up the rent.
I wanted freedom but didn’t know what freedom really meant. I thought money would be the answer but I wasn’t really good at making it as an entrepreneur. I am, however, capable of making a good sum behind someone else’s desk.
After hearing Casey Neistat’s viewpoint on life, I started to evaluate my own. What are the things that truly made me happy? It turns out that I only had a singular answer — to be able to create without constraints from others.
So far, I’ve been able to write about anything I want on a platform that freely distributes without bias. I want to code projects that deepen my understanding of my chosen technology paths. I also want to give back to the community.
But first, I need a way to cover the necessities of life — which means going back into a 9–5 for now. It’s my equivalent of washing dishes. But it’s not forever — just long enough to get the things I need so I can do the things I want outside of the required 8 daily hours.
And this time around, I’m not going to settle when I get home. I’m going to keep creating. I’m going to keep writing. I’m going to keep doing the things I want to do and maybe one day, I’ll get to do what I want to do full time — because if Casey Neistat can do it, then so can I.