Day 269 | $3,720.97 paid | $8,175.76 until freedom
I am not a mustachian
Inevitably when I let slip to friends that I have a blog about paying off my student loans I am forwarded to Mr. Money Mustache’s fine site. Before this week I had only casually browsed on it. Each time I felt the same way that I did when I read the later episodes on NMHD: this blog is not geared toward me; I cannot understand this struggle.
Another crewer from back in college is helping me with TMAP and is a fan of MMM, so when he posted that he would be visiting a bar in Seattle, she sent me the link. Fortunately(?) I was sick today and couldn’t go to work, and I told her I’d go for her.
Once I penetrated the crowd I met a few really nice people. I don’t remember their names, but I got to chatting with three fellows. As I remember it my first question was “how many people here do you suppose are running financial blogs of their own?” I was met with three blank faces. Turns out not that many people like to write. Actually, I don’t like writing either.
I asked if they’d heard of No More Harvard Debt. Of course they had. I told the story of my own blog. All three of the guys I was talking to were in tech. One worked for Microsoft, and another for Amazon. I think it’s fair to assume that if I had their salaries while living my lifestyle I would have paid off my loans by late July. These were some really great dudes – personable, thoughtful and not the least bit condescending – but I felt like an alien.
I’ve been getting a sense that the financial blogging that’s out there now is about how to break yourself out of the mindless earning and consumption cycle we’re born into in the USA. How to focus on what actually matters in life, which is time. I’m reminded of a lecture I watched, delivered by the late Randy Pausch. I’m reminded of Thoreau, which I’ve never read. Thoreau is even later.
I may have been the only person in that bar to be facing external financial challenges instead of the internal battle of learning to leave the marshmallow. I feel more sure now that this uphill battle isn’t worthless. I’m still fighting. I’m still living all Spartan-like. I know the difference between need and want, and that makes me special. Today I realized, formally, that my battle is not for financial freedom, but for better access to my own precious time. Financial freedom is just the interim goal.
Yeah. No duh, Alex. That’s obvious.
I know it’s obvious, beloved reader, but it turned into words in my head today. And I wish you wouldn’t belittle me when I’m all shiny-eyed.
I’m still trying to find a source for business cards. So far nothing has sold, but one might argue that I haven’t really launched yet, even though it’s on facebook and I’ve paid for web hosting for the year. Does it still take money to make money? Of course it does.