I love the Olympics so have been watching and enjoying the games in Rio – I’ve stayed up as long as possible to catch certain finals and am pretty much watching as much as I can, mixing in all kinds of events and occasionally shedding tears myself when I see the winners cry with joy/relief.
The hours and hours and years of practice, dedication and single-minded focus to win a medal that only comes round every 4 years. Miss your chance and it’s another 4 years til your next attempt, and that’s if your body is still young/fit enough to compete at that level.
I’d love to apply the Olympic ethos of ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ to achieving FI/RE but alas, I couldn’t come up with anything clever off the top of my head, haha!
Not that I’m comparing myself to an Olympian (I certainly don’t make the sacrifices required) but in my own way, I am prepared to dedicate years of focus and perseverance to achieve my ultimate goal.
Maybe my journey to FI is a bit like running in the steeplechase event.
I’m just jogging around the track, saving and investing as I go along, rubbing shoulders with other PF/FI bloggers. It’s an international field, mostly US, others from Europe and of course, various Team GB members!
This is no ordinary race however – everyone is going along at their own pace, the aim just being to reach the finish line and achieve whatever personal goal has been set.
The runners are wearing their own kits, which some have saved up to buy new, others have bought theirs from bargain shops, although TFS appears to be wearing old grey underpants!
Around the track, there will be the usual steeplechase obstacles that need to be navigated past successfully. In this case, obstacles such as redundancy, financial emergencies and other life events. Fall at the hurdle and I’m just going to have to pick myself up and carry on.
Like bad weather conditions, other external conditions beyond our control may occur to make our progress around the track more precarious, such as stock market crashes, a drop in interest rates/yields, investments going sour. We need to make our way through these, hold our nerve and not panic.
So, we’ll all be winners when we get to that finish-line – that would be the happy ending except that not all of us will get there.
Some of us may change our minds as we’re plodding round the track.
Others may not be able to get past certain obstacles.
Still others may need to take a long rest before continuing their journey due to changes in their circumstances.
And some, after reaching their goal, may carry on running, just for the sheer joy of it or because they just want to keep going for a while longer (some call this the ‘one more year’ syndrome but I see nothing wrong with doing this if that’s what you want to do).
All, however will have learned something valuable from attempting the race in the first place.
So, I’m on the track and I’ve got a long long way to run til I get to that finish line. My ‘speed’ will depend on my savings rate, earnings potential, keeping expenses low and some luck with the external conditions.
I can see obstacles looming on the horizon – let’s hope I prove to be mentally as well as financially prepared to leap over them!