A Look Back Offers Gratitude, Perspective, and an Optimistic New Year
It’s hard to believe that Screw The Average is over two years old! It’s been and will continue to be a place where we share our journey. A journey to pursuing financially independent, retire early (FI/RE), becoming digital nomads, house sitting full time, and travel hacking adventures. And of course, it’s not just rainbows and butterflies, so Screw The Average is also a place where we share our mistakes and lessons learned.
We’ve learned a lot in the past couple of years, but seeing as how life is a continual path of learning and growth, we’re looking forward to the future!
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Looking Back to Move Forward
2016 was the year we changed everything; we sold, donated, or discarded 95% of our belongings, turned in our apartment keys, and set of with only a 36 liter backpack apiece. It was our gateway year and our sights were set on a year of long-term continuous travel abroad, all while being digital nomads and continuing to pursue FI/RE.
2017 was the year of travel adventures, life changing experiences, and growth as a couple. We traveled through so many countries and experienced incredible cultures across three different continents. We proved to ourselves that life as travel hacking, house sitting, long-term traveling digital nomads pursuing FI/RE was possible!
2018 was the year we decided to turn our one time year long traveling adventure into a way of life. We house sat and hotel travel hacked throughout North America and while it was still an adventure, it was now a proven way of life.
It was no longer a time in our life that had been planned out and worked toward for years in advance. It was a time that seemed to naturally flow from the previous epic year of travel abroad, yet it now came with more responsibility, decision making, and efforts towards clarifying and solidifying future goals.
2019 has yet to be defined, but like most people we’ve taken time at the end of 2018 to reflect. And to be honest, our reflections are much more critical and a bit tougher to face this year.
While it may be a bit over simplified, our end of year reflections in 2016 and 2017 were full of anticipation of the year to come as the hard work in preparing and planning for them had been in large part already completed.
Life in the last year was different though. We knew that 2016 and 2017 would result in incredible growths and changes in ourselves. But in 2018, we couldn’t plan ahead for what we didn’t know and so it was a new chapter in our lives that was rather undefined.
In doing so we realized that some of the things we’ve done have been through deliberate choices, while others have been the result of a snowball effect from the last two years.
Being honest with ourselves, the results have been mixed.
Our Goals: Are We There?
In some ways 2018 achieved this goal, but in many ways we fell short. Our commitments and financial goals (think financially independent, retire early) often interfered with being able to do anything we wanted whenever we wanted.
When you’re trying to save a large percentage of your salary, it’s a constant balance with where and how you spend your income. It’s complicated further when large financial expenditures are on the horizon and there’s a push to earn a bit more (to not dip into savings). The balance of work and life is easily disrupted.
We grasped this realization in the later half of 2018 and started making headway to change this. As we close out 2018 we realize we aren’t there yet. We’ve put plans in place, from small daily life changes (staying physically and emotionally healthy!) to big restructuring changes in where and how we spend our time and money (professional, ScrewTheAverage.com, and leisure).
It’s not going to be easy, as lifestyle changes never are. But if our adventures of 2016, 2017, and 2018 are any indicator, it’s going to be worth it!
Gratitude Through Perspective
By taking a look at the past we can not only see where we need to adjust and pivot, but we’re also reminded of all of the wonderful experiences we’ve had that have been the fruit of good decisions along the way.
We recognize that there are areas in which we’ve failed. However, because we’ve acknowledged our failures and are actively correcting and making strides in the right direction, we choose to focus on what we’re gaining, not what we don’t have!
It’s not an easy feat to honestly and critically review our past decisions and behaviors and take lessons from them. It’s all too easy to sweep them under a rug and write them off as “I am who I am today because of them”. But being our toughest critic is how we improve, and continue to live (and love) our lives with intentionality instead of life simply happening to us.
So while life might be a bit bumpy over the next few months as we adjust and change the course of a few things, we remember one very important thing. It’s our perspective that dictates how we see and experience life. We can be disappointed that we aren’t where we want to be, or we can be excited that we’re that much closer to it than we were before!