My not-so-secret plan for years has been to quit my job at the post office after we paid off our house. Well, we finally made that final mortgage payment last month (cha-ching!), and guess what? I’m still working at the post office. And for the reasons I’ve outlined below, I’m almost even enjoying it (or at least it doesn’t suck too badly), for now.
Somehow, knowing that most of my income is now disposable makes going to work every day much more palatable. Working because I want to and not because I have to feels incredibly empowering and makes work much less stressful. While I still haven’t taken the leap to what I consider the ultimate freedom — making my own schedule — the freedom of being mortgage-free is pretty sweet.
Maintaining a healthy emergency fund and growing my “freedom fund” have always been priorities, but my savings has been accumulating at an even faster rate now that I’m mortgage-free. I’ve also bumped up my retirement account contributions by a few percent. Woo hoo!
But I’m not just stacking up paychecks and watching my savings grow. I’ve also loosened up the purse strings a bit and let myself buy a few things that I deferred while I was hyper-focused on paying off the house and turbo-saving for my early retirement — like the cool new Chromebook that I’m writing this on. Plus, income from my day job not only supports my own creative endeavors, but also enables me to support my favorite writers and creators by purchasing their books, subscriptions, and other products.
After researching my options, I found that decent private health insurance is sooooo expensive, and cheaper health plans have huge deductibles and don’t provide much coverage. My health insurance at work covers pretty much everything and is insanely cheap. And while I’m fortunate to be in excellent health now, I’m not getting any younger. 🙂
Schedule and Routine
I admit, I’m still not fond of my early-morning, 6-day workweek. That’s probably the toughest part of the job. But the upside (as I keep reminding myself every morning when my alarm goes off at 4:30) is that I’m free most afternoons to do whatever I want — like write, or take a nap. I’ve almost got that whole work-life balance thing down. Plus, I feel a little lost without some kind of outwardly-imposed schedule. After a vacation, I appreciate getting back into the comforting routine of work.
I like my co-workers, and I have strong hermit-like tendencies. I need to get out of my head and into the real world on a regular basis, and work forces me to do that. If I didn’t have a job to go to every day, I’d probably never leave my house. Except maybe to go to the liquor store. That would be bad.
So maybe I’m a weirdo, and maybe I’m just scared to make a big change right now, but while I’m figuring out my next move (if I even have one), I’m embracing my current reality and enjoying the ride. I make a conscious effort every day to focus on the many positives of my situation instead of the few negatives. Practicing this kind of mindful acceptance isn’t always easy, but I’m learning to be happy where I am and not stress about it. It just feels like the right thing, for me, for now.