Monday, February 4, 2013

Long Term Goals

Last week, I came across a list of goals I defined in December, 2007. I had just received an offer for a full-time, post-graduation job, and I was about to start my last semester of college. Considering I haven't looked at this list in years, I was surprised to find that I had done a remarkable job of following the plan 22-year-old me had dreamed up. I was more surprised, though, to find this section at the bottom of the list:

Long term goals (5+ years)
  • Take a sabbatical, 6-12 months
  • Consider changing jobs
  • Achieve a positive net worth
  • Pay off student loans

Sure, my sabbatical has decreased to 3 months instead of 6-12, and my "consider changing jobs" has morphed into applying to a graduate program in a new-to-me industry, but these are all items that are still important to me. From the day we got married, TJ and I prioritized saving and paying off debt so that we could reach a positive net worth, and my student loans are scheduled to be paid off this summer (just in time for graduate student loans!).

I'm not going to lie, taking time off from the typical career path is scary. Exciting and freeing, definitely, but also, terrifying. I've had trouble shaking the "What if I'm wrong?" doubts that stubbornly reside in the back of my mind. What if we've misjudged our budget? What if we can't find employment when we get home? What if our young marriage can't handle the stress of daily travel? If we invested the money we saved for this trip, rather than spending it, we would be that much closer to true financial independence and a perpetual lifestyle of freedom. What if we're making the wrong choice?

Then, I come across little reminders like this list of goals, and I realize that this type of sabbatical is no passing fancy. It really is something I have dreamed about for years. When TJ and I were living in different states, we spent hours talking about this very trip, in all its different forms. Sure, there's a small chance I will look back and wish we had done certain things differently. But there is an absolute certainty that if we don't do this, we will both look back with a lot of regret.

And besides, it makes my plan to go to grad school full-time look normal by comparison.

No comments:

Post a Comment