On April 10, I walked out the door of headquarters, never to return. I didn’t leave on my own accord, but in hindsight, I was more than ready to go. You see, there comes a time when money just can’t compensate for the stresses and frustrations of the job. Yes, I had saved and invested for an early departure, but I had planned on making a graceful exit in about five years. So much for best-laid plans. Now here I am, four months later, totally into this new lifestyle. I celebrated my anniversary by visiting a friend on Chincoteague Island and taking in the wonders of the ocean. Each new month of freedom seems to open more more doors and bring new adventures. Here’s my 4-month anniversary log.
I am not completely financially independent, but I certainly have a great deal of freedom. The cool thing is that I am choosing how to spend each day. And while I am prioritizing the creation and launch of the Early Exit Academy, I have a great deal of flexibility. Last week I exercised that flexibility and it was one of the best weeks yet!
I can escape at a moment’s notice, so I called up a friend who had the day off and we took a little road trip. Virginia is such a lovely state with plenty of options within a few hours drive. We headed west toward the mountains, stopping to visit the magnificent Grand Caverns. It’s one of only two caverns in the country that features “shield” formations that grow out of the wall at all different angles. It was a great way to spend the day and take a break from course creation.
Later in the week I drove to Chincoteague Island on the eastern shore of Virginia to hang out with a dear friend. I walked the shoreline and stopped to explore nature and the Assateague lighthouse. And most importantly, I was able to catch up with my friend, who had endured some recent hard times. The flexibility of my current life allows me to be there for my family and friends, whereas my former career and crazy pace of life limited my availability. Freedom buys flexibility and it’s a great exchange.
I had great plans for creating a healthier lifestyle after being fired, but I got very lazy with grocery shopping and meal prep. Finally, I got my act together by starting a fasting regimen. And I signed up for Hello Fresh – it’s an added expense but if it means I eat healthier food, it’s worth it. Plus, I am starting my mornings by walking in the neighborhood. After just a few weeks, I am back in control of my habits and am looking forward to feeling more energetic and dropping some pounds.
I’ve spent the last four months developing the Early Exit Academy. It’s an overwhelming process. Not only do I work on organizational structure and course content, but I’m dealt a significant learning curve. My vocabulary has been broadened to include sales funnels, launch pages, and affiliate programs. The Academy will consist of two courses – one for Young Escape Artists and another for Mid-Life Dreamers. The Young Escape Artist version will be the first to launch. And I’ve set a deadline of November 1.
It’s exciting, and it’s scary! I’ve reached the point where it’s time to make a substantial investment to bring the course to life. I’m working with a graphic designer and illustrator to create the adventure map graphics that will bring a gamification element to the course. And I’ll need additional help on the technology end soon. As someone who spent decades saving as much of her paycheck as possible, it’s disconcerting to watch the balance of my accounts dwindle. Yet I have total confidence that the Academy will be a smashing success. Ultimately, the course will help so many others create a more rewarding life and reach financial freedom.
In the next month I will be spending some time moving my 30-Day Challenges to a new website – BetterLifeChallenges – and sprucing up this website. And I’ll be hard at work creating the Early Exit Academy and recruiting some help. But I’m also going to take some time off to enjoy nature and friends. Life is much more balanced and satisfying than it’s ever been.
Dr. Brenda is a sociologist, educator, blogger, motivator, and financial coach. In addition to blogging at The Five Journeys, she writes 30-day challenges at BetterLifeChallenges.com. Her passion is guiding people on their journey to financial freedom through coaching at DrBrendaMoneyCoach and online courses at EarlyExitAcademy.com.