It was warm summer day in Toronto. It was the year 2018. A good friend and I just finished jogging a few laps while bouncing ideas back and forth. As we sat on the bench, we looked out to the orange-blue gradient dusk. “We just have to save up fifty grand,” I said, as we continued to stare into infinity. “I calculated it last weekend, fifty grand is all we’d need, and we can take a year off and build our ideas.”
- 🏠 Rent: $1200 * 12 months = $14400
- 🚍 Transportation: $140 * 12 months = $1680
- 🍗 Food: $200 * 52 weeks = $10400
- 📱 Phone Bill: $90 * 12 months = $1080
- 🌐 Internet: $60 * 12 months = $720
- 🍿 Entertainment: $300 * 12 months = $3600
The above totals to $31,680, just shy of the fifty grand I’d estimated then. The point was, fifty grand was the savings you’d need to live more than comfortably for a year.
Here’s the thing: I’ve always fantasized about the idea of taking a break. In fact, one of the reasons why I’d decided to do what I did was that I needed some sort of a pause. Life was moving at an unprecedented pace. The idea journal kept on growing, there were books I wanted to read, people I wanted to meet. There were things I wanted to experience in life, and I had the energy. What I didn’t have much of was time. One late October day, I showed up at work and had set up a meeting with my manager. I told him that I’d be out by Q2 of 2020.
🥳 3-2-1, Happy New Year!
This was the year. The year I’d live my dream. I bought myself a New Year’s present: a two-month stay at a co-living space in Spain. I planned to stay during August and September. Then a family trip in October. Then, who knows what’s next.
The first few months flew by. Wildfires were setting forests ablaze. Kobe. Inactive volcanoes erupt. And then the pandemic hits.
We were asked to work from home. I took a book and a Rubik's cube off of my desk, thinking we'd be back in no time. Silly me. When I’d hoped for a pause, this wasn’t the kind I was expecting.
Or was it?
Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity. -Robert Pirsig
Around April, I started entertaining the idea of extending my stay. After all, who knows what’ll happen next. The job offered me a sense of security. And to tell you the truth, I was very fortunate to be working at this company. It’s honestly a great company to work for. But then, I started feeling a heightened sense of creativity. And then it hit me, quoting Robert Pirsig, that, “boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” I was sketching, writing, and learning the piano. I even ended up starting a radio show at work. Times will never be the same, but if this is the silver lining of the pandemic, I’ll gladly take it and wield creativity in all its glory.
I realized that this pandemic changes nothing. It doesn’t change the fundamentals. The fifty grand goal is just as valid as it was two years ago! In fact, the pandemic works towards my advantage. Less distractions, less expenditure, more time to master thy self.
I’d been working since I was fifteen. I remember doing overnight shifts at McDonalds and then heading straight to a 9am university class. I guess I didn’t really have any sort of breaks in between. And now, I can finally afford to have one.
In case you were wondering: no, I don’t have fifty grand. I ended up with twenty grand. That being said, I also have an emergency fund in case I need it. I’ll make sure to write another post around the finances. In the meantime, all the trips I’ve planned this year have been cancelled. And I’m also living at home which gives me a pretty good discount on rent. Transportation costs have also been cut since I’ve got nowhere to go.
While the world becomes uncertain, I become more certain that this is the best way to accomplish what I’ve always wanted: a pause. So that I can catch up on the things I’ve always wanted to do. While some people may invest their savings on real state, stocks, or materialistic goods, I’ve gone ahead and invested in myself instead. I’ve got enough runway for a year, plus-minus a few months. This will definitely challenge me in ways I can’t even imagine. But if I’m as creative as I think I am, I’m sure I’ll find a way. Or the universe will conspire to help yet another fella out.
So here’s my master plan:
- Share ideas with the world
- Generate income off of said ideas
- Use income from step 2 to repeat step 1
💵 Balance: $20,000.00