The Road to Freedom

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Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be free to do whatever I wanted to do. If you had asked my dad, he would surely tell you that I always did whatever I wanted to do. Well, at least I tried… thanks, dad.

When I search deep inside my soul, I know that having the freedom to do what I dreamt of doing was always my priority.

From the moment I was conscious enough to have my own independent thoughts, I knew that the most important for me would be to get out of the blackness and greyness that dominated my childhood. (growing up in the ’80s in a communist country like Poland was not fun!)

Influenced by film magazines and my vivid imagination, I believed that filmmaking and writing was my only way out and my my true life calling.  Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately, or otherwise I would have become a lawyer or accountant and die of boredom in the process), little I knew how the creative world operates. Working in the creative industry doesn’t necessarily mean FREEDOM to do whatever you want to do.

Photo by Jesse Bowser on Unsplash

When I think back to my childhood, I associated freedom with the ability to have a job that l loved and was passionate about while travelling the world without restrictions or fear. Of course, the idea of money never entered my consciousness then. My young mind understood freedom as a possibility to choose what my heart desired the most without ever considering money as part of the equation.  

With time and age however, I extended my limited understanding of freedom and added the ability to work on my projects, instead of following the corporate path. From an early age I knew I wasn’t going to be stuck in one place and one space only. The idea of working for someone else, giving away my precious time to receive a watch at the end of my working life wasn’t something I was willing to get on board with.

At the beginning of my creative journey I learnt the hard way that “making” (becoming successful) takes a long time, if you are willing to stick with your work through thick and thin, and sometimes even that isn’t enough. Unfortunately, I also learnt that being a woman, especially in the film industry, still works against you.

So, choosing to work on my project seemed like the only choice I could have made at the time. A choice I stuck by throughout my working life. 

My early awareness of investments came from films and newspapers. I saw that characters in films invested money and read that people lived off dividends. My curiosity was tickled once I realized that the power of compounding is the key, not one single project that would magically lift me above my previous questionable financial decisions. 

However, knowing something on the intellectual level is very different from implementing that knowledge. For years, I just floated about, knowing but not doing much with my knowledge. I only began my serious financial education in 2013, but I didn’t come across the FIRE movement until 2019. Why did it take me so long? I have no clue. The only explanation I can think of is that I wasn’t ready.

I knew that people who didn’t have to work for money existed. But that was only reserved for the millionaires, at least in my mind, until 2019 when I discovered Mr Moustache Money Man.

For years, I didn’t realize that being financially free and not having to work for money is a better path to freedom than chasing the bunny (that very one project, that one last push) that doesn’t want to be caught (this is how it often feels to me).

Since my understanding of freedom has expanded yet again, I now perceive freedom as not only the ability to freely move between countries (thank you, European Union) but also not having to rely on other people to make my career or projects shine, and the ability to walk away from jobs and situations that don’t serve my higher purpose. 

I had a shot of being financially free a few times in my life. Every time, because I didn’t understand the basic concept of what financial freedom gives and compounding wasn’t something people I knew did, I decided to invest money in projects and ideas that didn’t pan out the way I hoped. 

My strong emotional attachment to freedom of choice and my parents “work till you drop” work ethic left me vulnerable to the creative demons that tend to pull me in different directions more often than I would like to admit. 

However, after immersing myself in the FIRE movement, binge reading blogs and audiobooks, I finally started understanding the massive difference between having to work for money, even if you do what you love doing, and working on your projects and ideas for the pure pleasure of creating something unique and one of a kind.

After reading, listening and learning, it finally dawned on me what I was always hoping to achieve without realising what I was after.

I have to admit that for me learning about finances opened up many doors for self-acceptance, self-realisation and appreciation of my talents. Even if you don’t want to become financially independent, just learning a bit about the FIRE movement and what it stands for your personal growth will be time well invested.

Understanding freedom for what it is, understanding time management (not time management in the sense of how many tasks one can fit in a day) and what we can do with the free time we have back from not having to work, shifts the whole life perspective and brings back the child-like joy that leads straight to the path of self-discovery.

Below you will find my favourite books and blogs I listen to or read religiously. 

Mr. Money Mustache

JL Collins

rich and Regular

A Purple Life

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