I had a good friend tell me last week that he envied me. At first, I couldn’t understand why. He then went on to explain that he would love to be unemployed for a while, as I am now, because unemployment brings freedom.
In the middle of the week, another friend confessed to me that he’d like to be doing what I am doing now – trying to make self-employment work – because he hopes to do the same someday. He is watching my progress with extreme interest.
Another friend merely covets my car, and wants to know if I’ll be selling it soon, now that I don’t have a job (the yellow one, not the blue one). He could be seen as more of an opportunist than a friend, but I know he is joking… sort of.
How did my situation become an object of desire to so many? I began to think about this. You know, this is everything I have always wanted as well: to not work a 7 – 5 job, to have abundant free time to do… well… whatever I’d like to do, to have a wonderfully supportive family, to drive a fun car, and recently, to have wealth dropped in my lap, thanks to all those stock options my former company kept giving to me over the years. I AM an object of envy; I’m living a life of luxury; not a life of frivolous spending mind you, but I have great “wealth” right now, and I am truly blessed.
The question I posed to myself a while ago, as I was preparing for my inevitable unemployment, was this: What does one do with eternity? This is a two-fold question: one part deals with the “eternal” feel of abundant time, and the other deals with eternity itself.
The unemployed and the retired will feel the stress of abundant time if they don’t have a hobby or a passion; if they didn’t plan ahead. Retired folks often die shortly after retirement because they had nothing more to live for! I wanted to have a plan (so as not to die).
And as for the truly eternal aspects, I put my trust firmly in Christ. After all, we’re only here on this earth for a short while, but eternity is… well… eternal. I want to arrive in the right eternal place; hopefully taking as many of my friends along with me as I can.
So, I’m in this enviable position right now; living a life of luxury. How am I doing so far? Well, I’m still resting and learning to enjoy post-work life. Soon (very soon), I should begin to think about all those things I promised myself I’d do should I ever find myself cash-rich and unemployed (or self-employed or retired) with abundant time, as I am now. I really should be doing those things while I can! When else would I?
So rather than just sitting around and dreaming about it, I should act. I should write the Great American Novel. I should travel around the world. I should create a sustainable self-employed income while I still have a safety net. I should act… or regret will follow some years from now when I’m back in a 7–5 job, never having accomplished anything on my list.
For this all-to-brief moment of time, I have a huge window of opportunity. I should go for it.
So rather than being envied, I’d like to be an inspiration to others by actually doing something significant that others can aspire to. Inspiration beats envy every time because inspiration is based on what you do, while envy is often based on what you have. It would be a shame to become an object of ridicule because I was in an enviable position and did nothing inspirational with it. That would be a wasted life. God has given me this rare opportunity to do something significant, so I should DO something significant!