Staring at Your Future
Every day I head into the office via train or bike and each day is similar to the next. There are days that I look at people on the train as they get off and wonder how long they have been doing the same routine, wearing the same suit and tie or skirt and blouse. If I looked out this same window every morning for 10 or 20 years would things really change?
In the morning I very seldom will see a smile on a morning commuter’s face it is certainly not the morning norm. Most are listening to music and podcasts, others are playing games on their phone, while others are reading on a kindle or turning pages on a paperback book, and some are just staring out the window and thinking. I wonder if they are thinking about the day ahead at work. I sometimes think about the day ahead at work and do my best to stop this nonsense in its tracks, I mean I get paid while I’m at work not thinking about the excel sheets on the train and planning for the day ahead. Is it possible they are thinking about how great or difficult things have been recently? I wonder if anyone is thinking that they cannot keep doing this for another 5, 10, or 20 years?
As I get off the train I am weaving through traffic to get to the outside light, somehow attracted like a moth to an outside lamp. During this weave through traffic it looks as though we are all going through a march to the light, one by one we walk through the platform to the escalator. It is a rarity but some take the stairs and a few take the elevator, but we all do it almost in unison like a march to a drum we all know the beat to. We are all in a hurry to escape the train, hurry past the platform, and step or wait on our escalator or stairs to the outside light. Each day we hurry to the light, maybe we are all trying to be early at our jobs to impress our boss or we are trying to hurry so no one notices we are late. We all seem to be hurrying to the light with a briefcase, messenger bag, or briefcase by our side carrying lunches and important documents and when we get to that light we are in the same hurry to our jobs. How long can we be in a hurry to get to work?
There are days I am the guy in a hurry, wondering why the tourists or chatty Cathy’s are walking as slow as my grandma with a bad hip, are you not all aware I am in a hurry to get to my office. I sometimes get mad at those who are not aware of their surroundings, catch me before coffee and I might just tell you about it. Does that make me the crazy guy who just needs to calm down? Yes. Although I have gotten better, those days are very far apart from happening, most days I am the one laughing with Mrs. Even Steven and asking if we can get coffee together. I listen to her thoughts and concerns as she starts the day; you see I’m really a relaxed person I like to think that one of my strengths is remaining calm in pressure situations. I wonder if you consider life a pressure situation if you need to be at work for the next 40 years.
When I arrive at the office, I’m checking the clock to make sure I made it on time. It’s funny how one cares not so much about being late, but having a conversation that you arrived late. Honestly I could show up an hour late, wouldn’t bother me very much, but having a conversation with your boss about this action of tardiness is like listening to your least favorite music on repeat for an hour. I don’t like to listen to music I like on repeat for an hour, so I arrive on time, over and over.
When I walk to get my morning coffee, a highlight for my day, I have a few more smiles and laughs as I walk through the concrete jungle with less worry and cares than most. The morning walk whether with co-workers or by myself as I stare at the people around me is enjoyable. As those around me make the necessary steps to work some more rapid than others as they get off this train or that bus, but all seem in a hurry. My morning coffee is a highlight because I look at life a little differently. I stare at those around me and wonder if that person is me in a few years or many years down the road? I sometimes see the small older men in business suits and the briefcase before I was born and have one of two general thoughts:
- This man loves his job, he is 60, 70, or 80 and gets up every morning to come into work and say hello to Geraldine his secretary and Robert his colleague. Sure the walk takes a little longer, but the chance to work is a blessing each and every day.
- I feel sorry for this man, he is 60, 70, or 80 and he still have to come to work every morning. Most of his colleagues are gone now; many fresh faces have replaced those that used to be around him. It must take this man forever to walk to work at his age as his pace is at a slow crawl, I worry that this man has no choice or doesn’t know anything else but to work each and every day.
This could be me, I could be the old man in the suit walking downtown on my way to work 30 years from now.
When I get into the office I see individuals of all age ranges, from fresh out of college to more gray hairs and closer to retirement age. I wonder less about the college kids, most of them are happy to be at their first jobs and getting a paycheck in the bank every 2 weeks. I can’t help but think about the 50 plus crowd, what are their plans? I hear subtle jokes about never retiring and I want to yell back that you can retire, you really can. I don’t have first-hand experience, but I will soon, please read my early retirement blueprint and let’s see what you can do to get there. My first-hand experience is lacking but there is more people just like me striving to reach financial independence. Some keep detailed spreadsheets, but like myself love seeing the big picture on Personal Capital a site I find myself checking more and more to see my net worth grow as I get closer to the day I am able to remove myself from the morning commute for good. When do you think the morning commute will stop for you?
Co-workers that are in the 18-35 range I don’t think much about in the retirement space, I highly doubt many are thinking of packing it in and buying an RV to whisk down the road to Montana and camp for the month. When I look at the 55 year old down the hall, I worry that I could be looking into the future. Am I going to be here 20 years from now, taking the same train to work, grabbing the same coffee and deciding if buying a coffee is in the budget? I have plans to avoid this situation, as I plan to retire early. I have many doubters and those who do not drink the Kool-Aid like I do, but each day as I pay off my student loans, ditch my Mercedes Benz and the car loan to go with it, I get closer and closer to my income being greater than my expenses. It’s sometimes a reality check to see those walking the same steps to work, taking the same train, and going to the same office. It certainly makes you look at your future.
If you are traveling down the road wondering if your next step is towards financial freedom, it’s time to look into your future and what’s around you today so you can change your tomorrow. Getting the big picture all in one place with Personal Capital has really helped me see what I can do with my finances today and in the future. If you don’t know where you are today, how do you know where you are going in the future? If you’re looking for a great way to track your net worth, analyze your portfolio fees, manage your cash flow, and get a handle on your finances for today and the future, sign up with Personal Capital today.
Do you see someone at work that you are afraid that could be you in 10 or 20 years?