At the beginning of the summer, I outlined my grand plans to earn extra income this summer. And grand they were. Summer school wraps up today, and I only have two more meetings on the docket. Thanks to all of my school-related side hustling, I’ll have clocked in just shy of $3500 after taxes. That doesn’t even include the money I made tutoring or contributing to Tip Yourself. For someone who is hellbent on crushing her mortgage, you’d think I’d be pretty content. But I can’t help but wonder if I’ve been hustling too hard.
When I started this blog 11 months ago (!), I crafted a guiding principle of sorts. I wanted to live a more purposeful life one cent at a time. I wasn’t trying to teach other people how to be rich, to afford anything, or to retire tomorrow. I wasn’t even necessarily trying to teach myself how to do any of those things. All I wanted was to be more deliberate, more intentional.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m succeeding in so many regards, especially when it comes to charitable giving, emergency funds, and getting started with investing. I’ve also reigned in all the mindless consumerism and am currently waging a war on clutter. There is more purpose in my life.
But lately I have found myself time and time again having conversations that go something like this:
“I need to make more money.”
As far as reasons go, “why not” is one step above “because I said so”. There’s no actual thought or intention behind it. It’s a whim, a foible, a fancy. Sure, I could rattle off a list of things I could do with more money: pay off our mortgage sooner, retire earlier, travel more. But the ironic part in my ceaseless pursuit of earning more is that I’ve sacrificed my mini-retirement.
Mr. P has yet to answer my “why not” retort (smart man, indeed), so let me try to answer it for him. Why not? Because during the school year, I am at work from 6:45 am until 4 or 5 in the evening every day, if not longer. Then, I come home to rush through a workout or skip it entirely, grade papers while I attempt to make dinner, dash off to tutor, fine-tune the never-ending lineup of lesson plans, and then plan for the three different extracurricular activities I sponsor. Nevermind the daily, weekly, and monthly meetings. The parent phone calls, emails, and in-person conferences. Let’s not even mention the standardized testing or the bureaucratic nonsense involved in educational politics and reform. And then there’s the fact that I actually try to have some semblance of a life and be a somewhat decent wife, daughter, friend, and homeowner.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. In fact, it isn’t a job. It’s my career. It’s my passion. It’s my calling. I am not it in for fame, fortune, or glory. I love teaching. But part of what allows me to give my all to my students is my break. Part of what gets glorified in the Four-Hour Work Week and the like is the mini-retirement. Part of what people who pursue early retirement look forward to is time off. So maybe it’s time to savor what’s left of mine.
In these last few weeks of summer, here’s to fewer time sheets and more time outdoors. Here’s to less money and more memories, less errands and more relaxation. I am going to fill up my days with walks, puzzles, games, conversations, nature, and sunshine. I am going to read more. I am going to write more. I am going to sip my tea and taste my breakfast. I am taking a break. And it’s about time.
So Tell Me…How do you enjoy relaxing? What is your favorite way to take a break? Perhaps you indulge like Des?