Good evening everyone,
My name is the Independent Hoosier and I am going to equate my personal finance and life goals with LEGO…bear with me. It will be worth it, I promise.
As a child, I always enjoyed playing with LEGOs…I still do, just not as often because apparently societal norms construe that a 30-year-old man-child shouldn’t be building LEGOs all the time unless he is a father.
I always enjoyed building LEGOs. I reveled in the idea of putting them together, piece-by-piece, watching my creations come to fruition one block at a time. Then, when the model was complete…I broke it down and built something else or I continued building upon that foundation until I deemed it was complete. I LEGO’d (not sure if that is a word) on my terms, not anyone else’s.
I really did not play with my creations. To me, it was about the journey, building, and the actual completion of the goal at the end that drove this little farm kid from Indiana to pester his parents for more of those awesome little plastic bricks.
Once a model was complete, I did not show it off or worship it as if I was some sort of LEGO deity! Nor did I stop playing with LEGOs altogether. I found other sets of LEGOs to build and complete! The happiest part for me was reaching that peak point and completing the daunting task that had originally lay in front of me.
Okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic, but I am no engineer, and LEGO models are not easiest puzzles to put together.
However, little did I know that these little late night “wish I would have worn slippers” waker-uppers were not only building my cognitive, problem-solving mind but also formatting my brain to how I would eventually tackle tasks as an adult.
I did not realize it until just recently, but LEGOs are what set me up to strive to be the financially independent, goal-driven man I am today.
As I mentioned before, it was not just about creating whatever model was on the outside of the LEGO box, but how it stimulated my mind to get there.
I am currently that way with most aspects of my life. I do not have the desire to be the CEO of a company just to say that I am CEO. I want to enjoy the journey on the way to the top. *Note – no desire to be CEO of any company unless it is Hoosier FI.*
Nor do I want to be financially independent to just tell people I do not work anymore and lay around all day.
The same goes with many life goals for me. When I travel, I do not just look at the destination, I look at what I am going to enjoy on the way there. Hell yes, I love the beach, but if I can take an amazing scenic route with my girlfriend and dog and good music on the way…that is what matters to me.
Hell, when life is about the journey and not the destination, even a Kansas road trip can be fun!
The same goes with my finances. I enjoy the investing side, I enjoy the savings side, I enjoy the numbers, and I enjoy reading and conversing with the other amazing personal finance blogs in our amazing community.
However, the long-term goal for me in this life is happiness, not a set financial number. I do not have a set monetary goal that equates to me lounging around in a pool filled with pure glacier water and gold flakes, floating on a raft made of currency saying, “HAHA suckers! MADE IT!”
It is about the journey on this path to Financial Independence. It is about learning and saving and investing and all other aspects that filter in during the time. It is about minimizing the bullshit in my life and gaining knowledge and friendship from everyone along the way.
When I was a kid it was about having your friends over and building awesome LEGO sets and seeing what awesome creations you could come up with. We rarely “played” with our models, we just kept building.
When I reach my set goal, I could sit back and bask in all its glory and say “look what I did! I made (set number – TBD)!” But that is not me, I will move onto something else. Not because I am bored or unhappy, but because I want to tackle another LEGO model set (not literally, but maybe?) or in this case another life project.
I want to say, “that was fun. What’s next?”
Last fall I was in the LEGO store in Indianapolis. My girlfriend was shopping somewhere else in the mall and like most men (man-children) my age I wanted to check out the new LEGO kits at the LEGO store. While in the store, I was walking around and trying not to be too creepy when one of the employees came up to me and introduced himself. His name skips my mind at the moment, but the first thing I noticed was how happy he was. Not carnival clown creepy happy, but the look of “I enjoy my job because I work in the freaking LEGO store, man” happy!
We began conversing and soon I found that this gentleman was not just some guy working in the LEGO store because he was bored, but he was a retired civil engineer who helped build most of the schools in the Indianapolis Public School system. Literally, designed real life buildings and then retired and now builds real life LEGO sets.
This gentleman, I assure you, was not working in the LEGO store because he needed the money.
So, as I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I asked him, “So what the hell are you doing at the LEGO store? Are you bored?”
His reply was fantastic, “No sir. I am here because I enjoy it. I have built things my entire life. Why stop because I am retired? Plus, my grandkids love the idea that their grandpa works in the LEGO store.”
I want to be that guy!
Just as when I was a wee lad, it’s not about the destination, but the experiences I have along the way.
So, thank you LEGO, for not only instilling a sense of “I better pick these things up before my dad steps on them in the middle of the night,” but teaching me that life is not about just putting all the pieces together and finishing the task, but it is how you put all those pieces together and move on to the next goal.