Last week, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post about being Lazy. If given the choice, I would rather laze about my house and stream some of my shows or watch a movie. I also talked about the positive aspects of being lazy; a set-it-and-forget-it approach to my improving my finances.
But I haven’t always been lazy. I know that it’s an incredible privilege to be able to choose to be lazy. I wasn’t always this lucky.
After my home value dropped by 80% *AND* I lost my job, I didn’t have the financial cushion to pay my monthly mortgage, let alone kick back and relax during my 7-month unemployment period.
After my second unemployment stint (this one lasted five months, only 18 months after the prior one ended), I was at the end of my rope. I was *thisclose* to leaving my field of experience and education in City Planning and take a job with a local insurance agent. He told me I was going to have to work very hard for 2+ years, with no promise of a paycheck, just to build up my clientele. If I had done that and been successful, he would retire and leave his book of clients to me. Nothing was guaranteed. Days before I had to make that choice, Fortune stepped in and I landed a City Planning job back where my house was located in Southwest Florida.
3 years later, I took a 30% pay-cut to leave a toxic job, and I knew I had to use every tool at my disposal to claw my way back to financial stability. I became even more frugal, which was easier than I expected since that new job was a work-from-home position; no more lunches out every day, no more commuting expenses, and no more purchasing clothes or dry-cleaning for work.
But I also hustled, and I hustled hard. As I revealed in my interview with The Fioneers, sometimes I was working 50-60 hours per week on the side while driving Uber, in addition to my 40 hour per week job with the State of Florida. Uber driving isn’t lucrative, despite what thousands of TV and radio spots through the past few years have told you; I averaged ~$4 per hour in profits, once you consider the added expenses of gas, tires, brakes, oil changes, and depreciation that I would have otherwise avoided with my car sitting stationary in my parking lot.
My health suffered as a result. It’s been a really long time since anyone would call me skinny, but I gained 30 pounds during those 3.5 years of being sedentary, driving a thousand or more miles per week without even leaving my home county. Of course, being on the road all hours of the day and night meant I was going through drive-throughs and eating sugary sweets and carbonated beverages at convenience stores, just to stay awake for those highest-paying fares at the end of the night. Surge pricing would kick in as caffeine was surging through my veins, keeping me awake until I got home at 3 or 4 in the morning (sometimes as late as 7AM, after having worked 8 hours at my day job the day before).
And some people have it far worse than I do. I’m a single guy with no pets, no kids, and no significant other. I live alone, and my costs are borne completely by the guy typing on this keyboard. Nobody is depending on me putting food on the table or paying the electric bill besides Josh Overmyer.
I can’t imagine the pressure that is on the single mother, trying to feed and clothe and bathe their children after an exhausting day at work. I can’t imagine trying to help with homework, especially this insane Common Core math stuff, when your brain is fried from doing your own work all day. I can’t imagine trying to hold down multiple jobs, just to be able to afford rent. I just can’t.
So when I wrote about Lazy last week, I thought of all of those things. I also thought about me, an incredibly healthy (surprising, given my current weight of 360 lbs), young (36 is still young, even if I’m only convincing myself) guy, being so lazy that in the month of December 2018, I had exactly 0 days with 10,000 steps. So far in 4+ months of 2019, I’ve only missed hitting 10,000 steps on 15 separate days. In fact, since I posted Lazy 7 days ago, I’ve walked over 148,000 steps.
It’s ok to be lazy sometimes, but I have the youth, energy, and health to tackle the biggest problem I’ll ever face in my life. I don’t want to be 360 pounds forever.
Thank you to all of my Accountabilibuddies.