Flashback to when you were a senior in high school or college. Do you remember the second half of the year or final semester? Did you get that itching feeling where you were ready to be done?
I believe many referred to this as senioritis. Common symptoms include but are not limited to lower grades, not completing assignments, cutting class, laziness, lack of motivation, and finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
I definitely caught this bug in high school and college.
I vividly remember all of these symptoms. Skipping class was a regular event in high school. I skipped so much class that I was reported for truancy; this almost resulted in legal action by the school/county. I knew skipping class was wrong but my friends and I still checked out of school.
High School Senioritis
We had senioritis and we had it bad. It got worse as the weather got warmer. We would play hooky from class any chance we got. Our go-to adventure was a day trip to the rope swing in the afternoon. This was a cool outdoor spot that we converted into the ultimate ‘bro spot.’ This place was equipped with fishing equipment, a fire pit, benches we made out of logs, and a rope swing that would carry us out into the middle of the creek.
We often found ourselves at the bro swing during the middle of the day or after school. Casually swinging into the water, lazily lounging around in a hammock, and occasionally sipping on a beer was common practice. No thoughts of school and not a care in the world. Life was great and we lived in the moment.
At this point in life, I was doing the minimum to get by. To say that I was checked out was an understatement. I was mentally done with high school and ready for the next chapter of life. College, parties, girls, and freedom. Pretty much anything but that essay for my high school English class that I had not started.
Unfortunately, my senioritis got the best of me. I had to take a course over the summer to officially graduate.
I also remember the exciting feeling of the unknown associated with the next steps in life. During high school, it was moving out of my parents’ house, moving away and attending college. Making new friends and saying goodbye to old friends. Not having to follow any rules. Better yet, setting my own rules.
Stay up til 4:00 am when I have an 8:00 am a lecture? You bet.
Feel like sleeping in until an ungodly hour? Check.
Learning that every action in life has consequences? Sometimes the consequences are good and other times they are bad. Learned that too.
College is often a great place to learn both academic and life lessons. Personally, I made many mistakes and experienced many growing pains as a college student. I made some expensive mistakes like failing out of college… Twice.
I also learned many life lessons and gained academic knowledge while in college. After a few years of trial and error, I finally got the hang of this ‘school thing’. I transferred to a new school and got my shit together. This was reflected in my improved GPA and graduating near the top of my class.
But… senioritis seemed to make a comeback my last semester of college.
During my senior year of college, that exciting feeling returned. This was accompanied by listening to “Graduate” by Third Eye Blind on repeat and full blast. The next step in life was ‘becoming an adult’ or ‘adulting’ as the kids call it these days.
My concentration waned that final semester. I kept most of my grades up but definitely slacked off towards the end. The seniors (my self included) were definitely having more fun than we probably should have; I have no regrets about my decisions.
Leaving the academic world and creating the life of my dreams awaited for me. The economy wasn’t in the shitter anymore, but things still weren’t great. I had applied to almost 100 jobs with no luck.
Thankfully, I found a job shortly after graduating with the assistance of the school’s President; he was kind enough to refer me as ‘his best student’ to a local employer. Since then, I’ve been in hustle mode.
Introducing Senioritis FI
Warning: Symptoms of Senioritis FI may include a decline in work ethic, increased apathy in the workplace, increased daydreaming of financial independence, planning more vacations, drafting an exit plan, less motivation, and that unmistakable feeling of being ready to be done.
Today, I feel like I’m in the final semester on my path to financial independence (FI). I’m mentally checked out and ready to be done with Corporate America. Every day, notwithstanding the crazy market conditions, I am blazing closer and closer to financial independence. FINANCIAL FREEDOM.
I have that itchy feeling of Senioritis FI. My desire to work hard or even work at all is dissipating. Getting out of bed some mornings is a struggle. It’s challenging to keep my work ethic up some days. Heck, I might’ve even played hooky from work a few times.
I am not financially independent yet, but I am close-ish. There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Most months, my rental properties provide enough passive income to support my spending habits and lifestyle. But, my emergency fund is light (thanks rental property #4), most of my investments are in retirement accounts, and I still need to build up a buffer.
Yet, part of me longs for a gap year like Noah and Becky took last year. Check out their year-long adventure here. Or maybe do something cool like Chad Carson’s 17-month adventure with his family in Equador which you can see here.
Or wouldn’t it be awesome to move abroad like Jim; he retired at the end of last year and heading to Panama with his family. Maybe cruise around the states in an Airstream like Steve and Courtney. Better yet, I could be reunited with my love (the mountains), go hiking and play with dinosaurs like Carl.
My work is no longer fulfilling. I am tired of battling with burnout and am ready for a change. I am ready for some downtime and to focus my life energy on meaningful and fulfilling activities.
Though I have not achieved financial freedom, I am confident that I could survive a long time without much financial pain. I am leaning towards taking a gap year (or longer) to decompress and enjoy life. Traveling the globe and knocking out bucket lists items while I am still in my twenties sounds very appealing.
But what if I cannot get another job with similar pay? That’s ok. Do I enjoy my six-figure income? Sure. But I was able to get by on less than half of what I make now. I don’t need to make $100k+ a year to survive. I was able to save money on an entry-level salary. Also, I have my real estate income to fall back on now – which I didn’t have 6 years ago.
What if you can’t get another job? Well, that’s a risk I am willing to take. I am willing to bet on myself, my drive, and skill set. I think someone would be willing to employ me again if I needed it. Would it be the same type of work or pay? Maybe not, but I could get by waiting tables or flipping burgers. This is kind of like BaristaFI.
At a minimum, some may say I am Lean FIRE and able to cover all the essential expenses. I am definitely not Fat FIRE like some. Candidly, I don’t know if I ever need to be Fat FIRE as I have never spent that much in a year.
Maybe I will give into my Senioritis FI and pull a fuck it FI (FIFI) like my friend Miss Mazuma.
Or do I suck things up for another year? And add plenty of cushion in my financial freedom plan and retire at the ripe age of 30? Or perhaps I find a way to overcome burnout, learn to deal with Corporate America, and keep working for a while.
Like college, and high school before that, I don’t know what I am doing next. The thought of the unknown both terrifies me and excites me. One thing I know for sure is I’ll be ok because of the work I’ve already done. Decompressing and enjoying life is high on the priority list. I look to knock out some bucket list items and catch up on some much-needed travel. Full-time entrepreneurship also excites me; the thought of syndicating apartment buildings would get met out of bed in the morning. I also have some non-profit/philanthropic endeavors that have been sitting on the backburner for years. Stay tuned.