I dug a hole.
What does this have to do with financial freedom? Let’s start from the beginning. First I read a book, then I dug a hole. The book that inspired me to dig is called “The Quest of the Simple Life“. It was written a hundred years ago, but the message is still relevant today. The story is an autobiographical journey one man takes from the city life in London to living the country life.
This guy (William J. Dawson) loves the city and all it has to offer, but when that life is tied to a job, the city becomes a prison. Everything about it is horrible when he doesn’t have freedom.
He goes on to “Your-Money-or-Your-Life” the situation and figure out that the country would provide freedom at a much lower price than the city. (Yes, I just used a book as a verb.)
Admittedly, I do not read a lot of books like this one. I mostly read business strategy and other non-fiction reference books. But the title appealed to me and I’m so glad I did read it because its one of those books that throws out perspectives about life that I hadn’t thought about before.
Back to the hole.
Well, first back to the book.
I read this passage:
To split pine-logs, dig a garden, pull a heavy boat down the lake after fish, tramp up the hillside to collect the see, are simply so many exercises of the body, the equivalents of which the town youths find in the gymnasium or the football field; the difference is that all this exertion in the gymnasium, who the town youth takes to keep up his health, would in the country keep him. The same amount of muscular exertion which a town youth puts forth to chase a ball round a twenty acre field would, if properly applied, put a roof over his head and food on his table. The sports of the civilized man are means of life to the natural man. If a man must needs seat, and be bemired, and have an aching back, it is surely better economy to have a house and a good meal at the end of it all than merely a good appetite for a meal he has yet to pay for. I do not object to buy health in hard physical exercise if I can buy it in no other way; but I am better satisfied if I can buy health and a meal at the same time and for the same price.
William J. Dawson, you crazy life-hacking fool! As I read his words, I realized something. I wanted to make my trampoline ground level. I had a few choices, starting with the most American, down to the Dawson way.
- Buy an in-ground trampoline system, hire a contractor to dig the hole and install, then hire a personal trainer at the gym to get in shape.
- Go “frugal”. Hire someone off Craigslist to dig the hole (or rent an excavator), then lift weights at home.
- Dig the dang thing myself!
I chose to dig.
Sure, I am not getting rich by digging this hole, but I am learning life lessons. As I combine my needs to save money and exercise in the same activity, I save time. I’m also improving my house/yard and spending time with my family. I get more money and more life.
Digging this hole might seem crazy to the people I’ve told about it, but I know finding freedom will require a little crazy. I can’t follow the crowd to find financial independence. Following the standard American diet means I’ll be fat; the standard American finance plan means I’ll be in debt.