I grew up on an orchard and a dairy farm with my grandparents. When my mom and I finally moved out for the "city" I was about 8 years old. At 13 I started spending my summers back on the orchard and dairy farm with my grandparents. A couple of years later my great grandfather passed and the dairy farm was sold. I continued to spend my summers on the orchard till I left for college. While in college the orchard was sold.
After college I went into the Navy and have been for about 10 years. Those 10 years have been fun (mostly) but something has always been missing. I've tried traveling around the world to find it and in the end I was always left wanting. I don't know how to explain it but one day I woke up and knew what I needed to do with my life.
My life had become bogged down with labels and images. I had the BMW, I had the stocks, and I had all the toys. I was even in debt up to my neck with investment properties trying to be the next big thing. I thought that because I could put away a little money each month for retirement, cover my debts, and buy whatever I wanted (within reason) that I had reached financial independence.
Then one day I decided to get out of the military and realized that I couldn't. Of course I could leave the service but to make the money I needed I would have to take a job with a defense contractor or something similar. Like others I know I would simply do the same job in a different uniform. I wasn't financially independent at all. In fact I was an indentured servant paying for my passage to the promised land.
Worst yet was the realization that I couldn't feed myself, clothe myself, or shelter myself. My vary existence depended upon my job. Granted the military shelters people more than the corporate world from lay-offs and such but that actually makes the scenario for getting out worse.
So I woke up one morning and it all made sense. I realized that I was missing a connection with myself. I was missing a connection to all the life around me. I don't want to sound anti-consumerist or new-age mystical here. The stark reality is that I could not take care of a family if I didn't have the job I had. I also couldn't leave that job with the current lifestyle that I was living - which wasn't making me happy anyway. I had no freedom.
My solution? Well I'm still working on it but I only have 938 days till I quit.