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This week we have: Tim from Life for the Better!
Take it away, Tim:
My name is Tim and I blog over at Life For The Better. I am currently 25 years young and an officer in the Air Force. I am currently in pursuit of financial independence. In order to achieve the goal of financial independence, I’ve set out to live a life of intentionality and simplicity. I currently live in a 269 sq. ft tiny house to help meet that goal.
Win #1 – Joining the Air National Guard
When I joined the Air National Guard at 17 I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me at the time. The typical guardsmen work one weekend a month, two weeks a year. I was in a different situation and worked full-time which provided me an income while going to college full-time. I would work the overnight shift and then go to class right afterward.
After obtaining my bachelor degree, I became an officer in the Air Guard. What this allowed me to do was double my income and set myself up for a better retirement. I’ve always been interested in leadership and becoming an officer allowed me to step up into that leadership role.
This is one of my best moments because, joining the Air Guard has allowed me to see 20+ countries, gain a college education, set myself up for retirement, learn skills that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, and to serve my country, amongst many other benefits.
The main takeaway from joining the military is it has helped me set myself up for the future
Not only on my personal side with getting an education and retirement, but also learning skills to help others in life.
Win #2 – Graduating College
While I was in the Air National Guard I received 100% tuition as well as a G.I. Bill for monthly expenses. This allowed me to graduate college not only debt free but, I got paid to go to college!
I graduated in 3 years instead of the normal 4-year track. I did this by applying my Associates Degree obtained by the Air Force. The college used credits from the degree and applied them to my Bachelor’s Degree.
Graduating college wasn’t easy though. I worked the overnight shift at work until 8 A.M. and then would go to class at 9 A.M. until the afternoon. Following class, I’d go home and sleep and then repeat the process over.
What this taught me though, was to keep working, keep learning, and to keep the drive alive. Learning to go through this process wasn’t easy but it was worth it. I believe in setting yourself up for success and this is exactly what going to college did for me.
My main takeaway from graduating college is to keep working towards a goal
There will be many setbacks in life but if you want something bad enough you will fight for that goal.
Loss #1 – Losing Grandpa
Losing Grandpa when I was in high school was rough. It was terrible for me because my Grandpa taught me how to be a better man. He always did things in life in which he believed in. He didn’t care if others agreed with him or not, he was simply living life on his own terms, all in the name of helping others.
He taught me to listen to others. Not just talk to people but to listen to what they have to say. This is where true learning takes place.
Lastly, he taught me to practice what you preach. By that, I mean Grandpa believed in his cause and didn’t just preach it to others, he went out and fought for what he believed in.
I’ve adjusted to losing Grandpa by applying how to be a better man, listening to others, and practice what I preach.
Every day I strive to be a better person than who I was the day before. When I talk to others I listen to what they have to say about the topic and learn from them. I also believe in helping others any chance I can get so I do random acts of kindness all the time.
My main takeaway from losing Grandpa is to be true to who you are as a person
Nobody can ever take that away from you. As long as you are who you are things will be alright.
Loss #2 – Work-Life Balance
Working shift work for 8 years takes a toll on one’s own body and personal relationships.
I mainly worked the overnight shift and then would go to class during the daytime. This meant that I didn’t have time to enjoy with friends and family nearly as much as I wanted.
I’d also have to plan out doctor visits, oil changes, when to get groceries, etc. etc. Not that that is out of the norm but, when you sleep from 2 pm to 9 pm things start to look a little bit different for the average day.
Our operations are 24/7/365 so I’d also miss out on holidays with the family and other events with friends.
Each month we would rotate our shift schedule and go from the overnight shift to the day shift. Going into work from 11 pm to 8 am for one month and then 8 am to 4 pm for another. After that month you’d switch to afternoons and work from 3 pm to midnight.
This consistent switching of schedules plays a toll on one’s sleep schedule and mental psyche.
I wasn’t married at the time so it wasn’t as big of a deal to me but I did miss out on various activities. I noticed other members at the unit went through the same struggles and often missed tee-ball or dance recitals.
What I’ve learned from this is to balance my work and personal life. Not everything is about work, granted that is different by being in the military. I will always do my duties. The saying “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone” holds true here. I didn’t know that I had such a strong support system with my family and friends. I’ve also learned that I love spending time with these individuals in my life.
I’ve adjusted with working shift work by keeping an eye on my work-life balance. When I am not working I am giving attention to my family and friends. They are my support structure and help me keep balanced.
My main takeaway is I’ve realized that my desire to become financially independent has only strengthened
I never want to be tied down by a job if I don’t want to be. I’d rather live life on my own terms. There needs to be a balance in work and personal life.
Tim – first of all, thank you for your service. Secondly, I love how you’ve taken notice of your work-life balance to make sure that isn’t getting too weighed down on one side. It’s something that many of us work toward and doesn’t always come easy. What stood out to you about Tim’s story? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!