trisha hadley

I went to Costa Rica for the beaches, but instead I found freedom.

Do you ever imagine yourself with the perfect job. Something you could do day in and out and enjoy every second. Like, I want to be-a-professional-baseball-player-so-I-can-play-sports-all-day. Or open-a-yoga-studio-because-I-love-tree-pose-that-much job. Maybe become-a-flight-attendant-so-I-can-fly-anywhere-in-the-world-for-free.

We’ve all done it. Imagined exactly what we want to be doing on a daily basis and try to match that to a career. Picked up The 4 Hour Work Week and vowed never to have another traditional 9-5. Yup. I did it. Back in 2011.

And 3 years later I finally understand why. Freedom.

You see, do you really want to be serving-gin-and-tonics-to-overdressed-and-overstressed-executives-in-first-class? God no. You want the freedom to travel anywhere you want, the excitement of seeing new places and interacting with all walks of life. How about run-a-small-business-that-struggles-to-pay-its-bills-every-month? Uh, yeah right. You crave the freedom to do yoga whenever you want and the ability to live a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis. Sure, this may be a little simplistic. But maybe it’s spot-on.

I recently changed careers. Research scientist > software engineer. When I was considering positions in this brand spanking new field, I reflected quite a bit about the core components of what I was searching for, what I was creating. I decided that freedom, in terms of a career, had 3 criteria: financial, physical, and inspirational. Essentially, the ability to support my lifestyle, work remotely, and inspire daily. If a position didn’t have 2 of these 3, I didn’t consider it. 

Does this mean that you can’t be a professional baseball player and still have freedom? Of course not. It’s just a reflection on the why instead of the what. Maybe instead of dreaming up the ‘perfect job’ (read: actually another average job in a field that we think we like), consider the underlying desire. Is that freedom? What are your criteria?

It's cool if you don't know yet. There are some great Costa Rican beaches that I can recommend for some soul-searching.

Background image by Sebastian Glasl.