This past weekend we visited good friends of ours that just had a baby. It was incredible seeing a 4 day old baby that was so tiny and so adorable. Looking at Baby T, who is almost 16 months old, it seemed eons ago when he was that small. It is absolutely mind-blowing to me how much Baby T has grown. If you look at him now, with his chubby cheeks, chicken drum stick like calves, and Buddha like belly, you would never have guessed that he lost almost 14% of his body weight the first week after birth and had weight gain issue throughout the first few months of his life. When I saw my friends' baby, I recalled a very special and hyggelig moment that I shared with Baby T when he was only a few days old. I still remember holding a swaddled up Baby T in one of my arms at 2 AM in the morning so he could continue sleeping. I was sitting in the den room, trying to stay up by browsing the internet on the computer. The room was cold and was only lit by the dimmed computer screen as I didn't want to have any lights on to disturb Baby T. In the bedroom next door, Mrs. T was trying to get few hours of sleep before the next feeding time. To not feel left out, T Cat jumped on my lap, made herself comfortable before falling asleep. I was amazed that Mrs. T and I made such amazing little being. While sleeping, Baby T looked so content, so innocent, and so happy to be in this world. At one point he woke up, looked at me with his big round eyes for a few seconds, then fell back to sleep. For that brief few seconds that stared at each others' eyes, I felt completely connected to him and I felt that I was part of him. I will never forget this kind of special moment with Baby T for as long as I live. It was then I realized that as a dad I would do anything and everything for him because I love him.
"When you get married, not much changes. But when you have a kid, everything changes!"
My friend said the above quote while in his extremely sleep deprived state. He was 100% correct! When Mrs. T and I got married, nothing really changed. We had been living together for a while and we simply got a piece of paper stating that we are now husband and wife. It was always weird whenever my friends asked me how married life was and I would always answer, no different than before. When Baby T was born, however, our lives changed forever.
Although my friends were extremely sleep deprived, they were extremely happy to be parents. I could see it in their smiles and I could hear it in their voices. The dad, whom is one of my closest friends that I've known for over 12 years, was holding his 4 day old son and his facial expression said it all. He just couldn't hold back his joy. Of all the years I've known him, I've never seen him like that.
"Ohhhh he's SOOOO cute and SOOO small! Can we have another one please?" Mrs. T asked me this question a few times while we were visiting.
"Maybe when Baby T is a bit older," was my reply......
Before becoming a dad, I never understood why people say raising kids is one of the most rewarding things in life. Now I completely understand. As a parent you make a lot of sacrifices, like waking up multiple times in the middle of the night, changing poopy diapers (and sometimes clothes), missing fun social outings, and changing your lifestyle completely. But all these sacrifices are temporary. These momentary sacrifices will eventually lead to lots of happiness and rewards. Baby T is at an age that he's learning new things on a daily basis. It brought smiles to my face seeing him learning how to feed himself with a spoon the other day. It also brought smiles to my face seeing him making the sign for pear (we're teaching him sign language) and saying a word that sort of sounded like pear. Now he makes the pear sign and says the word whenever he wants to eat pears. How cute is that?
Moments like these are priceless and they are so priceless and valuable because of our momentary sacrifices as parents.
Does this sound familiar to you when it comes to achieving financial independence?
This momentary sacrifice idea is no different than what we do as we work toward achieving financial independence. We live below our means and have a frugal lifestyle so we can save as much money as possible to invest. This often means delay gratification or not purchasing certain items. While it's nice to drive a new BMW, eating at a fancy restaurant every night, and have all the shiny new expensive electronic gadgets, these "cool" items will not lead you to financial independence. In fact they will only delay your financial independence and often may completely prevent you from achieving it.
Isn't it better to be conscious about your grocery bills and use the saved up money to invest?
Isn't it better to bring lunch to work instead of buying lunch and use the saved up money to invest?
Isn't it better to cut your cable subscription and enjoy spending that time with your family and use the saved up money to invest?
Isn't it better to not keeping up with the Joneses and only benchmark yourself?
Having an major investment will be the catalyst to early retirement/financial independence. and this is why we started dividend investing many years ago.
Momentary sacrifices are totally worth it if it means we can achieve financial independence in our 40's. To me, I believe momentary sacrifices and financial independence go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. However, at the same time, it is important to learn how to enjoy the moment and enjoy the finer things in your life. Things like love, relationships, talent, creativity and individuality are very important. You cannot continue living if all you think about every minute of your life is money. If you do that, your life will suffer. This is the same as raising a kid. If you don't put in the time to be a good parent and make the necessary commitments for your kid, you will not understand and cherish the rewards that your kid will bring to your life. You cannot live day to day regretting having a kid, or not spending any time with your kid. You need to cherish the time that you spend with your kid. I suppose this is why I am more appreciative to my parents, now I'm a parent myself.
What's your stance on this topic? Do you agree with me?