Change your story from one of limitation to one of empowerment: “I will not be one of many who can’t, I will be one of the few who do – Tony Robbins
Wow, it is currently 8:49pm on Friday, October 5th. I officially landed back in the United States 11 months and 2 days ago after moving away from the US and living abroad in Spain for 1 year. The person I am today is completely different from the person who turned in his resignation letter from a well-known IT consulting firm 2 years and 9 months ago. I could not have predicted I would be in the current position I am in today, but its funny to look back over the past ~3 years to all the experiences I have had and how much I have changed.
Looking back, I was sort of going through the motions in life up until the age of 21. At that point I had just transferred out of a community college in to the engineering program at a major university in Texas. This was an inflection point in my life mostly because in high school I was not a good student. Maybe I’m biased but I don’t attribute my high school struggles to not being smart or a hard worker, I think it has more to do with not being confident in myself, not having the support I would have liked (or being too afraid to ask for help), and the high expectations of my dad. Due to these high school struggles I didn’t have a high GPA and for one reason or another I didn’t realize the importance of the PSAT or SAT and didn’t really prepare for it…
I ended up attending a community college after high school with the hopes of one day becoming a doctor. I took all the required courses to one day be able to transfer in to a pre-med program at a university and the year before I was going to apply to different schools I got an internship at a research lab at Rice University under a Ph.D student. This internship was very eye opening for me as it gave me a look in to both what a future in research might look like but also what it might take to one day become a doctor as I worked with many MD/Ph.Ds. This internship taught me a lot but in the end I came to the conclusion that medicine may not be for me. So, 2 years in to community college I decided to change what I wanted to major in.
I had taken a Calculus course and excelled in it and had always had an interest in Physics so after talking to my dad I came to the conclusion that mechanical engineering would be my next endeavor. I spent the next year at the community college taking as many courses as possible toward an engineering degree in hopes of transferring in to a major Texas university. I remember sending in my application to the two biggest universities in Texas after completing the first semester of my final year at the community college and checking my application every single day. There was a tracking portion of your application portal that showed you the status of your application that I would keep an eye on. Then, one day while in the math lab, where I would spend the majority of my time studying and preparing for tests, I proceeded to check my application status and saw that amazing green light stating that my application had been accepted. Damn, that was an amazing turning point for me.
Fast forward to May 2010 and I was in the second semester of my first year at The University of Texas at Austin. It was the week before finals and I was returning to my apartment on a Thursday night. I remember what happened pretty clearly as that night would change my life forever. I remember walking out of the bathroom seeing my cell phone flashing which indicated I had a missed call. I walked up to my phone and saw that there were a few missed calls but the most recent one was from my aunt who lived in Florida at the time. This was a bit strange as my aunt didn’t normally call me on a Friday night so I called her back to see what was up. When she answered the phone the tone of her voice was low and serious. She told me “Miles, you need to call your mother.” I tried asking her what was wrong but she just said I needed to call my mother immediately. I hung up the phone and called my mom as fast as I could as I had no idea what had happened. When my mom answered the phone I could tell in her voice that something wasn’t right. She told me that there had been an accident and that I needed to come home. The first thought in my head was that something had happened to my little sister and I immediately felt my stomach come in to my throat as I began to choke up. I tried asking my mom what had happened but I could feel her resisting to tell me. I felt myself becoming more and more hysterical as I needed to know what had happened when my mom finally told me my father had been involved in an accident.
My dad played indoor soccer on Thursday nights and had done this for quite a while. I don’t know the full story to be honest but from what I know on May 13th, 2010 my dad was playing soccer as he normally did, but this time there weren’t enough substitutes at the game. This meant that all the players would have to play longer than they normally did. How true this is I don’t actually know, what I was told was that my dad felt a little sick after the game and went in to the bathroom. I believe someone heard a loud sound in the bathroom and when they went in my dad was on the floor convulsing. Unfortunately, there was not an A.E.D. at the facility and by the time the ambulance arrived on the scene my father had already passed away. 1 year and 4 months later, my mother also fell in to a coma and passed away 2 days later from a brain a brain aneurysm.
I decided to bring these stories up not because I wanted people to feel bad for me or even that I wanted to share my story. It was more to talk about how these events really forced me to look at my life a different way. It made me realize that life is short, tomorrow is not promised, and that you really have to enjoy the moment as much as you can as you never really know how long it will last. With these things in mind I decided my parents had worked too hard for me to just throw my life away, so I decided to get back in to the swing of things at school and finish strong. I worked my ass off and was able to obtain a position as a consultant at Accenture where I worked for 2.5 years.
The consulting position was great, I made a good amount of money, and I learned a lot about professionalism and business travel (though to be transparent, at the time I was immature and dealing with internal issues from my parent’s recent passing so I wasn’t that great of a worker). I happened to stumble upon the 4-hour work week through the recommendation of my sister and this book truly changed my life! My biggest takeaway from the book was to question “Why you can’t do the things you have always wanted to do?” Things like quit your job and travel for a year, or learn another language, or learn guitar. This book was the reason I saved up enough money to be able to travel for a year and not have to worry about money.
Fast forward 2 years and 9 months and I have been back in the Bay Area for almost a year working as a Corporate Partnerships Manager at a tech firm. The job I have is great and I have learned so many skills as my team is small and we work like a startup. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted out of my future until I met someone at a random meetup I went to. This girl talked to me about Real Estate investing and the financial independence and retire early lifestyle. Up to this point I had not heard about this and was pretty oblivious. The more I got to know her the more I started to realize this was a real thing and was something quite achievable if you put in the hard work and are disciplined.
SO, that was a lot of blabbing from my end. I have tried to write a blog a few different times focusing on various different topics but those all died over time as I lost interest. However, as financial freedom is something that has become a big priority for me I want to try this blog again. This time I will document my journey from square one to wherever this journey takes me. Hopefully there will be a lot of lessons learned along the way that I can share for anyone interested in following a similar path.
Somehow I made it to 1500 words when my goal was to just write for 15 minutes so I will call this a success – though the quality is another question…but you gotta walk before you run! Anyhow, if anyone made it this far I truly commend you and I hope if nothing else this was entertaining. Look out for more posts to come!