“Who am I” is a difficult question to answer. Have you ever tried? Most people respond with “I do [fill in your job title here].” Is that really who you are? Do you have kids? How about pets? What are your plans for the future? Is there one special place on Earth you enjoy spending time?
When you read a really good book, don’t you become the main character?
While I tend to identify myself with a list of goals (more on this later), below I will define myself by answering the questions in the first paragraph (and a few others).
I have an engineering degree from Penn State University. My wife and I met at the university, traveled the country looking for a place to live but returned to central PA. Initially, I could not find an engineering job, so I began work as a delivery driver for a pizza/calzone restaurant. I knew I wanted to do more than drive calzones to drunk college students, so I started attending the Net Impact group at the university’s business school.
At one of these meetings, a speaker from a local ‘construction’ firm was discussing plans for building an eco-village in the area. I approached the speaker to ask if he had an internship available and if I could submit my resume. When I heard back from the hiring manager, I learned that they were not actually a construction firm, but rather an environmental law firm (was I still interested?). I started work at the law firm about two weeks after meeting the principle. Roughly three months after I started work at the law firm, one of the principles started a construction company. I transferred to the construction company.
I am married with one kid, six dogs, four cats, one rabbit, nine chickens, one really overgrown garden, one car, lots of tools and a house perpetually under construction. I have three rental properties, one single family house and two duplexes. My plans for the future include photographing the Moon over all seven continents (I’ve got North America so far), being financially able to work any job I want, and being at home for my daughter as she grows. I would like to visit Europe, Japan and Patagonia.
I enjoy trail running in Rothrock State Forest and my most favorite place in the Forest is Bear Meadows Natural Area. I enjoy cooking (I do most of the cooking at home), and my wife really enjoys the baking (and she’s infinitely better than I am at making pancakes). My wife converted me to a plant-based diet (think vegetarian, heavy on the vegetables).
I believe in hard work. In addition to working between 45 and 55 hours at the construction firm, I will spend between 20 and 30 hours per week developing my company, HBS Real Estate, LLC. I also believe that we all have to work a certain amount of hours before we can retire. Those hours can be spread over 45 years, or you can front load the hours and, like compounding interest, those hours compound and you can retire ‘early’.
My definition of retirement is having the financial means to do what I want to do while maintaining or increasing my current lifestyle. Quite honestly, I plan to continue working after I’ve met my definition of ‘retirement’, but I want to be able to do whatever it is that I want to do.