I’ve got a license to chill. And I believe I will. – Jimmy Buffett
What’s the right balance between charging hard and kicking back? That’s a question that I’ve been struggling with for the past few weeks. My ultimate goal is to create enough passive income to do whatever I want. And I want to do a lot. I want to travel to places steeped in history. I want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. I want to pack a canoe and spend weeks paddling around and camping. I want to learn to sail and do some island hopping or the Great American Loop.
A while ago, I came across a quote I really liked: You’ve got to earn the right to sit back and chill. At what point, though, do you earn your license to chill?
I spent the first 3 years of my career busting my ass. I was the go-to division officer, consistently ranked above my peers and at the top of the pack. I operated well beyond what was expected of a first tour division officer and, through my hard work, ability to execute, and work across departments, gained the highest level of respect up, down, and across the chain and command. All that work paid off in helping me land a second tour job that has a much more relaxed pace and an emphasis on training, which is what I enjoy doing.
While my nature won’t allow me to be a “shit bag” (an affectionate military term for a slacker, freeloader, etc), I think that I’ve earned a license to chill for a bit. I’ll still put all the checks in the “Division Officer shall” boxes and execute any other taskers to my high personal standard. With a charge from the Commanding Officer and a personal interest in it, I look forward to training the next group of junior officers. I don’t intend, however, to kill myself the way I did on my first ship.
So, no, I won’t be working on those extra qualifications that are ultimately just checks in the box were I to make this Navy thing a career. I’m not, and the only person who’d benefit from my qualifying these watches is me. As I’m not screwing over anyone else, I’m fine letting it go. What’s the point in chasing after a meaningless piece of paper, especially if it takes away the free time I’d rather spend reading and writing?
I’ve recently been seeing this trend extend to other areas of my life. I think it’s a function of being on deployment and rearranging the pots on the stove. I dove headfirst into The Miracle Morning and it’s still been a hugely beneficial change I’ve made in my life. Now that I’ve reached some good headspace, I’ve allowed myself a bit of a license to chill with my SAVERS.
While I’ve made an effort to do yoga and meditate between my 0000-0300 and 0600-0900 watches, I don’t beat myself up if I skip a day here and there. I’ve written in my 5 Minute Journal most days but have allowed myself to skip a day or two if I forget. Every few days, I’ll review my affirmations on my phone. I still read every day, so that’s been a constant.
While you could say I’m making excuses for falling off the wagon, I disagree. Not to try and save face, but because of how I feel about missing a day versus how I used to feel. In the past, I’d beat myself up over it. If I couldn’t do it all, I wouldn’t do it at all. If I missed a day of journaling, I’d stop for months before I made a Herculean effort to begin again. Now, I simply follow the mantra I learned from the 10% Happier app and, “Simply begin again.”
The same goes for doing yoga or meditating or reading my affirmations. At this point, thanks to that surge of focused effort I put in at the beginning, my affirmations are subconsciously engrained in my thought processes and I’m a much calmer person from my meditation practice in the past.
Going forward, my goal will be to identify the areas and projects that I want to go into overdrive to over-deliver on and produce outsized results. Otherwise, I’ve got a license to chill. And I do believe that I will.