As some of you might have noticed recently, I have thrown around the number 2025 around on various social media outlets.
That’s because I am doing something scary. Something I am not very good at doing – namely trying to set a goal and a date for when I want us to have bought and moved into our dream home in the woods/by the sea. Psychologically, this has two effects. One is that I have a specific motivation to work towards. And the other is that the goal is far enough, yet close enough, that I need not be impatient right this very second. It is no lie that I have been pestering Mr. Frugasaurus and my good friend M with any and all cute small farms listed, even if they are completely unrealistic.
I’ve been a bit of a pain, and setting a date as far away as 2025 helps me calm down in the moment. Enjoy life a bit right now, moving to our new house and take a breath. There is a target date and we are saving towards it. We might find a great place which ticks all the boxes before that, but we’ll take one year at a time. Plus, 2025 is a nice, round and symmetrical number that appeals to me.
Back in high school when I was a depressed teenager, I was held up by the idea that things would be better in ten years. Ten years from then, I would have an education, a job and a place to call my own. That was my expectation from life, and I figured it would all just happen if I followed along the path to university.
Sadly, things were not quite so easy as I graduated in the middle of the oil crisis in Norway and jobs were scarce. But in many ways I think of this as a blessing in disguise. Who knows if I would have discovered personal finance and sidehustles/freelancing if I had gone straight from university to a relevant job, as expected? My problem with goal setting back then was that I expected life to fall into place on its own. All I had to do was follow the rules and finish the steps.
That couldn’t be further from the truth of course, as I learned the hard way. Plus, it was an acquired dream. One I had taken on by internalizing the expectations of society and the people around me. It was not what I really wanted to do, because I thought my dreams impossible. Living in the forest and growing your own food? Pah! People still have to work for a living, girl!
And work to me was something you went to every day with a lunch box and maybe a coffee thermos under your arm. Large concrete buildings where you clocked in, worked your hours, and clocked out. That was what I had seen growing up. That was work as I knew it.
With target 2025, I am taking a different approach. The target is set several years after my contract ends, giving me time to work with sidehustles or even attend courses and schools, should I want to.
Target 2025 also depends largely on me and my own input, not on pieces “falling into place”. The biggest and hairiest goal is to earn 25 000 NOK ($3000) before tax per month on sidehustles on average. If I can do that in the next 6-7 years, I will be employer independent and we can live wherever we want. Then we just need to wait for the right place to come sailing along. But with an income like that, we’ll be able to save up so we can act when it does come along. Plus we’ll be steadily paying off our house on the way, further increasing our purchase potential.
The scary part is of course to lay a plan for how to actually get there. At the time of writing this, my sidehustle income has averaged around $30 per month. To reach target 2025, I’ll need to 100x my sidehustle income. A slightly intimidating goal in my opinion, but not an impossible one. If I had tried to make this happen in 2020 while still working full time I would be far more negative to whether or not I would make it. But 2025? I hope and think I can make that. Only time will tell.
In general, I have approached this as just “grow your sidehustles”. That is the essence of it. But can we get even more specific than that?
If we get the place that we want, one prerequisite is that it’ll have lots of space for a forest garden and other food growing ventures. As an aside from that, we might very well be able to keep growing our income once there by selling vegetables and homemade good at farmers markets. This part excites me double, because it’ll not only provide more resilience to our economy – it’ll also increase the local food supply and resilience to our local area.
All right, now it’s time for some of the goals that are outside my control, but still within reach. I really want us to share the place in the forest/by the sea with M and her partner, let’s just call them P. The ideal would be that we find a property with two houses – one for the current farmer and his family, the other for the retired farmer. These are not uncommon in Norway, although a property where both houses are in good shape can be something of a different story. Building another house is an alternative as well of course, but getting a permit can be a challenge in areas coded for “farming, forest and recreation”, which small farms often are. We also want this, because that’ll hopefully mean we won’t be surrounded by suburbs in 50 years.
Weird as this might sound, there are times when I get a feeling that M’s household and my own just belong together. We already share a lot of stuff, and it would be so nice if we could just live one courtyard away from each other, instead of several km.
The good thing is that M. is excited about this idea! Especially because it’ll mean any farm animals we may and not acquire will have two families to look after them – there’ll still be vacation and travel possibilities.
To my great joy, P is also coming around to the idea of a small farm – and sharing the work with us. They can be a little bashful about intimacy, which is one of the reason separate houses is a requirement, and not just one large house where we live in separate parts. The other requirement P has is commutable distance to our city and to their workplace, which he enjoys. That means we have to be pretty close to our city and close to a road with regular bus transportation. Luckily for us, many Norwegian cities sport a decent public transportation system, so there are still many areas that are a good option.
Now it’s just up to me, and up to you if you have similar goals! Lots of hard work is required to get there, but having clear goals makes it worth it.
Have you written down your goals? Are they specific and time-dependent to keep you accountable? I must admit, I have never been the best at setting specific goals, so this will be a new and exciting project for me. It is also scary of course, because a specific goal also means the potential of failure.
If you have a goal so big and hairy you’ve been afraid to voice it out loud – share it here on the blog! We’re a friendly, open-minded bunch here, and putting it out in words and into the world can help make it more real. Let’s hear where you want to go!