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What Do You Really Want for Christmas?

Christmas photoDecember was a month of insanity at our house. Not only were we dealing with all the holiday hooplah, everything that I put into motion over 2 years ago has come to a crescendo all within three weeks time! Earlier in the month, I signed closing documents on the purchase of a commercial building, and we sold our share of a potential nightmare investment to get out of the house flipping business. While those were big deals, the biggest happens today when I sign documents to sell my optometry practice. After 11 years of being a small business owner, if all goes as planned,  I’m out of the game.

How Does It Feel?

Surprisingly, it feels very neutral. I am a bit sad in some ways, and happy in others. There are good and bad things about being the boss. When I hatched this plan in late 2010, we were drowning in debt. I was burned out, but it really felt like I was trapped in the cycle of working crazy hours to pay the bills. The concept of multiple streams of income had never crossed my radar. My business had always made good money, so why on earth would I want out, especially with all that debt to pay off?

I wanted a life. Not the ordinary life of getting up early to drop off your kid somewhere while you put in ten hours a day to see all the money going to buy the things you thought you were supposed to have, but a real life where I actually looked forward to waking up everyday. I don’t want to repeat the habits of many of those I know who woke up one day in their sixties and wondered what had happened to their time.

I won’t say life is perfect now. There will always be things I wish I could do better, but for the most part, I am disgustingly happy. Why?

  • We are not burdened by consumer debt and never plan to be again.
  •  We have discovered that having life experiences and appreciating what you have are much more important than things.
  •  We don’t feel like we have to answer to anyone but ourselves about how we choose to live our lives, and we ignore what society thinks we should be.

We have adequate savings and multiple streams of income that will continue to grow so we don’t have to feel bound to any one thing, especially if it makes us miserable.

 Future Goals

What on earth will I do now after selling a business? Life will go on pretty much the same way it has over the last couple of years. I will still work as an optometrist. I still have a blog. We still have rental properties.

I hope to learn some specialty skills to provide low vision services in our area. This area of optometry works with partially sighted individuals to make the best use of their remaining vision. Their are currently no providers who do this on a regular basis.  I think it is a huge opportunity.

We hope to add another rental property when the right one presents itself, and I plan to keep on blogging and doing freelance writing as opportunities arise. We have some great travel plans for 2014 and beyond.

How Do I Get There?

If you love your current situation, whatever it is, then by all means, keep doing it. If you don’t, it is possible to change. Maybe you don’t have a profitable business to sell, and maybe you don’t have a degree that gives you the ability to command a high salary. That doesn’t mean you are stuck. I don’t pretend to know what will ultimately make you happy, but if you aren’t moving toward that path, figure it out and start moving in that direction.

If you look at all the people online who have traded in their 40+ hour work week to make bank at home, you’ll realize it is possible. Here are a few stories to inspire you.

Holly at Club Thrifty

Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

Michelle at Making Sense of Cents

Alexa at Single Mom’s Income

What Do You Really Want For Christmas?

Maybe  change won’t happen overnight or even within a few years, but if you have a goal and work hard enough, it won’t go unrewarded. I didn’t ever want to quit being an optometrist. I just wanted more freedom with my time, and I found a way to do that.

I can’t count the number of setbacks I’ve had over the last few years trying to get to this point, but I never lost sight of the end game, and we never went back to our old ways that were so familiar and accepted in everyone else’s eyes.

I’m starting to sound like a motivational speaker, so I’ll wrap it up. I just remember how it feels when you look like a million dollars on the outside, but feel like the rat on the wheel inside. I hope you’ll make it your Christmas present to yourself or New Year’s Resolution to make a plan if you don’t have one already. Don’t wake up someday wondering what might have been.

Do you plan on making any big changes in 2014?


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. Thank you so much for the mention! :) I am so happy that I made the big decision to leave my day job a few months ago. Life has never been better.

    It’s crazy and exciting to think that you are signing the documents today. I hope everything goes as planned!
    Michelle recently posted..St. Thomas and Weekly UpdateMy Profile

  2. Nope, 2013 was our big year - 2014 is for settling in and plugging away! I’d love a house for Christmas but I’d be thrilled just for T to excel at/enjoy his new job.

    Happy Christmas an here’s to the next stage in your life!
    eemusings recently posted..Taking the long-term view and investing in furnitureMy Profile

  3. I want to start a small business next year. Im saving for this for 3 years. I hope my plan will matrialize next year.

    Happy Christmas to you and your family!
    Melanie recently posted..Why an Emergency Savings Account is ImportantMy Profile

  4. I hope year 2014 would be good to me. I think I will just to double my effort in my work and try to lose weight. Have a merry Christmas to you!

  5. Thanks for the inspiration Kim. I am in the position of really needing to be able to quit my job for the sake of my own mental health- I am hoping to make this happen in 2014, just gotta get the blog rockin’ out some cash flow and a few other things taken care of. Thanks for sharing your story and others!
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted..Learning from Money Mistakes #3: Stupid life insurance decisionMy Profile

  6. Wow Kim, that’s awesome. Congrats on your new way of living! I’m looking forward to the perspective and wisdom you’ll be able to share on your blog about this career-change.

    What I want for Christmas is close to what you’ve transitioned to. I don’t want to be a stay-at-home dad, but I would like my work to take less time than it currently does so I’ll be able to spend adequate time helping my kids grow up. That’s one of my 2014 goals.

    Merry Christmas!
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..Man Club: My New Favorite Christmas TraditionMy Profile

  7. Congrats on selling your small biz! I can only imagine the mixed emotions that happen when going through with a sale. It does sound like you have plenty of work and income lined up and I also think quite a bit about how so many bloggers have traded in their “regular” work lives for a new one.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..How to Stay Safe When Buying and Selling on CraigslistMy Profile

  8. Love this, Kim, and it’s posts like this that keep us focused on, like you said, “the end game”. What we want for Christmas is to be debt free, so, 2014 will be like 2013, only better. :-)
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Choosing Long-Term Success over Immediate GratificationMy Profile

  9. That’s a huge month of change for you guys! I’m glad to see things that you’ve wanted for a long time finally all happening at once.

    I really don’t want anything this Christmas. We’ve been really fortunate the past couple of years and there’s very little that I could ask for that would bring me any sort of joy beyond what I feel when I get the chance to take a night off and snuggle on the couch watching a movie with Mr PoP and Kitty PoP. (It’s the little things, ya know?)
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Happy FestivusMy Profile

  10. CONGRATULATIONS! Wow, who knew you were going to get early retirement as a Christmas present this year. I’m still a long ways off, but like you I know that everything I’m doing is putting us on the right path.

    I like your “motivational speaker” tone! This sounds dorky, but I’ve purposely tailored a few of my blog posts (unpublished) to be “speeches” should the opportunity ever arise. It would be awesome to have a side gig as a speaker on the topic of early retirement!
    MMD recently posted..How the Things I Want for Christmas Are Different Now That I’m An AdultMy Profile

  11. “…change won’t happen overnight or even within a few years…” Absolutely right! This is one of the biggest mistakes people make in their thinking when contemplating a change in their life direction. They think they can just quit their job and change course on a dime. I would say that rarely happens. It takes intentional planning and long-term discipline to make big time changes in your life. We went through this when my wife transitioned to being a CPA. There were some very dark days in the three year journey but it’s all proving worth it in the end. Like you, we now have some more freedom to make choices that benefit our family.
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted..Knowing When to Give Yourself a Blogging BreakMy Profile

  12. Congratulations! That sounds great, and I love that you’ve identified a need in your community that you’re going to fill with your skillset. It sounds like something that might not be as lucrative, so that’s why it hasn’t been met? It’s great that you’re able to do that now that you’re not working the long hours at your practice.

    I’m still working on my goals for next year, and I’m not really even sure what I really want for Christmas! I think mostly I have everything I want — I really love my family and I love that my son and husband are so close with my parents that spending Christmas with them really feels like home. Merry Christmas!
    Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions recently posted..Busted Your Holiday Budget? 3 Tips to Get Back on Track.My Profile

  13. Big congrats Kim! I can only imagine that you’ll have some mixed feelings today, but it’s so awesome to see changes, especially when they’re what you really want to be doing and giving you more control over your time. I can relate as I was feeling a similar way, on some levels, when i left my job about 18 months ago. 2013 was full of some ups and downs for us, but looking back at it has been great overall and looking forward to upward and onward for next year!
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Bah Humbug! A Christmas RantMy Profile

  14. Glad that rental property got resolved. That’s the opposite end of real estate investing, a unit that bleeds you cash. My back has been hurting because I’ve slaked off on my health, so I’m going to take better care of myself.
    Charles@gettingarichlife recently posted..Get Rich With Real Estate: Strategic Ways To Finance PropertiesMy Profile

  15. I’m teaching myself to code so I can better maintain my site and hopefully charge others. I want to make blogging/web work a viable source of income.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..How to Deal With Unsatisfactory Customer ServiceMy Profile

  16. Thanks for the mention!

    What do I want for Christmas? I want the sun to stay out after 7:00 p.m. All of these dark dreary skies make me want to go to bed! =/
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Earn a 5 Night Vacation With Flights for FreeMy Profile

  17. Great to see how much you’ve grown and changed for the positive Kim! Very proud of all your hard work. And now knowing you in person I feel I could say it could not have happened to a nicer person. Hope 2014 is even better. I’m mapping out my 2014 plans this week, but a lot of it will include growth in my blogs and writing. And trying to slowly move away from being dependent on video. It will also involve a little bit of sacrifice on some things so I can save money for a new car, retirement, and my emergency savings. Overall I’m at a MUCH better place this year than I was last, which is awesome!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Merry Christmas/Taking a BreakMy Profile

  18. What a great year, Kim. Sounds like so many good things have happened to you! My big goals are to continue growing my financial planning practice but also to really focus on The Heavy Purse. It’s grown quite a bit the past year but it’s still small and have lots of growth potential that I haven’t tapped yet. I need to do it! I wish you and your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..My Christmas Wish for YouMy Profile

  19. Congrats to you for knowing that to be truly happy you have to make some changes….and then actually doing it! I’m not planning on making any big career goals in 2014, but I am planning on making some big fitness changes. It’s been on my bucket list for awhile now to qualify for (and hopefully run in) the Boston Marathon. The race I’m aiming for is the Twin Cities Marathon the first week in October….it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication, but I know I can do it!
    Travis @debtchronicles recently posted..Why Cash Only Weekend Spending ROCKS!My Profile

  20. The only big changes we have in store of 2014 is selling and buying a home. I enjoy my job immensely along with my blog. I don’t want to be my own boss again for some time. I have been there and done that. I wish you the best of luck in 2014 Kim! Have a wonderful holiday as well.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..In Debt? Good Money Manager Provides OptionsMy Profile

  21. I made the leap to self employment in 2013 but I have big plans for expanding it in 2014! So far I love working for myself, here’s hoping I continue to love it in the new year.

    Good luck in 2014! I hope it is a great year for all of us :)
    Erin @ My Alternate Life recently posted..2013, A Year In ReviewMy Profile

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