The title is a mischaracterization because this day felt almost perfect and our career jobs kept it from being true perfection. We frequently experience this kind of almost-perfect day. Rather than bring us down, this encourages us. We love that we haven’t let great be the enemy of perfect. We love that we aren’t letting our careers keep us from living a life we enjoy. This is why we aren’t interested in slowing down our financial independence journey. And we relish the chance thoughts of how nice it will be when work emails and early mornings in the office no longer detract from those perfect days.
What made this day perfect? It was an entirely different kind of perfect day from the one I previously imagined. An unexpected, nearly free adventure dominated the day. Mr. Vine won the #Ham4Ham lottery and scored $10 tickets to Hamilton! The show was on a weeknight. Based on our work schedules that week, we couldn’t spend the night in the city where the show was. We had enough time to rush out of our offices at the close of business to make it on time for the show. And after the cast took their final bows, we drove home in the wee hours of the morning for a short night of sleep before heading back to work the next morning. It was logistically possible, but it definitely meant cramming the show into a busy work week. But we are so glad we made it happen. The show was phenomenal.
After winning the lottery, we had a little more than 24 hours before showtime. During this time, I checked out the Hamilton soundtrack from the library. The show is very fast-paced, so listening to the soundtrack in advance is a helpful primer. It also pumped us up to see the show (and kept us awake on the late night drive home). We came up with our departure time and handled any logistics that would improve our chances of making it to the theater on time. Mr. Vine used a parking app to snag a parking spot for only $5 that was a short 10 minute walk to the theater.
Once we had parked, we stopped by the theater to pick up the tickets from the box office. We found out where we were seated–in the second row. Although we’re no strangers to Broadway and off-Broadway shows, we’ve never been close enough to see the sweat and the spit during the performance. Tickets in hand, we headed off to a quick dinner spot. We still needed to eat and had about a half hour before the doors would open.
Mr. Vine located a takeout spot a couple of blocks away that serves my favorite local specialty. Of course he had a coupon for that, too! Our pre-theater dinner was a whopping $12. It was delicious and nostalgic fare, served quickly and eaten at a counter. It was perfect.
Because our tickets were inexpensive, we splurged on pre-show champagne at the theater to celebrate our great luck. Total cost = $18 (more than our dinner!). We snapped photos of the stage and selfies with our champagne flutes. All the while grinning at each other.
Did I mention the show was amazing? The cast was exceptional. The show is nonstop. It is inspiring and hopeful, and entertaining. We both walked out of the theater a little obsessed with all things Hamilton. We keep entering the lottery every day, hoping that one of us wins and we get to do it all over again. If you have a shot to see Hamilton, definitely don’t throw it away! Even with a takeout dinner and drinks at the theater, we spent less than one-third of the face-value for the seats we had.
The spontaneity of the experience added to my enjoyment. It all felt like such a wonderful escapade. This is the kind of thing I always want to say yes to. We are pursuing financial independence for exactly this reason. Winning the ticket lottery was a reminder of how lucky we are. It was a fun night, but it was also a significant landmark along our journey.
Going to see Hamilton reminded us to focus on the present. It’s so easy to get lost in our future plans. It’s tempting to wish away the next few years. And in the midst of the grind, it can be hard to say yes to something that introduces a bit of chaos into the week. But, today is all we are guaranteed. It’s important to make sure to enjoy the present as much as we can without compromising our future. This is a lesson we learn and relearn. Most days are more mundane than the day we got to see Hamilton for $20. But the routine days need not be joyless. Maybe it was our career jobs that made this day more perfect, rather than less so. If we were already retired, the choice to go would have been easy. We would have spent the night in the city and then slept in the next morning. We would have taken advantage of the lottery win for a few, slower days in the city. It might have been less magical. Undoubtedly part of the joy came from that “school’s out” kind of bliss we felt rushing from the office that day. Someday it will be nice to be more well-rested. Until then, you’ll find me sipping coffee with a smile at the previous night’s adventure, while getting down to business on any given morning.
How do you find balance between living in the moment and building your future? Have you had any adventures lately? What about a perfect day? Have you seen Hamilton?