We “retired” at the ages of 44 and 53, which makes us “early retirees” or does it?
The word retirement implies not only relaxing on the beach with rum cocktail in hand, but also the ceasing of productive work. Although we are no longer working on the corporate worlds 9-5 treadmill, we are still being productive. Over the last few months, we have learnt about wordpress, blogging, writing and photography and been paid for our work—guess we must still be doing productive work?
Like many people who want to “retire early” we were driven by what we wanted to escape from—drudgery, stress, boredom, monotony–we wanted out of the “rat race”.
We also knew what we were retiring or moving toward—a better quality of life–time to travel, to pursue hobbies and unfulfilled ambition. Seeds planted by my English teacher years ago have begun to grow, I have time to explore what he saw in me and become the writer he nurtured.
One of the family surprised us by following Michael’s footsteps into engineering. surprising because at 8 years old he was going to be an entomologist. Will he like Michael realize twenty years into his chosen career that he is on the wrong treadmill, should he have gone for entomology after all?
In my prior career “financial freedom” was a term used a lot, after all, “financial freedom” will allow you to retire early. Or will it? That depends on whether you are moving “toward or going away”.
There is an important difference, “going away” goals and dreams, lead to temporary satisfaction or happiness–a honeymoon–without purpose, discontent will eventually set in. Stories abound of successful entrepreneurs retiring in their thirties and forties, only to find themselves bored, frustrated and looking for something new to do.
“Going toward” goals are what lead to long-term happiness and fulfillment. If your reason for getting off your own personal treadmill is to make space, time and freedom to do something that you really enjoy, whether that is volunteering, or an entrepreneurial dream then it will never be “work” because you will be doing something that “juices” you.
I really enjoyed reading this financial planners views on the subject, (I did borrow his terms going away and going towards, as it sums it up so well). I also agree that if you really want to do something different with your life, you do not have to be “financially independent”, however you do have to be willing to make some changes in your life.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~~ Mark Twain~~
As always we want to hear from you, are you “moving toward” or “going away”?