On the surface, it’s sold as a shiny gateway to unadulterated freedom, leisure and fulfillment. What’s not to love? “I want to travel the world”, “I’ll never set my alarm again” or “I’ll spend my days posted up at the beach, margarita in hand” are common musings I hear when this topic comes up in conversation.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the early retirement dream, but I can’t help but wonder if the way we view our future has unintended consequences on the way we view and live our lives now, in the present.
You won’t get these years back
Let’s say you’re 40 years old. You’ve spent your 20’s and 30’s in the corporate rate race, you’ve missed out on quality time with family and friends, you’ve passed up countless “bucket list worthy” opportunities and you’re stressed. Stressed as hell, but just 5 more years, right? 10 more? Then you’ll be free? I wish I could say this story isn’t common.
Don’t wait for freedom.
Don’t wait for freedom because there’s never a guarantee that freedom will come later, at some point, in the future. No amount of money or time can change that fact. You can’t predict what life events will transpire in the coming years, how your health will be, or even if you’ll still be the same person with the same goals and aspirations. Freedom, leisure and fulfillment aren’t “things” you’ll magically get the day you’ll have more time and more money, the day you retire.
If you start to view freedom, leisure and fulfillment as necessary parts of daily living, you start to take ownership over your life. You start saying “yes” more often to things you want to do and “no” more often to things you don’t want to do. While I’m not advocating that you spend your money irresponsibly, stop saving for retirement and abandon your responsibilities, I am supporting the idea that the compounding effect of these seemingly small, daily “yes” and “no” actions can have a profound impact on your immediate and long-term well-being.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!