This past week I went out of town on business. The place I stayed in was great – beautiful beach front resort with all the bells and whistles – they pretty much won a Four Diamond award, if that’s not grounds to be impressed I don’t know what is. I’m talking about Costa d’ Este – if you haven’t been or are looking for a great place to holiday I highly recommend checking them out. Ask for an ocean view room, second floor.
So anyway, after a reluctant, late and drawn out night of “shooting the breeze” with business associates, I wake up incredibly hungover – pretty much facing up to the fact the gym will have to wait until the evening time. Yet besides the hangover, I feel great – and after grabbing a bottle of water, plop myself back into bed admiring the view.
I slowly start getting ready for the day, while listening to some chill sounds of bossa nova floating out of the in-room speakers they provide for your iPod…and when I finally am dressed, the pounding headache and insurmountable weakness from alcohol felt suddenly disappears – and the same feeling that’s always pushed me to do more and be better comes over me.
It’s the feeling of wanting more, wanting to see more, wanting to do more. It made me think of my retirement plans and how I’ve been slowly but surely building up to the ideal lifestyle I’ve had in mind for years. In experiencing all this, I wanted to share my thoughts and some discussions I’ve had regarding retirement – when I say retirement, it’s not at all what the typical meaning of it is nowadays. I’m not at all talking about going someplace nice to die once someone’s reached past the age of 65…because really when you think about it, that’s the type of retirement that’s been pitched for decades…and it’s downright depressing.
The kind of retirement I’m talking about is enjoying life now, and coming up with a way of having a consistent stream of income with minimal effort – automated practically. A lot of people raised on the standard society model deem this impossible and foolish. Even back in my university days I once had a (friendly) debate with a mate of mine who was a real penny pincher, and believed that he should be a miser so all the money he saved could be enjoyed when he turned 65.
Whenever I hear this type of logic I have a tendency to ask someone – what if they saved all that money then died the next day after they finally go to cash out? What would they have to account for it….? What could they say they did that was extraordinary with their life? What would they say they missed out on that they wished they did…?
Too often people are concerned about saving money for retirement, instead of saving money or utilizing credit in a sound way to build a business (see my Musings Episode 19) to where it pays you. Little do they know by the time you save that money, inflation’s already devalued it and you end up having less by the time your skin turns wrinkly. I want everyone to learn and understand that waiting until you get older is a played out method of thinking of things, and enjoying life in general. There’s no joy in going to pick up that sports car you wanted 30 years ago only to drive it slow as all get out because you’re older now.
Retirement doesn’t have to mean being over the hill and waiting until the beginning of the month for your pension check or social security – retirement can be right now – from mini holidays to treating yourself to something you’d usually steer clear of because “it’s the responsible thing to do”. I’m not saying go out there and blow your life savings on a Ferrari – that’s beyond stupid.
What I am saying is instead of planning for decades ahead, shift your focus instead towards creating an actual bucket list and starting with the simplest things to accomplish right now. If you already have a bucket list go over the things you set out to do and have accomplished, and work with it the same way – at least if you get the simplest things out of the way the bigger goals may seem like less of a challenge.
Early retirement doesn’t have to mean having all the money in the world – it can simply mean taking small steps towards your goals bit by bit. It doesn’t mean stop working all together – it simply means finding ways to check off certain things from that mental list you’ve always had. It means turning that mental list, into an actual hardcopy list.
The first place to start is imagination. It sounds childish – but really the main song that was ever so popular in the original Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory movie never rang so true. As we age, we’re taught that imagination is for kids, and that it’s time to face the real world and focus on real responsibilities. Yet no one every told us that if we continued to use our imagination, we could potentially and almost certainly come up with even better ways to take care of those responsibilities – hell, possibly even easier ways, no doubt.
I know that this may sound like a sort of rant but really it’s just a collection of thoughts I’ve had jumping around in my head for a while, that resurfaced into actual structured paragraphs and sentences since Vero. I want everyone to experience the great parts of life now, not later. There’s so much more to it than getting up and doing the same mundane process over and over, week in week out.
In the words of William Faulkner,
“It’s a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can’t eat for eight hours; he can’t drink for eight hours; he can’t make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work.” – William Faulkner
While I believe that there are some things that a person can do for more than 8 hours (such as lounging on a boat 😉 ) this quote really hits home – there was something I used to say when I was a kid to my parents….
Why is it, that adults can make money to pay the bills, and adults can make it on time to their place of employment to do someone else’s work….but it’s so hard to find time for other things?
Sometimes I wonder if as humans some people get into a sort of lazy pattern…the “Who moved my cheese?” syndrome. More than likely people do – you see it everyday…but I don’t wanna focus on that – the main thing is, with enough effort, and enough energy, and enough outside-the-box thinking – I believe as humans we can have whatever we want.
It just takes some creativity. So exercise your mind – exercise your body. Join a sport. Check something of your bucket list. Don’t zone out to the daily doldrums of television – actually it’s a lot easier to live without TV than you may think – just this past month I gave up TV all together and now I only pay for telephone and internet. A) I don’t have the time for it, and B) it’s not worth giving time.
Because when you get to a point in life, where you want to watch your life unfold into something great – instead of vegging out and watching others – you’ll begin to play a whole different ball game.
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