Josh recently wrote an article about how he quit his job. He and I are both lucky to have retired at such a young age. We have 74 work-free years ahead of us. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, I am not averse to work, but for many, their work has turned into a race to see who can play the game the best. Who can put in enough hours to look busy and who can plan the most memorable social event for the office so they can work harder without realizing the time they are putting in.
My retirement years will be spent critically thinking, engaging new adventures, networking with all personalities, reading and always dreaming of what’s next.
The article Time Doesn’t Scale by Seth Godin resonated with me:
But people have discovered that after hour 24, there are no more hours left. Suddenly, you can’t get ahead by outworking the other guy, because both of you are already working as hard as Newtonian physics will permit.
Retirement doesn’t mean to cease creating, stop learning and sit around and wait to die. Retirement is simply a change of direction, a new course in life from what you have been doing, so why wait until you are 65 to retire. If your day to day doesn’t excite you, then don’t wait to change directions.
Stepping out from the corporate blanket is hard, trust me. Josh and I are still learning to adapt. The comfort of knowing where your next paycheck comes from and having the insurance and benefits provided along with an instant network of referrals, colleagues and a pipeline of work is difficult to give up. A secret that I am beginning to learn as I talk to more people nearing the average retirement age, is the fear doesn’t go away when you get older. You only get more comfortable with the routine that is given to you and the energy that once excited you is harder to dig up. The fear doesn’t go away, if anything it sits inside and is harder to overcome once entrenched.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
I retired from the rat race as America likes to call it. I am giving up on working longer hours seeking out minimal return. I am quitting the idea of getting paid to simply show up to work and give face time to an endless job. I will be better at what I do because I will have the energy to be present. My time will be spent wisely, but of my own accord. I will work hard, but the work will be worthwhile. My clients in Chicago will be more focused, fitter and healthier because of it.
I plan to put my energy into:
1. Things I emotionally and passionately connect with.
2. Activities that challenge me and encourage continual learning.
3. Work that I believe in.
Have you retired yet? Where has your change of direction taken you?
Learning is an ongoing profession and one that I never want to retire from. It’s just like you said, retiring in the traditional sense, can cause people to think you’re simply work averse, just LAZY. The truth is, those who chose an alternative path full of love, learning, and travel probably work harder than they would at any job but they also work smarter. They work for themselves. To better themselves and those around them. I can’t say I’ve ever changed a persons life, connected, or truly worked “HARD” at any desk job. Congrats!!
Caroline Eaton says
Completely agree! There is a pride in working for yourself – you are able to make the major decisions and you live with the consequences.
Retirement has such a negative connotation in the U.S., where all it should imply is a change of direction and hopefully a new sense of purpose.
Magu Bee says
If we consider “retirement” as in giving up the “real” professional career and living off the things that make you excited, to later/in between follow adventures you see ahead of you, then I guess I’d have to say I retired at 23. Straight after uni, without even ever entering the “real” life.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’d been provided for by my parents till graduation and am still getting money to go on with my life – I’ve started working (tutoring English) when I was 13 and have never stopped working till date. However, it wasn’t “normal” work and I often feel that others seem to have a very patronising attitude towards how I make my money, not being able to accept that my “professional” path truly is one of the many you can follow.
Hopefully, as more and more people break out of the routine we so dumbly follow as whole societies, people will come to realise just how awsome their lives can be.
Keep on living your dreams!
Caroline Eaton says
The patronizing attitude is hard to deal with, but you have to realize that it usually comes from a place of jealousy in their own lives, or frustration with their own choices and usually has nothing to do with you!
As long as you continue to be passionate about your work, it will show and you will help inspire those people who previously doubted you. Good Luck and keep living awesome!
I stumbled across your blog through the Street Smart Brasil website. My wife and I did a similar trip (Argentina, Peru, Singapore, Bali, Vietnam, HK) in 2010 for 6 months after quitting our jobs. I still regard it as one of the best decisions of my life. Even if you go back to the corporate world, the experience will forever change your perspective. I wish you and your husband all the best. You will never forget this experience! You can check out our travels here: http://www.seethisseethat.com
Caroline Eaton says
I agree Davidson, this is by far the best decision we have made and the year has been unbelievable! It is hard to think we only have 3 months left in 2012 – our minds are starting to wander to what’s next!
You have some great photos on your site – any recommendations on Inca Trail hike? we are heading to Peru in November.
Hi Caroline! I’m so happy I found your blog today. I can’t wait to go back and read more posts and get caught up! I just started blogging myself :]
This post is very inspirational. My future husband and I will be embarking on some very exciting life adventures soon (basically retiring from a mundane and starting a new one). I love the concept that we will be “retiring”. I’m just about fully self employed so the idea of traveling forever sounds amazing. I’d love to pick your brain via email sometime :] (questions like: how to choose where you want to travel, how to not go broke while traveling, how you maintain a blog while traveling, etc.)
Caroline Eaton says
Definitely email me! I would love to answer your questions – other travel bloggers were our main source of information prior to us leaving. When do you and your future hub leave? Ill be reading along! Stay i n touch and good luck with the planning!
Love your post! My wife and I have the same sentiments that we should not work just for the sake of working and following the crowd just because “that’s the way everyone had been doing it”
We left our jobs two years ago to travel and we’ve yet to stop. In fact, we were just in the Galapagos Islands and Cusco/Machu Picchu a few weeks back. Simply LOVE waking up to a new adventure everyday.
You guys write really well. Keep writing and who knows, maybe we will bump into each other on some strange part of the globe one day.
Josh Eaton says
Thanks TW! How did you like the Galapagos? Hope we can meet up someday too!
Love it! I’ve also just quit my job and next week will be leaving London armed with a one way ticket to Thailand. Who knows what exciting opportunities lie ahead, but I totally agree with your statement that once you open yourself up to it, you’re more focussed on the things that will really make a difference in your life and others.
Good work! All the best
I also retired at 26 🙂 two years later I wouldn’t trade it for a thing. Thanks for the inspirational and relatable piece.