People tend to segment their lives into manageable portions that allow them to see where they are along life’s journey. The brackets are different depending on your culture, but generally fall into something like “school age”, “young adult”, “career”, “retirement” and eventually some sort of wrap up of the whole game. This system is pretty convenient as it dictates how to assess our situation and act at a certain point in your life, knowing where you are on that timeline.
You may be broke after college, but that is okay because the career portion is coming up and that is where you will make money and ‘have a life’
You may be broke after college, but that is okay because the career portion is coming up and that is where you will make money and ‘have a life’. Somewhere in the middle of that phase, you need to start thinking about the next… retirement… so you start to put away extra money and plan on what you will do when you don’t have to worry about making it.
About 10 years ago, when I met my wife, we both decided that we didn’t want to live a life in the traditional lifecycle. We both had seen our parents struggle through their ‘earning years’ only to see them not be able to full enjoy the fruits of their labor in the ‘sunset years’. Talk of American Social Security not being available was rampant, and we wondered if we would ever see any of it. Together, we made the active choice to live as close to a ‘retirement’ lifestyle as we could, while still maintaining one foot (or even two) in the ‘career’ portion. Overlapping the two meant that we would have to juggle some of life’s perceived priorities and place our own agenda first.
Of course, this intentional style of living does not come with every possible amenity afforded to those who choose not to follow it. There are pros and cons, but on the balance of life it works for us. We have found a way to make it work.
…they too could live a life mostly free of obligations, in a place they WANT to be, not HAVE to be…
When we meet people and share our story, generally their reaction falls into one of two categories: “That’s nice but I could never do that” or the one I love so much “Wow! Awesome! I could really do that!”. The joy in their eyes that – if only for a moment – they work out in their mind how they too could live a life mostly free of obligations, in a place they WANT to be, not HAVE to be and still be able to have a roof over their heads and food to eat.
Last night, we met a woman who had ‘that look’ in her eyes as we described our life. Together, we talked about how to make her job ‘portable’ and search out places and situations that allow her to function in a ‘normal’ fashion, while giving her the freedom to live the life she only saw as possible in retirement. I hope she follows through with it. The world needs more people living lives that make them happy. Happy people tend to not want to go on shooting rampages or blow up buildings. Happy people make the world – on average – a better place.
We don’t have it all, but what we’ve got it pretty awesome!
Independence Day, 2015. My wife and I are loving our lives, independent of the normal American societal dictates. We declare that our lives are ours… to be lived as we want them to be, not as someone else mandates. We don’t have it all, but what we’ve got is pretty awesome!