I was reading a blog post yesterday that I could really relate to. One that involves a conversation I have had myself and overheard other people having many times over the years. The idea that one needs to work in order to avoid boredom. The idea that without employment, we are goldfish aimlessly swimming around a small glass bowl.
This shouldn’t be the case for anyone.
Over at Fifth Wheel Physical Therapist, Dr. Jared Casazza (I am always fearful of only stating the first name if there is a ‘Dr’ in front of it!) has had conversations with patients about retiring at 30. And it seems like a common response is ‘well, what would you do for the rest of your life?’. This doesn’t surprise me as I have heard many people responding in similar ways. Not that I have ever said I would or could retire at 30, it is two years away and retirement being an option is a million miles away. Instead, the conversation is often on the topic of gaining a huge amount of wealth in a very short space of time, winning the lottery for example. The responses have often been against the idea of too much wealth.
‘I wouldn’t want too much. A million will do. You know, enough to get by.’
What?! How long would a million last today anyway? It depends where you live I guess. I think here in Australia it wouldn’t last too long.
If I had the option, I wouldn’t settle for enough to simply get by. What is the reasoning for having a limited amount in the account? A fear that too much will change me as a person? A fear that too much would get me everything, the joy of saving up and really enjoying the idea of buying something would disappear after my first Ferrari and private jet purchase? I am confident that a large percentage of people that make the above statement would change their tune if they discovered an eight figure sum at the ATM. I would hope so anyway.
In my opinion, refraining from great wealth or an early retirement is to have no ambition outside of a job. If this job is one you enjoy doing, great. But for many of us, we aren’t in jobs that we want to be doing. The jobs we are in take 40-60 hours out of our week that we could be spending dong what we want to do. How many years is that accumulated over a lifetime? I wouldn’t want to know. Think of the time freed up from retirement. Think of the possibilities wealth could bring. All the books that could be written, all the countries that could be visited, all the instruments and languages that could be learned, the apps that could be designed, all the furniture that could be created from scratch. Whatever your personal interests are, they now have unlimited potential.
It could be argued that some of these could be considered work, however if it is something I enjoy doing I wouldn’t call it work. I blog about 40 hours a week now (not intensely, but I am present) and I do not consider it work. If I retired and continued blogging, I would be work free.
Jared (yep, I did it) has put together a list of things he would try to complete upon retirement. One that ends the question, ‘would you be bored?’.
The list is as follows:
- “Slow travel” internationally 1-3 months at a time in different countries
- Travel to all 50 states in the U.S.
- Spend more time with family
- Reach the summit of all the high points in the lower 48 (possibly 50, but we’ll see…)
- Learn Spanish
- Learn to play the guitar
- Get back into playing chess competitively (a childhood hobby of mine)
- Learn to ballroom dance
- Hike the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail
- Compete in a power lifting competition and a physique competition
- Write on this blog to help educate and motivate others
- Learn to garden
- Experiment with diets and eating schedules to find what works best for me
- Find the sleep schedule that works best for me (I’ve never been a morning person, and despite years of fighting it, I think I will embrace it after retirement)
- Practice meditation and yoga
- Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Take a class on wood working
- Become more proficient with simple car repairs
- And finally, have kids and possibly home school them!
I am sure everyone has a list of ambitions. One that may contain five or fifty five bucket list items. What would yours include? Not forgetting of course that our potential wouldn’t be as limited as it is today. There would be so many more doors opened by this change that our boredom wouldn’t manifest as early as we think it would. Elon Musk could right now be riding around the streets in sports cars bored out of his mind if he didn’t have aims. But why would he choose boredom when he can help design a city on Mars? I am sure he doesn’t class this as work. The more we have, the less excuse we have to be bored.
There will be people that say no Sam. I want a simple life. If I was to have the option of retiring I wouldn’t. I enjoy my job as a bingo caller in the local community and this is what I would continue to do. Wealth wouldn’t change this, neither would the option of leaving the role.
I would say to this person congratulations. It seems you have one item on the list and it is one you have achieved. If it is a job you enjoy, I would probably say you have pretty much retired into a life you want with pay and that is all that matters. Now, it is down to the rest of us to follow suit.