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End Game: Retire Early Or Work Happy?

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I recently came across a great post over at Canadian Dream that resonated with me quite a bit. You can read the whole post here, but this was my favorite part:

“Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of retirement planning is getting to know yourself specifically your wants and needs to plan a successful retirement. Often we plan our retirement to the last dime and forget about fill those extra 2000 hours a year when our job is gone.”

I never really gave it all that much thought when I first got out of college and hit the work force. I did what every other college graduate does, find a job..any job, to start paying off my student loans and to bring in income. After successfully acquiring said job, it was actually fun at first. I was working in an industry I liked in a tolerable office with people I could stand to be around. I also had more money than I needed, and life was good…at least for awhile.

Weeks turned into months, months into well over a year, and I began to have faint hints of frustration and boredom. Often times I’d drag myself into work, much like every other day, and wonder “Is this it? This is my life?” Going to work, grinding out the day, going home for a few hours of rest and relaxation, only to get back up and doing the exact same thing until I finally got to the weekend. I came to a lot of conclusions during that time:

  • I don’t want to sit in an office for the rest of my life.
  • I want to do work that’s challenging and fun, but doesn’t sap my energy for everything else.
  • I want to work the way I want to, on the schedule I want to, and not be a slave to the incessant nine to five grind.
  • I wanted to travel.
  • I wanted to work for myself.

All of this thinking began to breed an increasing amount of restlessness. In the grand scheme of things, my work seemed rather hollow, devoid of real meaning. To what end was I working? What was my ultimate purpose, coming to work day in and day out to pluck away at literature orders and answering shareholder questions. At the end of the day, what was the point of me being there?

I  certainly don’t have all the answers. I guess you could call me an aspiring writer at the moment. I’ve landed a number of freelance writing gigs and continue to develop my line marketing prowess, but my income is still well below where I was. It’s stressful, to be sure, trying to juggling taxes and paying the bills and trying to build out various aspects of my driving revenue under my own steam, but it’s also satisfying. Every new client I land and every new site I build brings a sense of satisfaction I never had during my time in corporate cubicle life.

Ultimately there’s a lot still to be nailed down. Namely figuring how how my soon to be wife will help support us when we begin our journey of long term travel. With the economy heading into a serious downturn, it’s also entirely possible that I’ll have to pick up at least a part time job to keep afloat. Until that time, however, I’m fully committed to working toward my goals with every passing day.


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