I started this blog only a few weeks ago during my record 3.5 weeks off work (I think this will be the longest I have ever had off work since I finished high school about 15 years ago), and it has made these holidays something to remember.
I originally thought I would start the blog to share some of my journey (career, financials, and potentially some wisdom), and so most of my posts so far have been relatively technical in nature and not so much about me I guess. Who wants to hear about me anyway?
But as I sit here on one of the last days of my holidays, with the kids at daycare and my wife out visiting a friend, all I can think of is how great the holidays have been and that I just want to do this forever. Not “this” necessarily (and by “this” I mean sitting on the couch typing a blog entry, although I am quite enjoying the blogging thing so far), but the whole notion of not having to go to work, and not having to deal with the demands/expectations/people at work, and not having to carry the worry of work around with me all of the time. Not having that on my mind has been such a relief, and it has only made me want to get to FI even earlier.
Whenever the concept of early retirement is discussed with anyone not familiar with it (or should I say, the hyper-consumers who have never even thought of it because they simply don’t believe that it is possible), they immediately ask why you would want to be retired. “What would you do with all of your time?”, they say. It’s almost like they think that being at work is a good use of their time, and unless you can think of a “better” way to spend your time then you should just stay at work. But seriously, how could just about anything not be better than being at work? Isn’t that the most dreaded part of your entire life (aside from having to visit your mother-in-law)?!
So I’ll go back to work and people will ask me how my holidays were. I will say “Magic”, and they’ll ask “Wow, that sounds interesting, what did you do exactly?”. And then I won’t have much to say at all.
But the truth is, it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy with my time – I own my house, I have a beautiful wife who loves me, two amazing little girls (one is starting school next month) who provide endless entertainment and amusement, no debt (aside from a mortgage on an investment property), and our ideal house project (we will be renovating/extending the investment property and selling our current house to pay off the debt) currently in planning stages. So there isn’t that much more that I want from life other than the most valuable thing that there is – TIME.
I have had this discussion with my brother before and he was a bit shocked when I confidently said that the most valuable thing we have in life is time. That’s not to say that our loved ones aren’t “valuable”, but time lets us be with those loved ones, it lets us just “exist” in the closest state that we can get to “freedom”, and so for me it is certainly the most valuable thing. I think this may have actually stuck with him as he even mentioned it a few weeks later when I thought he may have forgotten it (we had had plenty of beers at the time, so sometimes discussions like these aren’t always remembered in full).
So I’ll try to explain to people at work how great my holidays have been (visiting my father-in-law on the coast for a week of swimming at the beach and in his pool, enjoying the warm weather, exercising every morning, doing jobs around the house, seeing my family, reading and watching the Walking Dead for the first time), but they will probably think that my holidays sounded boring (probably because I didn’t fly somewhere, or visit a theme park, or stay in a fancy hotel). I just don’t think it will ever sink in for some people until they actually see someone take that leap…
Anyway, that “leap” is still a number of years away yet, but I have the fire in my belly for it (the fire is burning as hot as it ever has now), so I just need to stay the course and keep at it!