December 10, 2021 was my last day of full-time employment, and if I were to sum up my first year of semi-retirement in one statement, it’s this: I am prioritizing myself like I’ve never done before. And while this could be a side effect of the fact that no employer owns my workday, this is also me making a conscious choice… I’ve chosen this. I’ve re-prioritized. I’ve identified what matters to me, decided how I’m going to live my life, and I’m doing it. And ever since then, this choice has shown up in my life in several ways.
After I quit my job, transitioning from an earner to a spender was not emotionally easy for me… but this is how I adjusted, and now, I'm at peace with it.
I may WANT to work again, should my choices dictate. But probably, definitely, not in the way that a lot of people work — because they have to, because they're trapped in a debt cycle, because the lifestyle they've chosen comes with a never-ending financial responsibility, because they care about status and appearances and bigger and better and more. Not me.
Three-bedroom house and 2-car garage. Six-figure salary and company-sponsored health care. My family, friends, and country of origin. I had all the stability and security and comfort in the world, and I gave it all up. I wrestled with my decision for a really long time, and I ran through scenarios, numbers, and options. Sure, it didn't make logical sense. Who would throw away a money-making asset such as a house? Why leave a job that more than paid the bills, that allowed me to live nomadically and travel the U.S. while working remotely? Who would drive to Mexico and stay for 6 months, leaving her family, friends, language, and way of life behind? It didn't make sense, but I kept on dreaming. My longings for a life of adventure, of discovery, of escaping tradition and societal expectations — couldn't be silenced. And so I adopted these three mantras, which I hold dear to me and share with you now.
Before you say, "I’m one of those people who will never get ahead, who will never be able to save, who will never be able to not work"... in 2017, I had no job, a car I owed on, a $1,350 house payment on a house full of stuff I never used, peanuts in my 401K, and only $1,500 in cash. That was my situation, and I made changes. You can too.
How am I able to do what I’m doing — quit my job at age 36 to travel the world? Critics call it privilege, and I’m not denying certain benefits I’ve had, but I want to get real for a second. There’s privilege, there’s luck, and there’s choice, and the differences are distinct.