Things happen in life that change you in a really, really big way. Sometimes, you see the asteroid coming, and you know the impact is gonna be huge. Other times, it's just a small, average snowball... from that, you would never anticipate the avalanche. While I’ve talked about some of the various big moments I’ve experienced on my website, I’m going to try something different — chronological order! — in a new 4-part blog series called "How Did I Get Here?" This is Chapter 1.
In the year-plus since I semi-retired, I’ve noticed something unexpected: just how polarizing and controversial the word “retire” is. (Especially among the generation older than I.) And it’s really no wonder that some people straight up scoff at retiring early, in a nation where busy-ness and overwork is a badge of honor... and when the first question we are asked when we meet someone new is, “So what do you do?" But many of those reactions confuse me. Here's why.
I’m coming upon the end of my first year of mini-retirement, and as usual, I’m sharing yet another spending recap with you (as I’ve done all year long as I’ve traveled across Mexico and Europe)! You’ll recall, at the end of 2021, at age 36, I participated in the great resignation/financial independence retire early (FIRE) movement. After quitting my job, my goal for my semi-retirement was to take back my time, energy, and creativity for MYSELF, vs. my employer… and to get the most out of my travels sans the demands of a job. Now that my first year “on sabbatical” is coming to a close, here’s my total spending for the year (as an unemployed person spending five-sixths of the year traveling across 14 countries): $27,014.26, or $74 a day. This is how I lived. P.S. Want to join me for a free webinar and Q&A where I dig in deep to my budget and spending? Enter to receive the details by email.
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.
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.
When I announced that I was quitting my job after 14 years in the workforce and taking a 180-day sabbatical in Mexico on savings, “Why Mexico?” was one of my frequently asked questions. My answer is three-fold...
The average person works super hard for ~45 years and hopes all his efforts have paid off; that he will still have physical health and presence of mind (and financial security) to enjoy the time he has left. It doesn’t always work out that way. Case in point: my father. I’m young (36). I’m healthy. I’m single, un-obligated and uninhibited, with only a pup to care for. So to my employer: it's over. It’s not you, it’s me. Call it a sabbatical or a mini retirement or a temporary early retirement, I need to put my priorities, passions, and purpose first. I’m going where the creativity takes me, while I have the blessing of mental prowess, physical health, and minimal obligations.