I’m writing this post while still on vacation, but something just struck me and I need to share it with you…
Not so long ago, I was sitting on a nice balcony, glass of wine in hand, talking with my wife about how great our life is; we are young, healthy and have awesome kids and great friends to share our happiness with. We were at the vacation property we rented, right after all our friends left after a great weekend where we had fun, ate well and laughed a lot. This is when my wife looked at me and said:
“Why don’t we go home early?”
And she laughed.
That question was a half joke half statement. We are living a great life at home, why would we want to rent a vacation property for a week? This is when I start thinking about mini retirement.
If you have read The Four Hour Work Week you probably remember Tim Ferris’ mini retirement. In his book, he suggested that we should enjoy life right now through mini retirement (6 to 12 months trips) instead of working all your life and “pulling out the plug” at 65.
This is surely an appealing concept since we would all love to learn to work just enough to go to our next mini retirement and enjoy life most of the time. Unfortunately, after we dream a bit, reality is waiting at the corner to slap us in the face so we realize that our day job doesn’t let us do this (thanx to the Dream Crashers!). It’s also very hard to picture a family of 5 in mini retirement as the whole process described in his book looks like an individual goal. I’m not saying you can’t do it, just saying that things get a little bit more difficult when you crunch your dream with reality.
This is why I had in mind to retire early. My worst case scenario includes a complete retirement at 55. But I’d like to retire much younger than that. Here again, you can tell me it will get harder when I try to match my fairy tale with reality!
This is when I came with a new idea: why not transform my whole life into a mini retirement?
And this is when I noticed that I’m almost there already!
You work all your life to finally stop when you are dead tired and hope to live healthy for a dozen years before slowing down for good (do you know a lot of marathon runners at the age of 77?). But I found that there is another option: you could start enjoying your life right now and never have to wait until you’re retired.
Since I still can’t do an early retirement extreme, I have to focus on something else. The concept of enjoying my life right away is similar to a mini retirement. The only difference is that I need to reduce the word “mini” to “teenie weenie” and take three days off in a row each week instead of 6 to 12 months like Tim suggests. Since I work four days a week already, it’s not impossible to achieve. On my “work week day off” I usually do some blogging (for about six hours). I actually enjoy this time alone in my basement and would probably continue to do it anyways if I was going to retire.
Then, what I need to have is a list of things I normally do on vacation or that I would do if I was retired. When you think about it, things shouldn’t be that different once you are retired. But have you noticed that you may do things you never do while you are on vacation? For example, I never read a book during the year. The only time I read books is when I’m on vacation. However, I spend countless evenings at watching mediocre programs on TV once the kids are asleep. I’m starting this very week to read once a week in order to enjoy more books from now on!
I recently came back from a soccer tournament where I was coaching. This was such a fulfilling experience that I thought I should do more of this during my time off. I don’t need to wait until I’m retired to get involved in my community, I just have to use my “boring” evenings and transform them into mini-retirement as well!
How many times do you do something that bores you to the bones but still do it anyhow? I think that retiring is synonymous with doing what you like. But if you don’t do it while you work, why would you start when you retire? I think this is something to think about 😉
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