Life sometimes seems to fly by at a blistering pace, doesn’t it?
“I can’t believe we’ve lived here for almost two decades,” my mom once told me about the house they seemingly moved into yesterday.
“The days are long, but the years are short,” a friend recently shared about watching her kids grow from toddlers to adolescents practically overnight.
It might not feel like it every day (especially when we’re endlessly refreshing investment account balances or counting down the days until our next work holiday), but the older we get, the more quickly the years seem to pass.
Is there any way to combat the perception of this merciless acceleration? How can we make our limited time on this earth seem to last as long as possible?
Daniel’s mom bought me a t-shirt.
It was very nice of her to think of me. A shirt is one of the few gifts I can actually use right now, and it’s been a long time since I last went shopping for clothes. It’s the newest thing I own by far.
Can you keep a secret?
Just between you and me: I can’t stand this shirt. When I wear it in public, especially if we’re on a trail or in a National Park, I find myself crossing my arms so that other people can’t read it.
The shirt in question
Cute, right? It’s so relevant to our travels! WOOooo, we’re free spirits! We go wherever, whenever. We’ve thrown caution and risk-aversion to the wind. “There’s no need for a plan,” we tell people. “Just go!”
It’s Wednesday. Whether you’re in the office break room or browsing social media, today always seems to generate the same chorus of calendar-based commentary:
“It’s hump day!”
“Friday is in sight!”
That’s a nice, positive way to look at it, though in the middle of a grueling work week, I often preferred George Carlin’s more humorous take:
“T.G.I. Friday’s… If I had a place like that, you know what I’d call it? H-S-I-O-W. Holy Shit, It’s Only Wednesday. I think people would drink a lot more liquor if they thought it was Wednesday all the time.”
Whichever perspective resonates with you this week, the underlying message is basically the same: The work week is a slog. We suffer through five days of drudgery for two days of relief. But hey, it’s almost reward time again.
Financial independence and early retirement are growing in popularity, but you don’t have to browse the comments sections of Forbes or Yahoo Finance long to find plenty of skeptics.
The FIRE critics represent many viewpoints. There are the well-intentioned risk-averse types, hesitant about the viability of supposedly “safe” withdrawal rates in today’s high-valuation environment. There are the traditional big-spender consumers, indignant about the viability of a low-spending lifestyle. And, of course, there are the ornery disbelievers, eager to pick apart the details of success stories and tell us all why it can’t be done.
But of all the negative reactions to early retirement, there’s one that I find to be just plain sad:
“Retire early? I don’t know what I would do with all that time without my job. I would be bored.”
I’ll give you a pass if you’re one of the lucky few whose job is your passion – that elusive “true calling” that gnaws at you any time you’re away. If you can’t imagine doing something else because you’re in love with what you do every day, great! Never retire from that.
But if you’re like most people, you probably aren’t jumping out of bed at 5 AM every day thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to start sitting in meetings and re-sizing text boxes in PowerPoint again!”
If the only thing separating you from boredom is a career you don’t really love, how dull are you?
A few weeks back, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. A light breeze blew through our remote dispersed campsite, the only source of noise for miles.
As I do pretty much every morning, I grabbed the backpacking stove, heated a couple liters of water, and made pour-over coffee for myself and English breakfast tea for Daniel. We cooked scrambled eggs and toast on the camp stove, lounged in our camp chairs for a while, then packed up and ventured down the dirt highway toward Peekaboo and Spooky Canyons, two well-reviewed slot canyon hikes about thirty miles south of the nearest paved road.