Growing up, ‘careers’ seemed straightforward: Study. Get a job. Do that job for a very long time. Retire in your old age and enjoy spending that money.
The ideal scenario was therefore to get a high-paying job and retire as early as possible.
But, it wasn’t until I read ‘The 4-hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss that I came to see another way to retire, a better way.
The traditional retirement plan never sat well with me.
Why do we have to spend our best years working so hard just to leave the fun till old age?
Besides, how would we even have the energy to make use of that money once we possessed it?
‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ introduced to my naive brain the concept of multiple ‘mini-retirements’ throughout our lives, instead of the traditional, singular one.
He proposed taking large hiatuses throughout our careers, allowing us to live life to the fullest whilst we still had our youth. To pursue a craft. To travel the world. To move countries.
I didn’t think him to necessarily mean ‘retirement’ in the literal sense but rather, to be more conscious of living alongside our lengthy careers. To reset. Reinvent. Rebuild. And sometimes, that takes more than a weekend city break to accomplish.
Retiring in our 60s and 70s means more health considerations, more commitments and more dependents. It’s not the ideal time to make a start on our bucket lists (although better late than never!).
Ferriss showed me a different path. And now, I can’t imagine accepting anything less.
This book had me thinking, could the ‘mini-retirements’ plan be the new gold standard? Was it feasible? Were there any downsides?
Well, first it had to beat everyone’s favourite: the work-hard-and-retire-early plan.
But I soon realised a flaw with this one, too.
Unless we inherit a large sum of money, retiring early requires working extremely hard. And it’s my theory that anyone who internalises the drive and discipline to work that hard moulds into someone that cannot easily switch that off.
So, paradoxically, the hardest workers may just be the ones who choose not to rest, even when presented the opportunity to do so. Another reason to support the ‘mini-retirements’ plan.
We all strive for work-life balance, but our mentality is to work all day to live ‘someday’.
I don’t want to chase the elusive ‘someday’. I’m scheduling it in.