The idea of retirement has always been perplexing. Working for 40 years just to give yourself a nicer end to life seems a little backward. I would have imagined that people would want to distribute the retirement lifestyle across a life, or so at least that has been my thinking.
In the four-hour workweek, Tim Ferriss offered the idea of mini-retirements to his readers. This is probably the one thing I can point to that has changed the game with regards to my thinking around retirement. The traditional perspective has that “live to work” mentality while this has a “work to live” approach. We are only 25, 30, 35, and 40 once. Living those years mired in a seemingly perpetual grind is more than anything a depressing thought.
In principle, I don’t have any desire to retire. Retirement for me is the voluntary stopping of work in favour of enjoying life. Or at least that has been how I have been conditioned to perceive it. Living without having any projects going on, paid or unpaid, seems like a dire prospect. The difference that I see in the lifestyles of most retired people is that they swap paid versus unpaid endeavours. I would, however, still classify all that those projects as work. Whether it is taking a more active role in community groups or volunteering, it is all work. The other difference is that people probably enjoy it more because it is something they want to do and not something they don’t.
With that, I don’t see myself ever retiring. Going through a cycle of making some money and then using that to go off on some adventure seems like the best way to go. The toughest thing is getting over the idea of having enough. Once that’s in the bag, the idea of leaving paid work for adventures is an opportunity too good to miss.