My Dad used to tell me not to wish my life away. I was always looking forward to what was coming, what would make my life better.
When I was 7 I couldn’t wait to be 10–double digits!
When I was 10 I couldn’t wait to be a teenager.
When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to drive.
When I could drive, I couldn’t wait to graduate.
When I graduated I couldn’t wait to go to college.
When I went to college I couldn’t wait to graduate.
When I graduated, I couldn’t wait to hear if I passed the CPA exam.
When I passed the CPA exam, I couldn’t wait to start my real job.
When I started my real job, I couldn’t wait for time off.
And for the last 22 years, I couldn’t wait for summer.
While I also couldn’t wait to retire.
Now that I’m retired, I look forward to various events in the future but I no longer find myself wishing my life away.
Even when we were getting ready to migrate to the desert for the winter, I wasn’t longing for it like I had in the past. It was more like a balancing of what we would be losing (I miss you my mountain friends!) and what we would be gaining (mmm-warmth, and desert friends!).
I think that means I’ve finally found my happy time in life. There’s no longer the need to wish my time away.
When you have BIG financial goals like early retirement, it’s difficult to find the right balance between living for later and living for now. And that right balance will be different for each of us.
Much of the population is too focused on living for now. Just have a look at current personal debt levels and that is clear.
I was too focused on living for later.
What should have been a huge wake up call didn’t even change that balance. We lost Mr. Ms. Liz’s Mom when she was 64–a year before she intended to retire.
Living for later doesn’t always pay off.
So how do you find the right balance for you? We started using the die tomorrow test. If we were to die tomorrow, would we be happy with our choices? When the answer was no, we would talk about what we needed to change.
Among other things, those conversations led to us buying a boat.
If we hadn’t bought that boat, we would have reached financial independence earlier. But at what cost? We could have been hit by a bus before getting there.
We would have missed out on countless weekends at the lake with our friends. And those friendships wouldn’t be as rich.
Our lives are rich in so many ways and each decision we made to get here created that wealth.
So think about your balance between living for later and living for now. Ask yourself that die tomorrow question, tweak that balance and repeat. It’s a never ending process.
I’d love to hear your stories! Have you been really out of balance? What have you done to correct it? I look forward to your comments.
Photo credit – Ms. Liz at The Linq, Las Vegas, Nevada