I ran into two old friends last night and it was awesome. We did the perfunctory catching up and a little reminiscing as one would expect. One of my buddies works in the petrochemical industry and was talking about his plan for the next 15 years and I was immediately uncomfortable. He basically was mapping out the next 15 years and how he’d retire after. My immediate thought was. “I’d never do something i hated for 15 years of my life so I could retire. It just doesn’t jive with me.
I’ve long been anti “regular” jobs. Not because they were below me or anything, but because I don’t know that I could go do the same thing for day after day after day. The reward of money isn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not fat with cash and swimming in luxury, but I get to mostly do what I want when I want and that is payment enough on most days.
My second thought after “I couldn’t do that for the next 15 years,” was, “what if he gets to 60 with his pension/retirement waiting and then croaks on the first day he’s retired?” Yes. That’s exactly what I thought.
I don’t know that I’ll ever retire, but in the meantime, if I’m not going to be rich, I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my health. Like what if when I “retired” I couldn’t race and ride or whatever due to a health problem? Sitting on that pension watching Family Feud every day sounds stellar and all, but I think I’ll pass.
This isn’t me telling you what to do as much as it is an indictment on a mindset. I have a friend who’s an attorney in Idaho who spent a year or two working remotely from an RV. He was like “so I’m going to sit at a desk and waste my health and youth? I can do that when I’m 60.” I was all in.
I get it. Not everyone can switch careers and be whatever it is I am, and there are those that will argue that I’m being irresponsible and short sighted. I also know that for some people, they love their work and it 100% defines them. This is also awesome if that’s what you want.
My dad would have been 89 on Sunday. He retired in September of 2016, was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2017 and was dead by September of that year. He practiced medicine for 60+ years, and never gave himself much time to enjoy the fruits of his labor. One of the things I’d ask him if he were here would be “So was that worth it?” He may say yes and I’ll never know, but I’d like to think he’d have maybe lived a little more and worked a little less.
Since there’s no right answer. I’ll keep doing it this way.