“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
“And may be I haven’t found the right job”
[ Day 25 of 2000 ]
This is a question I have been thinking about for a long time. If you are not considering early retirement, you could ask yourself that question in another way – If you won a million dollars (or 2, or 10, or whatever you can think of!) now, what would you do with your life?
Where do I want to live? Last summer, we went on a road trip to California (2+ weeks, ~5000 miles driven, was great fun!). When we reached South Dakota, BusyDad declared that he wanted to retire there. I think he was part-joking, I haven’t checked with him afterwards. He asked me if I would be open to that. For the first time in my life, I thought about it.
I was born in Kuwait, raised in Kerala(India), spent most of my adult life in Bangalore(India), and have been living in Massachusetts for the last 4 years. I told him that I wanted access to a library, the internet and should have a hospital within a reasonable distance. Apart from that, I don’t really care where we lived. My response surprised even myself. But I have thought about it more, and I realize that it is true.
Having said that, I acknowledge that we are probably going to stay where we are at least until 2027 (when GBoy starts college). We are probably going to stay in the USA even after that as well. If we wanted to go back to India to retire, we can afford to do it right now. Both BusyDad and GBoy gets asthma attacks when we go to India – From the pollution, I guess. Apart from these vague plans, I don’t know where we will settle down finally. We will probably move to a place where the property taxes aren’t so high, and house itself costs less.
What will I do all day long? I cannot see myself sitting idle at home, watching TV. If you look at my life so far, I was always doing something. I cannot even imagine not doing anything. I like working hard – Why else would I even start this blog? Have I already mentioned that I am busy? 😀
The thing I enjoy doing the most whenever I get some time is going on long walks – No speed walking for me. Just ambling along, letting my mind wander and with no particular destination. Walking lets me think, lets my creativity flow.
My second favorite activity is reading. I like reading, escaping to another world. I could imagine myself curling up with a good book to read. My favorite place in my world right now is our local library. Most of the time, I am there just because GBoy likes to read and we are picking up books for him. I pick up some for me, but many of them are returned unread.
Another part of my identity is creating things – I like painting, wood working, crochet, knitting, any kind of crafting activity. I like learning things off the internet and using it for unusual purposes. The one thing I really want, but I haven’t let myself buy so far is a 3D printer. May be I will buy one when I retire.
If you look at all my favorite activities so far, you can see that I have not included anything that means interacting with people. But I love talking to people. So I need to find activities through which I can meet people, and interact with them. I think I am going to work just for this purpose, even if I do not need the money. I might have to find one employment after another until I finally find the one that I will do for the rest of my life. I cannot imagine what that is going to be. I know for a fact that I will be employed for a long while even after the next 1975 days.
The next question is actually a part of this one, but I treat it separately because it is a pretty common requirement for people, and is especially expensive.
Will I travel a lot? I wouldn’t consider myself well traveled, but I have traveled enough that just the thought of traveling doesn’t get me excited any more. I know a lot of people who say that traveling is what they will do if they had the money/time. I would have, a few years back.
There are a few places I would like to see, if I get a chance. I want to see Aurora Borealis, may be visit the pyramids. I have never been on a cruise ship, so that is another thing I may do someday. Although I say I want to do these, if I die today I won’t have any regrets about not seeing any of them.
In short, I do not want to travel a lot. I don’t mind traveling, and I probably will. But that is not something I will miss a lot if I can’t afford to. That is a good thing, because if I had to budget for a lot of travel, retiring this early wouldn’t have been a possibility.
I do see a lot of blogs where they do ‘travel hacking’, part of it coming from signing up for credit cards and using the points for travel. I like the part about being flexible about the date and the place, and that is something we can afford to do if we retire. However, signing up for credit cards and using the points for traveling – We do it already to some extent. I don’t actually use it for traveling, though. We just convert the points to dollars. If it absolutely can be used only for traveling (or is not advantageous to convert to dollars), we use it for traveling. For instance, we took a road trip to North Carolina the week of Thanksgiving, and spent about 300 dollars (and a lot of points) on the entire 5 day trip. Most of that was for the tolls (close to 100 dollars), and gas (another 100 dollars). We could have flown, we did have some miles, but all three of us hate everything about taking a flight.
All my questions and answers led me to believe that what I want is not just leaving my job. That is just the easiest way to get there. What I want is a leisurely life where I am never in danger of being late for anything.
- I am still going to wake up early like I do now. And I will not be making my mental to-do list before I am even out of the bed.
- I am going to have a schedule that I generally adhere to.
- I am going to have a job, probably part time, and may be even be a volunteer position – I won’t need the money, I can pick something I truly like. And I can take my own time trying out different things until I find the one.
- I will do my grocery shopping on the weekdays (Trust me, I am looking forward to that!)
- I will do almost all of my cooking at home.
- I will go for long walks, read a lot of books, and spend time at the library.
- I will spend time picking out the crafts I want to try, and actually try it.
- May be, by then, I will have learnt how to write really good blog posts 🙂
I am going to use the time to figure out who I truly am, and what I would like to become.