I’ll miss work. My contracts over the past couple of years have had me working with a dedicated, professional, fun and interesting group of people. The project I’m currently managing is complex enough to keep me engaged, while simple enough for us as a team to consistently deliver good results. It’s self-affirming. Yes, I will miss work. Nevertheless, in 49 working days I’ll retire alongside Ju, both of us at the age of 43.
It would be a lie to say I’m not counting the days. Each evening brings me closer to climbing back into our motorhome, everything we need carefully chosen and packed inside, and taking to the open road again with no ‘return to work’ date. I know what it means to hit the road, as we’ve done it before, albeit previously always on a time-limited basis. It means the drug of freedom is just around the corner, within touching distance. The investments we now have in the UK will, with a reasonable degree of certainty, mean we can both look forwards to a lifetime of travel, or whatever else we choose to do, in comfort and free of financial fear.
A friend asked me today how I feel about being so close to this ‘freedom point’. In all honesty I expected over the past months I would be ecstatic by now, but I’m not. I do get a rush of excitement from time to time, but I’ve been here before, more than once, and the lack of exuberance has been a common feature at this stage in the game. I suspect it comes from the way in which I function: I tend to go all-out, taking on risk, putting up with situations I’d prefer not to be in, working and training over long hours, living the job. Finally by the time it gets close to the point this pays off I’m just too knackered to get overly excited about it.
There’s an additional side to it this time: we’re not just quitting work for a bit. We’re done with it. At least in the traditional sense of commuting to an office for a living. Putting it bluntly, this means we’re jacking it in at the peak of our earning capability. If we both worked for another 12 years, to get us to a more ‘reasonable’ retirement age of 55 we could potentially earn a combined one million pounds. We both have high-value skills and a relentlessly positive attitude, so unless hit by ill health that’s a very realistic sum of money. Since our outgoings are already covered by investments, we’d pay tax, then see the rest of that cash in the bank (well no, in more investments). That’s money we’ll never see though. No matter how well planned our existing situation is, that is one wide-eyed choice to be making.
Our decision is made of course, and has been for some time: we’re out of there.
This might seem like a stupid and naive position. Reading it back, it even sounds like it to me. However, off in the background behind all of this is a serious amount of thinking, preparation, self-education, planning, planning and more planning. And further behind that is a blinding, burning light of desire. A why. Something we both care deeply enough about to carefully inspect that ghostly one million pounds and turn away, leaving it for someone else. The ‘why’ is the pull of freedom. Freedom to travel the Earth in our own way and at our own pace. Freedom to meet new people. Freedom to ponder new ideas. Freedom to spend time together, to give our time, to breathe deeply, to walk slowly. Freedom to never commute again.
So there it is. I will miss work. I’ll miss the steady income. I’ll miss the camaraderie. I’ll miss the free Klix machine coffee. 49 days, and counting.
P.S. 43 may seem like a stupidly early age to retire? If so, how does age 30 sound, with a family?