Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 3, 2010
What are we? It’s a good question. Are we what we do for pay: an engineer or school board trustee? I don’t think so, if I lost my job I’m still me. Or are we what we are called by others: son, father, husband? Again I don’t think so, since you don’t have to father to be a dad or I don’t stop being a grandson after my grandparent dies. Or are we just the sum of our memories? I’m going to have to disagree with that as well, since I get the strangest impulses to do things that have nothing to do with a memory of a place or an event.
Are we perhaps just what we are? Names, titles, past or present don’t really define us. Rather we define ourselves minute by minute and day by day by our thoughts, actions and feelings. On one hand it’s a rather simple concept, yet on the other the implications get complicated. Because if you really understand that fact the world always has unlimited potential.
You don’t have to work somewhere where you hate your job or stay in a relationship that is giving you no happiness or joy. You don’t have to settle for what you are told is right for you. Instead you can always live out your dreams, not tomorrow or next week but rather right now. Because once you realize your define yourself and others don’t define your by their expectations or wishes everything becomes just a choice. You can either conform to the life you are told to live or live the life you want.
Will it be a scary thing to do? Yes. Will others be upset with you? You are almost guaranteed to piss off someone. Yet the reality will be this: you will never be happier than when you are being yourself as defined by you. It will take some time to determine what is really you, rather than your old habits from what others expected of you.
I’ve personally been at this for years. I often ask myself: is this what you want or what you were told to want? So the other day when someone asked if I was interested in getting an MBA I told the truth: ” No, I have no interest in that.” Why? I won’t use it all that much (after all I’m retiring in less than 15 years) and the fact is I don’t have much interest in most of the courses. I certainly think some people would expect me to get it, but I don’t really care.
So before you assume much of anything about your retirement plans such as when to stop working, with how much money and what you will be doing in retirement. You need to ask yourself “is this what I want?”. It’s a rather simple question, but the answers could drastically alter your plans.