I can always tell now when I have had a particularly bad week when I start running calculations on what would happen if I just quit now? Previously when I would look at the results I would end up being disgusted and give up the idea, but recently as I get closer to my long term savings goal the result come back in the realm of reasonable. Ugh, now what? How do I hand on when leaving is starting to look good.
So I have had to change tactics with the fantasy of just quitting tomorrow and take a step back and consider the big picture. Right now I’m in my peak earning and compounding phase, which basically means for terms of saving and investing money that is doesn’t get any better than this. So then I start to play a little game with myself that goes like this:
Could you last another month? Yes, no big deal.
How about three months until after [insert life event or holiday]? Mmm, yah, I guess.
So what’s the big deal about a few more months after that? If there is little difference between 1 and 3, or 3 and five, why is there any more or less between 10 and 13 months? Ugh, damn you logical mind.
The debate really isn’t about logic, but rather emotions. When you are tried, stressed or feeling a bit down, it becomes easy to image all the worlds problems melting away just because you no longer have to go to work. Yet of course that really doesn’t happen, some problems will remain regardless of your job. Early retirement is NOT a cure all. It won’t make you sexier, happier and achieve enlightenment. Rather it may give you time to get into working out more, do more things you enjoy and meditate, but the fact of the matter is you still need to do something other than quit your job to achieve those. Which of course if you worked on them now you may actually be sexier, happier and achieve enlightenment even with your job.
People who go after early retirement like to demonize work and blame it for lots of things, but often it isn’t all to blame. It may not help things or compound other issues going on in your life, but work itself isn’t a bad thing or a good thing. Rather it is a means of making money. We attach a lot of other things to it, but in its pure form we do it because we get paid. Full stop that is it. There are other good things about work satisfaction from solving problems, working with good people and expanding your knowledge base but those are side issues, not the main point.
In the end, these those about ‘leaving tomorrow’ to me are an alarm bell. I’ve been pushing myself too hard and I need to slow down a bit and enjoy life. It really isn’t the fault of my work, but rather myself. After all, the point of early retirement is to have more time for life so how does not having a life help you out? Simple, it doesn’t help. So don’t mind me while I go for a walk to clear my head and perhaps read a book. I’ll feel better tomorrow.
How do you deal with hanging on when you are close to the end of a goal?