Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Today was an absolutely gorgeous day here in Sarasota, Florida. It's one of the first days like such we've had in a long while. It's been a very hot summer, punctuated by afternoon thunderstorms. But, today gave way to a beautiful Wednesday with a nice easterly breeze, low humidity and bright sunshine mixed with puffy, white clouds. It was an afternoon made for a postcard. Yet, I didn't get to enjoy any of it.
Today was one of the busiest days I've had in a long while at work. My co-worker was sick today, as he was yesterday and called in. I don't blame him. If you're sick, stay home. Nobody wants to catch whatever he's got. But, I'm in a team of two. We are the only two in our particular department and share the work fairly evenly. Today, I was a team of one and I ran my ass off all day long. I ran from the shop, back to my desk and then back to the shop dispersing estimates, writing repair orders, making phone calls, ordering parts and greeting clients. I took less than 5 minutes for lunch. I clocked in at 7:20 a.m. and clocked out at 5:59 p.m.
It wasn't until I actually left work, gleeful as I was to leave, that I realized what a beautiful day it truly was. And then I realized the humor in it all. On the first truly gorgeous day we've had in months down here, one where it wasn't oppressively hot, I got to enjoy absolutely none of it. I was too busy to even look outside. And this brings me back to why I'm doing what I'm doing. I'm trying to reach financial independence and retire early so that I can make the most of days like today. I want to be able to enjoy the day at a moment's notice, without care or worry. I want to be grateful for every sunshine-filled morning, knowing that every day is cherished; for I know not how many more I have left in life.
What I think about when I carefully consider early retirement is not the money I'll be giving up. I could easily stretch the journey until I'm 50 and become a millionaire in the process. I could save and invest even longer and become a multi-millionaire in my 60's. I could then retire at the same age as everyone else, and be well past the prime of my life to enjoy the money I worked more than half of my life to accumulate. Or, I could realize what's truly important in life: time.
What comes to mind when I think about early retirement instead is days like today. It's about enjoying life and maximizing every single moment. It's about time. How many moments do we have in life? I don't know. What I do know, however, is that I used up moments today that I'll never get back to run my ass off at a job I don't enjoy to cater to people I don't care about. I would much rather have enjoyed the afternoon, sipping on an ice-cold drink and doing some reading or writing. Heck, I could have been writing an article about what a beautiful day it is. Instead, I'm now here in a dark apartment writing about what a beautiful day it was.
What do you cherish? What drives you towards financial independence?
Thanks for reading.
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