What retirement means to me

I fully expect this to be my least read blog entry ever.  That being said I don’t care.  I want a forum to put down my thoughts on the subject of retirement.

Once upon a time I pictured retirement as my own small plane (four seater, prop job), two fantastic houses (one in Maine, the other in some exotic location), a boat, and various trips to exotic locations.  I could probably still find a way to pull that off if I worked very hard for the next 20 years.

Recently at work one person who I respect greatly, and is barely into his 60s has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Another in the same age range just unexpectantly died.  I’m not in that age range yet but I am solidly into my upper 30s.

These events along with the birth of my son four months ago, not to mention marriage to my wife 1.75 years ago have led me to think more about what retirement means.  Sure I’d like that picture but I also want to live a long time.  I need to eat better (FAR better).  I need to get out from behind the desk and walk around campus more.  I need to do lower pressure things which means less trajectory on my career.

So now retirement means a much different thing.  Comfort sure, vacation now and again sure.  But two houses?  Airplane?  Not sure really.  I do know that quality of life now means more to me than anything else.  A son who looks at me when I come home and smile means a lot.  I don’t want him to start to look at me like hey who are you.

I think every American with a fast track career struggles with this and I will likely continue to struggle because at my heart I’m an aggressive guy but that aggression to me used to mean get higher in the career, get the next promotion, well enough is enough.  Now it means retire young from the high pressure to do exactly what I enjoy, raise a happy, healthy family, and live a really long time.  So long I can annoy my child(ren) by spoiling their children a lot.



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