It’s the dream isn’t it? Have enough money or a solid passive income stream so you never have to work another day in your life. You can quit your job, travel the world, lay by the beach, or drink margaritas all day at the pool if you want to. You can wake up whenever you want, stay up as late as you want, and there will never be consequences because you don’t have to be somewhere.
You don’t have a job or a meeting to attend to. No one telling what to do or when and where to be. You can do absolutely nothing and relax all day every day. You get to choose how to spend your time.
Does this sound like an amazing dream to you? Is work stressful? Are you sick of being in school? Do you feel like you just need a week or a month off to take a break?
The truth is, many people who are blessed with enough money choose to work, even though they don’t have to.
There was a point in my life when I had the most amazing opportunity in the world. I was living in Maui, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. My condo was a 3 minute walk to a sparkly, crystal clear ocean filled with friendly sea turtles, colorful fish, warm sea water and soft sand that hugged your feet on the shore.
I spent months living walking distance the most beautiful beach I had ever seen and I was fortunate in that I didn’t have to work. I had pure luxury in other’s eyes. But I was unhappy.
Does that shock you? It may. For someone who has been working hard their whole life for themselves and their family without truly getting more than a few weeks of vacation a year, this sounds like the perfect life. For many people who hate their job and are working simply to survive in this world, this is a long yearned fantasy for them.
I met John the other day. John had built up a few businesses over the course of his career and was able to retire early. After retirement, he spent a full year traveling the world. Then he came home. He had plenty of money and could choose to do whatever he wanted with his days. Yet he wasn't happy. He was bored. He soon learned this “luxury” life didn’t bring him much fulfillment and was ready to jump back full force into another project.
What do John and myself have in common? We’re both human. We both need stimulation. We were unfulfilled by this seemingly meaningless existence where we had nothing to work on. No goals to work toward. Nothing to accomplish. This day by day existence isn’t fulfilling because it doesn’t give you a sense of purpose.
Sure at first you love this lifestyle! You love having the freedom to go anywhere and do anything no matter what day of the week it is. However, it isn’t sustainable.
As humans we need to feel like we’re making an impact in some way. We need something to do. For ambitious folks like John and myself, laying around on the beach all day isn’t going to fulfill us for long. We need to feel we have a purpose in this life. Don’t you?
The truth is if your entire family, friends, and loved ones could live this free life together, it may be a little more satisfying. However, eventually you reach a point of unhappiness because you don’t feel like you matter. You feel like you’re just taking up space.
Once you travel, lay by the beach and cross of all those dreams on your bucket list, you realize you have a lot more life left to live and you need to do something important with it. We need stimulation and engagement. Relaxing and traveling the world are wonderful, and we need those too. Just not every single day.
After I left the island life, I came back to the mainland US, found a full time job, wrote my first best seller, and started this blog. I am much more fulfilled with my life than I ever was laying on beach in Maui. John also immersed himself into a new project and finally felt life was meaningful again.
So I inspire you to take action on that project you’ve been putting off or that dream you have because it’s all about the journey - not the destination. Enjoy the process because you’ll find once you reach your goal, you’ll ask yourself, now what?
Is retiring early a dream for you? How would you spend your days if you didn’t have to work?