As I’ve practised mindful habits and become more self-aware, I’ve noticed that my fundamental approach to life has changed… is continuing to change. I’m constantly moving towards some inner goal that is peace or happiness. I’m not necessarily trying to change that part, I’m just slowing down the things I do enough to be mindful and the result is that I’m feeling less hurried. Working for work’s sake, not so important. Pursuing money to “get rich” less relevant. Whether I work harder or not, I am still happy. Whether I have more money or not, I’m still content. The ends no longer justify the means and increasingly the rat race seems less compelling.
I’ll allow that much of this is perspective that comes with age, but when I look at what I want in the rest of my life (and I’ve still got more than a couple decades of “work” left in me) increasingly I see the merits of what I’ll call a Retirement Mindset. I’ve spent too many years looking at how to make more money for the sake of some illusion of wealth and not really any time truly looking at what that means. I’m still young, but moreso look at the benefits of retirement here lately. Now, when I say Retirement Mindset, I don’t mean no work, going fishing all the time. When I say Retirement Mindset I mean looking at what I’m doing each day, evaluating it against my values and my happiness. Realizing in your 40s that life is short and you should spend your time in pursuit of meaning can be a blessing, I’m happy to start to have this perspective now. To realize it sooner? Oh, what a joy that would have been.
Retirement Mindset, to me, means I get up without an alarm. I spend my morning in contemplation or exercising, or journaling or some combination of the three. When I’ve finished my morning meal or coffee then I look out the window, take a deep breath and consider what I might do today that has some value. As I consider that money doesn’t grow on trees and I have nothing coming in for free, I still spend my week going to work and doing my best to be mindful in this job for someone else to be my best, to try to learn from it in a way that helps me. Ultimately, one day I want to spend MY time in MY interests, whether it’s revenue generating or not.
Sadly I sometimes let the negative voice get too loud, he’s saying the same thing you might be saying. “Yah, that sounds great if you’re independently wealthy.” But I’m not, far from it. As I’ve grown older I realize that having more doesn’t bring more happiness. A bigger house is just more to clean, to heat, to cool. Having more “stuff” just means I have more clutter to deal with and be frustrated with. That being said, I still want stuff, new stuff (see my last post about buying a car) but when I catch myself getting too caught up in that then I can step back and try to re-acquire this mindset. Unfortunately, I don’t wake up with that mindset every day or even most days. Today, I’m feeling blessed as I look out at the world, as I look in at my world, and I feel that money and working more won’t fill me, so I wanted to take the time to consider that.