Fear is a big thing in my life. First, I am tackling an irrational fear at work. A fear of something, probably failure or not doing something perfectly, that paralyzes me at times. I battle this daily. There is also a longer term fear, which I will get into here:
Just recently, someone wrote an article for our local newspaper. In the article was the following paragraph:
“The problem, of course, is that just when time and money arrive, age takes away ability and drive. Sailing the fjörds in Norway is at the top of my list, but gosh I’ll bet it’s cold. I’ve always dreamed of walking on the Great Wall of China, but it’s over a thousand steps up with my tricky knee. And as for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro — maybe I could just appreciate it from the bottom.”
This is what I am really afraid of. I am afraid that I will live too much of a ‘normal life’, and my money will mostly be used/wasted to simply support this ‘normal’ life. While I need some money for food, water, shelter, etc., we take this really overboard with: cell phones, internet, air conditioning, toys, gadgets, etc. However, at 43, I woke up to all this, and we have corrected many of these spending issues. We still have work to do, but the big hitters are taken care of. However, while our corrections have helped a lot, I am still one income for 7 people. So, my early retirement date is about 60 years old. This isn’t too bad, considering when I started.
But, I seem to have a case of wanderlust. How can you not in the United States? I could leave right now, and within 2 days I could be in mountains, tropics, plains, deserts, rain forests, and more. All of this with the same language, currency, government, etc. There is so much, that is really so easy to see. So, is this legitimate wanderlust? Or is this brought on by envy of everyone else’s portrayal of their life on Instagram? I know how real the ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’ effect is. I am not sure yet. I lean towards the fact that it’s real. I seem to be truly happy when traveling or exploring. I don’t need a lot of gadgets or gear to do it, I just like doing it. So, while the jury is still out, I think it’s the real deal. In my day to day life, I no longer lust after the shiny things that the world is constantly pushing at me. In fact, at home, we are working to have less and less stuff. Experiences mean something to me now, and the toys of the world have lost their luster.
Please, if you are 60, don’t be offended, but I wonder how much ‘gumption’ I will have left at 60 years old. The quote from the newspaper about the fjörds in Norway above further proves out what I have already seen in life. Things change by the decades. In my 20s, I could stay up late, or physically exert myself, and there was no issue waking up early the next day and getting right back at it. In my 30s, I could perform the same tasks, which I often did staying up late with kids, but there was now a recovery period. I needed to catch up on sleep at some point, and soreness started to creep in. Now I am in my 40s. One night of low sleep, and I need to make up for it. I can still do a lot of crazy physical things, but the soreness is even more pronounced, and the recovery longer. So …. when the 60s are here, will I want to travel the country in a van, like my wife and I so want to do right now? Will I be able to sleep on a sleeping pad? I think so, but you never know what life will throw your way.
So, I am scared that I will prove out Tolle’s quote: “It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.” – Eckhart Tolle
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kids, and I LOVE being a dad. I really love it. So, I have kids right now, why isn’t this enough? Well, I love them so much that being with my kid’s for the leftover hours of the day isn’t fulfilling enough for me. I don’t like the stress and 7:30a-5p schedule that leaves me with only a handful of worn out and hurried hours, during which dinner, homework and baths need to happen. I know a lot of this is unavoidable while they are in school, but I simply want a more flexible schedule to be able to spend more time with my kids, while they still live at home. Also, there are vacations. Having 3 weeks out of the whole year doesn’t allow you to see a lot of this amazing country. Finally, I do realize that these are first-world problems. I realize that I make a great amount of money, and my company treats me respectably. I recognize that, and I am not ungrateful. However, there is just something missing, I am not eager to wake up and attack life anymore. There could be a whole myriad of reasons why this is true, but after years and years of this, I need it to end. I don’t think I can tread water for the next 14 years …..
Sorry for rambling on, thanks for listening. Does Tolle’s quote scare you? Have you started living?