we hope you guys all had a great weekend. it’s been snowing like crazy here, and i had some flight delays that basically ate up my saturday, so there was no skiing for me in the end, though mr. onl had a pretty sweet powder day saturday. wop wop for me, wohoo for him. but we’re now just one week away from two weeks of vacation and holidays and snow and wonderfulness. super exciting. you too, maybe minus the snow?
as i’m writing this, i’m sitting at the window of a boeing 737, currently cruising at 36,000 feet. outside my window, a long way down, is a patchwork of farm fields in iowa. (i know all of this because the in-flight wifi provides a helpful map that geography geeks like me love.) in just the space that i can see through my window, there are thousand of fields in view, thousands of farms, thousands of families. those farms feed many more people, meaning that in just a glance, i see what becomes the sustenance for millions of people.
it’s the same thing i feel when i let grains of sand trickle through my fingers, or stare out at the vast ocean, or look up at the night sky, especially in the mountains where it’s nice and dark, and we can see the milky way. it’s a reminder of how small i am, in the best possible way.
feeling small helps put things in perspective. feeling small is a reminder that today is the most important day of all, and that tomorrow is never a guarantee. feeling small is a reminder that a lot of the little things that stress me out just don’t matter.
many of us who are on the path to early retirement can relate to the feeling of getting so focused on the future — this magical, perfect, supposedly better than real future where we have no stress and never have to deal with work drama — that it’s easy to miss out on what’s happening right in front of us. or of getting so caught up in our own little plans that we miss the big picture.
looking out the window at 36,000 feet, where i have literally zero control over what happens to me next, and nothing i can see is within my sphere of influence (except maybe the armrest next to me, depending on how much i feel like playing that passive aggressive game with my neighbor), it’s all a good reminder that the universe doesn’t care whether we succeed or fail on our journey to reach early retirement. the earth isn’t going to throw us a party when we hit the number in our savings account that we deem sufficient. (though we will throw ourselves a party, rest assured!)
we all know this, but it bears repeating: we’re guaranteed nothing. to use that tired old line, we could get hit by a bus tomorrow. the economy could tank, and our investments could become worthless. this sounds like a bummer, but stay with us — we view this as a super positive reminder, a reminder that the journey to early retirement is itself the destination.
of course we hope to reach our goal in two years or so of quitting our jobs for good, or we’d certainly embrace a bit more of a yolo approach to spending now, but that early retirement still may never happen. we have control over certain pieces of it, but not everything. so we’re doing our best to view this process of planning and saving for early retirement as a wonderful thing all in itself, and we think our lives will be better for having done this, even if early retirement never happens for us. there are a whole bunch of benefits we’ve gained, but here are just a few:
- proving to ourselves that we can set a bold, audacious goal
- feeling the thrill of accomplishment as we hit milestone after milestone
- knowing that it’s never too late to change course in life
- saving a lot more than we would have saved otherwise, which is a good thing no matter what
- forming more positive habits around money, and being more intentional generally
- starting this blog as a creative outlet and chronicle of the journey
- and, of course, connecting with all of you!
whatever journey you’re on, we encourage you to avoid that urge to focus solely on what comes next, and to find the joy and celebration in what’s happening now, today, right in front of you. how is your life better for having started on your journey? what have you proved to yourself? what positive habits have you taken on? what joy have you gotten?
ultimately, we think the journey is worth it, and we’re so glad we’ve gone down this path. how about you?