Embracing Your Journey

Colorful oil painting on canvas texture - Embrace Your Journey

With retirement being one of the most impactful shifts in your adult life, have you ever imagined the length of time your retirement will last?

It’s something you are told to spend your entire working career scrimping and saving your income for this future place. Do you really know what you’re working for? How long do dream this free-from-work state should be? Do you really want to stop working altogether? What’s going to fill your time in retirement?

The average age for retirement in the United States is 64, as found in a 2021 Gallup poll. If the average life expectancy is 77, this gives you 13 years on average to live out this life of freedom.

Well, that may sound like a dream to some, but having just over a decade to pursue the things that really mean something to me feels underwhelming. I want longer to make an impact on this world and take it all in. I’m also a realist to know that doing all the exciting things in life in my 70s and 80s might not be the same experience as doing them in my 30s and 40s. And my interests are likely to change between those times, and I certainly don’t want to give up the experiences I crave in my younger years just because the plan is to have them happen later in life. This is where I wanted to choose an AND, not an OR.

So maybe I’ve got you thinking about what your retirement might really look like. For so many of us, it’s just a far-off thought until it creeps up and takes over our life. If we had just spent a bit more thought and time on it earlier in our lives, we might be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor earlier. Maybe there’s a better stepped-down transition from full-time to part-time work, allowing us to have more freedom on our journey to explore the world around us and still engage our brains in our expertise. Or it might simply be knowing that you’ll be financially secure when you’re ready to let work go full-time.

I’ve made a huge shift in my life over the last 15 years to really embrace and enjoy the journey. This is a huge transition from early in my life, where I just chased the end goals and didn’t find satiation. I rarely took time to really celebrate, or pause when I reached that goal, because I was already knee-deep into the next one. But with a lot of reflection and exhaustion, I’ve found that this ever-chasing lifestyle doesn’t bring the same fulfillment and joy as making the journey your goal.

In terms of retirement, I’ve banished the word from my future. In my mind, retirement is such a closing state. The last chapter and one that is often described as the place where you can truly be free in your life. Where you can chase what you want to do, beat to your own drummer and schedule, and live life where you’re enjoying the moment and not the next big goal.

Now don’t get me wrong, I want everything that is described above, I’ve just redefined when it’s going to come into my life. Creating a plan for my life that embraces the journey and not just the end goal has brought me a significant mind shift. A shift to understanding where I can create freedom in my life and not have it dictated to me.

I’ve been able to get to this place because I figured out what financial freedom was to me. As I said, many people call this retirement, but there’s no way that I could wait another two decades to reach this place.

What was the magic bullet, you ask? Alignment of Mindset – Defining your Why

First, it you need to define what you want out of life and out of the journey. If you’ve ever struggled or heard yourself say, I can’t find a balancing act between work and my family, or I work too much and don’t play enough, maybe what you want and your actions are not aligned.

What are the things that are filling your bucket? What are the things that are draining it? When you can start to define these components in your life, you can start to see what you need more of, and what you need less of.

Finding alignment. Now you’re going to take a look at your finances and budget. Are they in line with these dreams of what you want to do? Are you overdoing today so that you can’t reach your dreams of tomorrow? Are you scrimping and saving so hard today that you forgot to enjoy the journey? It comes in all forms, and the first step to correcting this is awareness. Getting your arms around your finances really helps show you the truth of how you’re living your life.

Of course, they’re hard to look at! We all struggle when the truth is written there on the page. But I implore you to take a look. It’s really not as scary as you think, and even if it is pretty scary, you can always choose a different way. You get this choice each and every day.

I know I pulled myself out of significant debt and a bad place financially to one of success. No, it didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of hard work. But it got way easier once I figured out my why and what I was chasing in life and aligned it with how we were spending our money.

You will also need to take the same hard look at your time. Does where you spend your time match where you want to be? Maybe you want a strong family life, but the 70-hour work weeks leave you exhausted. Maybe you are spending too much time in a job that’s draining your energy as opposed to refilling it and therefore doesn’t allow you to pursue your hobbies outside of work. This could be because of workplace culture, it could be being undervalued in your compensation, or you might just be in the wrong dang career. I’ve experienced all of the above.

Your future self will thank you, as you at any age is worth the consideration of finding your why and aligning your actions to this why.

Can you really buck the normal trend and define your own retirement and retirement age? Maybe even banish the word retirement from your vocabulary? My answer here is always yes.

Does this process feel overwhelming to you? Or have no idea where to really begin? This is the mission of Thrive with Money, and I would love to help you on this journey. I offer comprehensive coaching packages to get your life in alignment and realize your future dreams. I’d love to have you schedule a Q&A call to see if my program is right for you. https://thriveam.co/QA

My mission is to change the conversations around money and help people find their financial freedom. I’d love to talk to you about your journey!

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