Why I’m Retiring at 28 and Inviting You To Do the Same
Me with a giraffe in Johannesburg, South Africa
As of today, I’m retired from work and life.
What do I mean? I mean that I’ll no longer work or live life as conventional society deems me to. I’ll no longer concern myself with monetary needs, societal statuses, creating a lifetime of achievements, matching people’s expectations, and so on. I’ll just do my thing, act the way I want to act, and live the life I want to live, void of expectations and self-obligation—and trust that everything will work itself out in the end.
Why? I mean I’m just 28. Technically I still have a good four decades to go before I am considered fit for retirement. (The retirement age in Singapore is 65 now. It was 62 previously and was extended to 65 last year, and is probably going to be 68 or even 70 by the time I’m in 50 or 60.)
I guess I just realized that life is too short to be spent doing something, anything, I don’t want to do. Thinking back, a good part of my life had been spent living for someone or something else. From my studying years to my working years, I had constantly been in mad pursuit of goals which were both set by myself and by the society.
While the pursuit of these goals had made me a stronger and better person, the act of pursuing them had made me defer the present moment in wait of a better future. It made me constantly wonder “What’s next?” and look out into the future for greater happiness rather than actively live in the present.
Now that majority of my life goals have been achieved, I’m seeking for the next level-up where every moment of my life is pure bliss. I have realized that this requires me to organically create my life path from the present moment, based on my current passions and needs, rather than constantly think about how to manipulate my present reality to achieve a hypothetical future. The latter focuses a lot on delayed gratification (putting off your current needs), while the former is about being aware of your current moment and nurturing it into a better moment the next.
How I was living in the past
How I’m going to live, starting from today
*Diagrams and drawings by me. I know, not the most sophisticated of drawings — but it’s kind of what I’m trying to convey too: to live life in a child-like manner, based on today and now, rather than worrying about what should be or what others might think!
On the surface it may not seem as though anything is going to change. I’ll still be writing articles at the blog. I’ll still be creating videos for Celes.TV (subscribe to get my video updates). I’ll still be taking on media interviews to spread my message. I may still be creating new courses at PE (I’m thinking of an anti-procrastination course or a fear-crushing course next.) I’ll still be creating new business ideas because I love conceptualizing, strategizing, and creation. I’ll still be creating plans for my life because I love to plan.
However, on the micro-level, things will be different. Instead of asking, “What’s next?” or “What should I do today to achieve my goal?”, I will be asking myself, “What do I want to do today/right now?”. Then, I will proceed to do just that. It’s a slightly, but fundamentally, different approach to life that will create a different life experience altogether.
This is more than just semantics. This is something that’s going to change my life inside out. I’ve already begun living this way for the past few weeks and I’m really liking the shift so far. Gone are the days of negligent self-pressure, self-burdening, and life deferment. What I’m experiencing now is true inspiration and passion, from moment to moment. It’s like being in a perpetual state of flow.
For you reading this, I encourage you to imagine you are retired now. What is the life you want to live? What is your definition of true bliss? What is a dream reality to you?
Then, think about how you can create that life right now, right now in this moment, rather than defer that life to some distant future.
Because you don’t live in the future. You live in the now. If you’re not completely happy today, in this present moment, then when are you ever going to be happy? Happiness starts in the now. If you want to live a happy life, you have to make happiness a present reality. Then, build on your present to create a greater future.
I’m done putting off my present in pursuit of a supposed better future. I invite you to do the same as me too—to live in the present, make happiness a present reality, then use that to create a marvelous life path as you move forward, rather than defer the current reality for the future.
I’ll end off with this quote by Confucious:
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~ Confucious
Here’s to living a great and fulfilling life for all of us!
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