Do you find yourself fretting every Sunday evening, hating the idea of having to go into work the next day? I find when Sunday night rolls around each weekend and the reality of working on Monday sets in, it is both frustrating and motivating to refocus on accomplishing my early retirement dream. This is the retirement dream of becoming financially independent, no longer needing to rely on my employer’s good graces and payroll check.
Working as a manager for many years, I have never quite been able to leave the job at the office. I tend to think about my work even when I am off the clock. Knowing I MUST go back to work on Monday is sometimes depressing.
I have been reading PF blogs, books, and periodicals for as long as I can remember. I can remember surfing PF blog sites on Sunday night, trying to find some secret formula that would short cut my own process, catapulting me away from the need to no longer work for “the man”.
During the years of pondering the idea of a new work week, I continued to motivate myself to work and build passive income investments. I had significant debt tied up in real estate that was a primary focus to pay off.
There were plenty of examples with ERE, MMM, and Financial Samurai who have succeeded early in life creating a passive income large enough to sustain their living expenses for the rest of their lives. Vickie Robin and Joe Dominguez accomplished this feat years earlier, describing their process in their excellent book Your Money or Your Life.
The endless cycle of “My Retirement Dream” and the thought of not going to work on Monday
The human imagination is a powerful tool for us to visualize and plan a better way for our lives. Using our dreams of what could be, we can create our own reality, with just a few small changes. Maybe we make those adjustments, maybe we don’t. For me, I kept the dream going, wanting to move forward and improve my life.
I often wonder about a cycle of mine that has been going on for years. Once I make it to the weekend or extended time off, I attempt to leave the thoughts and task of work behind. The more time off I have, the less I think about my employer. This is when my imagination goes wild and I see how great life will be without working.
Then something else happens: I tend to spend more money. This is due to having more time and being caught up in creating happiness through purchasing things and experiences with money.
The cycle then turns towards those thoughts of going back to work on Monday. The retirement dream seems to move out of reach again.
The cycle is complete when I am back at work, carrying out someone else’s agenda, dreaming about having time off and leaving work earlier than traditional retirement.
How do we break away from the cycle and norm?
The definition of insanity as we often hear is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Why do we trap ourselves in these cycles expecting that maybe this time it will be different?
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
I sometimes put too much time and effort into analyzing all the possibilities and looking for unique solutions. I keep looking for the magic bullet or solution that will solve my problems. Basically I am attempting to find the easy or quick way to accomplish my goal. I try to find a solution that I could implement; thinking that it must be there to be uncovered and I just don’t see it.
Expecting that we will win the Powerball Lottery or Publisher’s Clearing House prize is never the solution for me. Heck, I don’t play so I can’t win. (The odds are nearly the same either way.)
I have often attempted to change my habits by committing to 30-day periods of focus on a particular goal as a tool to break out of the cycle. I have found some success with forming new habits with exercise, Yoga, meditation, spending, saving, investing, meetings, emails, goals, etc. The list goes on with the self-improvement projects I have tried, failed at, and have actually gained some successful results. Attempting new approaches to a situation from a different perspective can create some momentum.
Ok, back to the insanity quote: if we don’t try something different, aren’t we simply completing the same process and cycle over and over again?
The Retirement Dream can change
We recently became debt free. (I wonder how many times I will have a reference link to that article?) This milestone achieved for us a long time goal of paying off the last of the rental properties. Years back, I was certain the day I reached that goal would be the day I would stop working for my employer.
It is weird how things change as we age and once we accomplish our original retirement dream. We have been debt free for 2 weeks yet we are still working. What gives?
It seems that work has gotten easier or I have become more tolerant of the politics, bureaucracy, the mindless tasks assigned, and the New Year corporate vision for the drones to follow. What ever happened to last year’s corporate vision statement and plan? Can’t that plan work for more than one year?
I digress….it seems like the idea of banking our entire paychecks from both our employers is providing hours of entertainment. What should we do with this extra money or how should we spend it? Maybe we need to have a larger emergency and retirement fund. The stock market is crashing again and maybe we should search for some bargain investments. These are the new thoughts that came to mind when we reached our retirement dream goal. For now, we continue to work.
What is next?
Our Sunday nights agonizing about having to go to work the next day is still present. I think we are going to continue with our “victory lap” by working for a while longer, banking the extra income, squirreling it away for the proverbial rainy day.
The downsized home remodel projects continue to expand and cost more than expected. We are using various credit cards to earn points when possible, paying the statements in full when they arrive. We will use those point later for travel.
The year 2016 will see us paying no interest; we intend to keep that promise to ourselves, avoiding debt completely. Why would we ever go back into debt again?
We are beginning to understand that when we were in the cycle of getting out of debt and focusing on retirement, we did not anticipate that our perspective might change. I can tell it did change. It feels like the weight and burdens of seeking debt freedom has been removed. We are in new territory that will take some time to get used to.
For now, we will proceed slowly and see what new experiences may come to us, knowing that financially we are able to stop anytime. The good news is that I believe we are still set for early retirement this year.
Photo copyright : Kanin Abhiromsawat (Follow)