In Search of: A Full Life (and Self-Portrait Series No. 6)

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend.  He’s several years older than me and is considering an early retirement (because who wouldn’t want that?!?).  That conversation was a happy one.  And then he told me about a personal situation that might force him to retire early, regardless of his plans.  That part of the conversation, well, not so happy.  He said, “I hope it doesn’t come to that.  I don’t want to be forced to retire and not be able to enjoy my retirement.”

Then he said to me, “You just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Me: “Huh?”

Him: “I mean, all the stuff you do, all the traveling and hiking and stuff that makes you happy.  Keep doing that.  Because you’ve got it right.  You never know what’s going to happen when it comes time to retire.  People shouldn’t save all the fun stuff for later.  I admire you.  You’re bold and independent, and you go out and see the world and you do your own thing and don’t worry about what people think of it.  Keep doing that.”

That part of the conversation made me smile.  Because, honestly, I sometimes second-guess myself.  I mean, yes, I put money into my retirement account.  In addition to planning my travels and the next fun adventure, I do think about the distant future.  But I get the impression from a lot of people they think spending money on travel the way that I do is somewhat frivolous.  And I worry that no matter how much of my income I send to the 401K, it’s not going to be enough.  And what then?

But then I have to ask myself.  If that does happen, if my numbers don’t come out perfect when the good old age of 65 arrives, will I regret all that I’ve done?  Will I wish I had stayed home more and saved that expendable income of mine?  Truthfully?  Probably not.  Up to this point, I would say absolutely not.  There isn’t one adventure I would take back, not one experience I would return.

I love my life.  I love the fact that I have a separate savings account labeled, “Travel Fund.”  And I LOVE that I use it just for that.

In the spirit of adventure, here’s one more self-portrait from a hike I did last weekend near Lake Mead.  The hike is to Anniversary Narrows, a beautiful slot canyon in the midst of the desert.  It’s unexpected and really quite wonderful to see.  It also makes for beautiful backdrops when acting silly and modeling for the camera!

Self-Portrait No. 6

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