You’ve read these articles. Maybe you were envious of the amazing life of the geniuses who retire early and travel the world. This is my response to every single one.
Am I supposed to be impressed you quit working a regular job in your mid-twenties and retired early?
Is that the cool thing to do now- retire early? Is retirement suddenly a goal the rest of us can’t reach? I really don’t understand the point of these articles, when they really just boil down to some nobody stroking their ego for six pages.
If the authors of these articles were as smart as they claim, you’d think they’d be able to find a job they would want to work at until 65. You’d think they’d be smart enough to figure out what they actually enjoy doing and make that a career they enjoy. No early retirement necessary.
But they’re not (surprise!). Probably because actual smart people realized a long time ago that real happiness is found elsewhere. And you can’t raise a family on your conflict-free açaí berries.
So why do they do this? Here are a few of my guesses:
1. They don’t want to knuckle down to actually being a productive member of society and are finding some way to make themselves happy and validate that decision to their “followers.”
2. They’re expressing age-old frustration with Western values by traveling the world and bringing back enlightenment for the rest of us cavemen. It’s the typical journey of young people trying to “discover themselves” and do so by being as controversial, and counter-culture, as possible.
3. They’re lazy, and writing an article like this makes it look like they’re not.
So, if in the end your life’s goal is to retire early just to laze around on a beach every day for the next sixty years, then you’re not the kind of person I want to be following.
But all of this is ignoring the simple truth that we all ignore, or seem to forget when we see or read these articles:
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
To quote something I read recently (I apologize I don’t know who the original author is):
“Social media has created jealous behavior over illusions. Sadly, some are envious of things, relationships and lifestyles that don’t even exist.” —Unknown
If the author you follow on these blogs only makes you feel bad about your life; if they make you jealous, or depressed about what you have; if you look up at the end of the article and wish you weren’t who you are now; then these articles are doing you no good. They are selfish musings for whoever wrote them, and were never intended to help you at all. Want some proof?
Where are all the articles from these people ten or thirty years later? Where are all the amazing benefits from their decision to retire early? Could it be that this lifestyle of laziness and greed has only seeded the fruits of divorce, poverty and depression?
Color me shocked.
Smart people find value in what they have. And if there is no value, they create it. Only cowards and fools seek happiness on the other side of the world.
(Originally shared on The Latest: https://thelatest.com/tlt/6026)