You should “re-tire” today, not in 30 years.


written by oz chen

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Today, I’m going to share with you how I hacked my perception about retirement. It’s the same mental upgrade that’s allowed me to not give up on any long term effort.

Retirement is typically thought of as something that happens in the distant future, associated with old age.

The government is the largest influence that defines retirement—in the U.S., you get social security benefits as “early” as the age of 62.

But what if I told you that you could experience the feeling of retirement today, regardless of your age or current financial situation?

”Re-tiring” vs Retiring

For me, the sure path to stress and burn out is being in my head…a lot. Stuck in my chair. Ruminating. Straining my eyes and collecting screen time like nobody’s business. Those are some of my worst days.

You might guess from this setup that my best days are spent relaxing and doing nothing.

Not really.

Some of my best days are my most tiring. I worked hard, played hard. Felt like I gave it my all. The best feeling in the world is that “good tired,” when I’ve done so much with my mind, spirit and body that I collapse onto my bed and have the best sleep ever.

Seeing these two dynamics within myself inspired me to reframe retire into re-tiring.

I hope that I “tire” myself out every day like this.

This to me is a satisfying life. That means the effort I put in and the life energy exerted feels good, feels meaningful.

  • On a financial level level, I’m still building towards retirement. Yes, I’m still allocating money and investing aggressively.
  • But on a spiritual level? I’m not going to wait 30 years for retirement. I’m re-tiring today.

Consider that your spiritual “re-tirement” is even more important than your financial retirement.

Financial retirement is managing money towards a future outcome.
Spiritual retirement is managing energy in the present.

Some questions to help you brainstorm how to re-tire today:

  • What makes me feel “good tired?”
  • Which activities give me most energy, or drains my energy?
  • What mix of activities helps me feel like I’ve had a full day?
  • How do I manage my stress levels to experience more fun and flow?

Doing this is not only helpful for your mental health. It’s also essential practice before you reach financial retirement.

Because you don’t want to end up like the trope of people who finally retire and become miserable, asking “what the hell do I do with my life now?”

Aside #1: Calibration

I want to be clear that I’m not talking about overexertion. I’m talking about living at the edge of your capability in a way that feels good. Not going over the edge. This takes calibration.

Aside #2: Etymology

The word retire derives from the French retirer, meaning to withdraw.

Retirement goes as far back as the 1590s to mean the act of retreating, falling back, or withdrawing into seclusion.

That doesn’t sound so fun. Maybe that’s why some many in the FIRE crowd have dropped the “RE” part of retire early, and just focus on “financial independence.”

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