Retiring To Paradise

ParadiseA friend sent me an article about “stress-free living on a tropical island paradise.” The article was a teaser for a subscription-based newsletter about retiring well, on modest means.

The article got me thinking…

  • Why do I find foreign utopias so appealing?
  • What are the components of living well, particularly as I age?
  • What limits my ability to shift towards rewarding, part-time work as soon as possible?

The first thing that I remind myself is satisfaction is never achieved “out-there” in the future. My job is to make a note about the structure of my satisfying days, right here, right now.

Noticing the satisfying parts of my current life lets me define paradise on my own terms.

I guarantee that you’ll find your truth is far different than the marketing brochure!

In my own case, I don’t like to tan, I like to ride my bike uphill and I sleep best in a cold, dry room. Worth reminding myself of these points!

The allure of the tropical paradise…

  • Simplicity
  • Stress-free
  • Natural beauty

What price will I pay for my ticket to paradise? I’ve found two habits that move me away from my definition of paradise – their antidote…

Radical simplification of my life and possessions – all the crap I have in my life provides an endless stream of admin, depreciation and cost of ownership.

Aside from a Sienna Van and high-quality bicycles, none of it is useful. I’ve been chipping away for years. I get a lot of resistance from my family, and I respect their views.

Beach cruiser, surf board, and board shorts…

…I get the allure – yet know that it is simplification, not the tropics, that appeals to me.

Constantly reduce my personal needs – if you are in a high-paying field then you’ll be tempted to delay freeing yourself from full-time work until you “have enough” (to live at a standard that fits your perceived station in society).

My heroes don’t have a lot of possessions but are rich with satisfaction. Choose wisely.

If you’re delaying following your heart so that you can maintain a high spending rate then be sure spending fits your definition of paradise.

Many of the wealthy don’t enjoy spending. It’s how they became wealthy.

If the points above aren’t clear then invert and be honest with yourself.

  • Having so much stuff that I need a team of people to manage my gear, or spend a significant percentage of my life on admin…
  • Constantly increasing my personal needs via the hedonistic treadmill…

This combination, anywhere on the socio-economic scale, is a recipe for misery.

Finally, humans are similar in how we define natural beauty… high view, overlooking park land, ideally with some water.

Think about the most valuable real estate in your local market. It’s likely to have those characteristics.

Most of us will never afford that real estate, which is just another asset to take care of, anyway.

A better solution is to live beside a mountain park and get to a high view as often as possible.

What’s your definition of paradise?