Any lingering doubts we had about quitting our jobs next October disappeared when Mr. Groovy’s grandmother passed away almost two weeks ago. There’s nothing like a death to give new meaning to financial independence.
“Nanna” was 96 years old. She had 7 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. She was a sweetheart of a lady but she was also a pistol. She told each grandchild (and me) privately, that Mr. Groovy was her favorite grandchild. The other grandchildren were amused that she believed this was a well-kept secret. We’re going to miss her very much.
It’s been an emotional and stressful few weeks. We’ve traveled in one direction to be with Nanna when she died, returned home, and then boarded a plane a few days later for her funeral. In the midst of all this I couldn’t help but feel resentment about our jobs. It’s not that our employers and co-workers put any demands on us—they were great. But I just wanted to go be with our family and not have to think about a job, at all. We still had to notify the boss, fire up an out-of-office message, coordinate coverage for our duties, and worry about the hundreds of emails that would await us upon our return.
Nanna’s death came as a reality check in several ways. It brought home the fact that life can turn on a dime. She was recovering from an illness and then—bam. She’s gone. Of course she led a good, long life and was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by so many who loved her. After retiring from a government job, she lived for thirty more years. With longevity running in both our families, Mr. Groovy and I hope to have forty more years. Being realistic, we’ll have maybe twenty to twenty-five years left for travel and adventure.
But the other reality check has to do with owning our own time. I can’t wait for the day that I no longer, ever, have to set my alarm clock to get up for a job. Even though I take ten steps to get to work, it’s still a job. After October, Mr. Groovy and I claim ownership of every day.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. We’ve both been lucky. Mr. Groovy was almost downsized out of a position several times. But instead, he was promoted. I don’t even punch a time clock or fill out an attendance sheet, and I get paid like clock-work. I get so many vacation days that I’ll probably have 5 or 6 weeks of time to cash out when we say goodbye. But we provide no great skills or service to humanity, and neither do our employers. Trying to stay motivated when we know our phony-baloney jobs (as Mr. Groovy calls them) have absolutely no meaning, is extremely tiresome.
We’re not blind to the people in our lives that smile and nod in agreement when we tell them we’re quitting work in October. They’re supportive but they’re also a bit quizzical. They wonder how we could leave our cushy work-from-home jobs and our excellent benefits for the unknown. But jumping into the void is exactly what we must do.
And we’re not going into retirement totally blind. We’ve come up with a sound plan, but let’s face it—you can only plan so much. There’s always the unforeseen or the unexpected situation. You know the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I’m sure we’ll come up against a few obstacles. Yet, we know we’re resourceful enough to figure things out and get back on our path.
And I know for sure Nanna would have wanted it that way.