Early Retirement: How long can you keep a secret?
How long can you keep a secret; an hour, a day, a week? Are you strong enough to not reveal that secret to a close friend. Well, I need to keep our secret; after all, I still have a day job. We have been holding on to our secret for months, unsure of our commitment to the idea and also concerned that friends and family members would think we lost our mind. But, we couldn’t keep our secret forever if we wanted to take the next step. It was time to reveal; we need confirmation that we could, should do this to start working to live.
The crazy train
We all experience tough, stressful work days. I arrive home after another long, tough day at work, and announce that I am ready to board the crazy train. Visually, to me, this train looks like retirement and a new way of prioritizing our lives. A few weeks later, when Tricia welcomes me home, I ask her, “Do you want me to purchase you a ticket?” Straight up, without asking any questions, she said “sure”. She knew what I talking about and we continued to discuss my potential retirement and our travel plans.
Now, it’s February; Tricia and I have been discussing this early retirement idea for months. We currently feel the need to let someone in on our secret. We are beginning to ask ourselves, “Who can we share this with?” “Who will hear our idea and possibly understand?” Our crazy train score is 6 out of 10; we’re on our way to believing in the idea, or is it, convincing ourselves that this is a sane plan, and that this is not an emotional response to a few tough days at work. Our crazy train idea is bigger than the classic all-american retirement; we are talking about selling most of what we own so we can live and work while traveling in our RV. It is time to reveal the secret to someone else.
The first response, and answers
While traveling to reveal our secret to our unsuspecting relatives, I ask Tricia, “This should be interesting, so how do we start?” I’m somewhat anxious; after all of our discussions, we are revealing our idea, our crazy idea, our private ideas, our private reasons for boarding this crazy train, or is it our crazy RV?
My sister’s questioning look says it all, as she ask “Are you serious? Are ya’ll sure!?” “Of course we’re not”, I say. “We just had to tell someone, tell us we’re crazy, or not. Also, you can not tell anyone, cause we’re still not sure that we’re doing this.” Tricia then adds, “I need confirmation that this is a good idea.” Then, the next question is asked, “Why?” The answers to the first two questions were easy. But, wow, the third single word question, “Why?”; that’s a tough one, that requires a deeper answer. Over the next few minutes, we answered “Why?” with typical answers “not getting any younger, ready for less stress, our nest is empty, we are fortunate enough to have this opportunity”, we love and want to travel”.
All of these answers are true, but if I was requested to give one answer, “not getting any younger” is the most accurate. As I age, the perspective on life, living and dying and what’s important begins to clear; take this opportunity now, don’t wait, don’t look back, no regrets.
Positive responses and support
During that first visit to my sister’s home, revealing and discussing our idea, we did receive support and positive responses. Four weeks later, I retired from a career, informed family and friends, and let my sister and brother-in-law know that they did not need to keep the secret any longer. I don’t know how tough it was for them, but they kept the secret for more than four weeks!
Since that first reveal, the positive responses and support far outnumber the negative responses. In fact, only one person, after seeing our current home for the first time, asked, “How can you leave all this? You must be crazy?” But, as we continue to share our story about our future lifestyle change, our travel plans, many people, family, friends and new acquaintances agree that we are making a great, positive change and decision.
Tricia and I thank all of you for the positive responses and support. Your kind words and encouragement have made us more comfortable and confident in this decision. Although we will miss some aspects of our existing lifestyle, we look forward to the next phase and are looking forward to sharing our stories and experiences with each of you through these blog posts and pages.