Not The Popular Vote
When we first started telling people our plans to retire early and travel the world, people thought we were nuts. I mean like, completely and utterly nuts.
I was told everything from, “You are much too young to be thinking about retirement” to “You’ll be the lady under the bridge with the beat up shopping cart”. We were even asked things like, “So what are you going to do every day?” or “What will you tell people you do for a living when they ask?”
The list goes on but I think you understand where I’m going with this.
Not everyone is going to get it. Not everyone will understand.
This means even your closest friends and family. It turns out; people can have really deep and unexpected reactions to things. Especially when you tell them you are going to do something, or not going to do something, that doesn’t align with the plan they had all mapped out in their heads of how things were ‘supposed’ to be. We unfortunately and unexpectedly experienced this first hand with FI Guys family.
FI Guy and I had been crunching the numbers and running all sorts of scenarios for months. We finally agreed that our Master Plan included selling our house and retiring from Corporate America as soon as we could. We recognized that while we had been working hard, saving hard and sacrificing over the years that we’d still need to live frugally if we were going to really make this happen. Of course, we also recognized we were exchanging that time and sacrificing for the future possibility of traveling more and getting back some of the balance in our lives that we lost over the last 15 years. For us it was a no brainer.
This was really such an exciting idea for us. We were both on the same page and were passionately working together to making it a reality.
By this time we were just itching to tell someone our plan. So the opportunity to talk about this to FI Guys parents presented itself. We were so excited to share our master plan with them that we really didn’t think of how they may react. Well, to make a long story short, the reaction we got wasn’t exactly what we expected. In fact, it was quite the opposite. His parents flipped out. They told us our plan would fail. It was a total shit storm.
Wow! What a blow.
We thought they would be excited to hear that we figured it all out and we were on our way to Financial Freedom! But instead, if things couldn’t have gotten any worse, that conversation eventually turned in to them pressing us about having children because after love, marriage, and a house… you know what’s supposed to come next… we thought it was travel but his parents didn’t see it that way. We were scorned and told that we were disappointments and selfish people. They even asked if there was something wrong with us physically. Needless to say this conversation completely blindsided us and sucked royally. (Did I say shit storm already because it was a total shit storm.)
We were both shocked that his parents weren’t just happy that we were happy, healthy and had a plan that we both believed in wholeheartedly. We’ve both always done what is expected of us and often sacrificed our own needs for others. We have worked hard over the years for what we have and felt we earned the right to make this choice for ourselves and honestly….
…by this time we were really just tired of doing things just because it’s what society expected of us and not because it made us happy.
Eventually everyone calmed down and came to terms with things. I still don’t think everyone walked away from that conversation completely happy but in hindsight it did serve a purpose.
So why am I telling you all of this?
Well it taught us a very important lesson (a couple of them actually) and my hope is that this story somehow helps to prepare you for the types of reactions you may get if you decide to do something outside of the “norm” like sell everything you own, quit your high paying job and live out of backpack traveling the world.
So I leave you with these thought bites:
- Don’t let Society and Family Expectations get in the way of your dreams and your personal happiness. You are never going to make everyone happy. Your #1 objective in this life is to find your own happiness and to do everything you can that aligns with it.
- Go ahead and defy the norms. Just know that your decisions may not get the popular vote and you have to be ok with that. Again, the goal is to find your own personal happiness and sometimes that means doing something different.
- Understand that not everyone is going to appreciate, comprehend or agree with what it is you are planning to do or why you are planning to do it. In fact, they might even think you are throwing your life away and making a terrible mistake. Listen, no one is perfect. We live and we learn. If there is something you are incredibly passionate about I say give it a go. If it doesn’t work out then pivot.
FI Guy and I have decided that we are finished doing things just because it’s what everyone else expects. We’ve spent the first 36+ years of our lives doing that and it’s been exhausting. We have also realized that it hasn’t made us happy so why would we continue down that path? That’s just insanity! Despite the backlash we received, even from our loved ones, we’re both excited for this next chapter which we hope to fill with doing more of what makes us happy.
So the next time someone asks us “What are you going to do every day?” we will respond with “We will do whatever WE want to do each and every day!”.
Are there things you wish you could do but hold back because you are afraid of what society or your family will think? What are those things? How do you think you would feel if you decided to just go do those things?
For us, just the thought of embarking on this journey excites us! We hope you can find that passion within you and move forward on your path toward personal happiness without fear of judgement.
Be your own hero!