Following a Stacking Benjamin’s Show Meet-Up with Joe Saul-Sehy, his mom’s neighbor Doug, and a few other Stackers in Traverse City this summer, I received an exciting opportunity to be part of a Stacking Benjamin’s podcast episode. I had a blast and you can check the episode out here!
During the episode, I discussed several financial articles with Len Penzo and Joe. One of the articles was a blog post from the awesome financial blogger behind the blog Debts to Riches. The article is titled “Letters to My Future Self”.
In “Letters to My Future Self”, the Debts to Riches blogger highlights a way to motivate your future self from the past (cue eerie music…).
Don’t worry, no time travel or shape-shifting necessary! Instead, using the website FutureMe, one can send an email to themselves in the future. Pretty nifty!
My Letter to My Future Self
On the podcast, Joe asked me to reveal what I would write in a letter to my future self. Here is my response:
“I would tell myself to live some portion of my retirement today. If I’m always imagining my retirement as waking up to a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise and reading a book, going for a run midday, or watching the sunset with my family… those are great things to look forward to, but, nothing is stopping me from doing that today…”
Living our Retirement Every Day
Life can be hard. Things get busy, work can be stressful, and a day can feel like a grind. It can be really hard to see the adventure in life, the small joys and the big beautiful moments.
But the moments are there. They are there each and every day. And so are the opportunities. The opportunity to take a breather and reset, the opportunity to purposefully take part in an activity you enjoy, the opportunity to do something out of the ordinary to make your life a little better, a little brighter.
What Does Your Retirement Look Like?
So, in order to live your retirement each and every day, you first must know what your retirement looks like. Now, if it is globe-trotting for months on end, this may be a little tricky to fit into your current life with work or family commitments. But is there an element of your retirement that is attainable on a daily basis? Let’s take a look.
While “globe-trotting” is a great goal, break it down and look at the components of a day in retirement as a globe-trotting individual. Do you envision waking up to the sunrise with a delicious cup of coffee? Do you seek out art exhibits? Exotic food? Cultural and historical experiences? Adventures?
The same goes for all types of retirement goals. You can break the goals into actionable, bite-sized portions that can be lived each day.
What Part of Your Retirement Can You Live Today?
Now consider which of the elements of your retirement you could incorporate in your life RIGHT NOW. Not in a year. Not in a month. Not next week.
What can you do right now?
Now, there are plenty of things you will not be able to do today. But will you be able to do them soon? Can you chart a path? Set the roadmap? Make a plan?
Don’t wait until you are 65, 55, 45, or even 35 for the goals you could, with a little hard work and intention, achieve today.
My Little Retirement Acts
Alright, so, I’ve challenged you to go live some part of your retirement today. But what am I (a full-time working mom) doing to live my retirement today?
Mr. Adventure Rich and I actively pursue adventures, both planned and spontaneous. We seek to keep a flexible, creative attitude, ready to seize an opportunity to head to the beach on a Tuesday evening, grab our bikes for a ride on the local trails, or take a stroll downtown after dinner.
Exploring “Our Town” Slowly
I love Traverse City and the surrounding area. Despite growing up here, I find new and exciting facets of the region to explore each and every day! New trails to roam, beaches needing sandcastles, snowy hills to sled and ski, breweries to test… I could go on.
Since moving back to the area a little over a year ago, I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to “slow explore” our town. We are not visiting and pressed for time, so we focus on doing one thing at a time. Lazily walk the streets of our city looking at houses one day while testing out our canoe in the river the next.
The “slow exploration” creates beautiful family memories that gently remind us to enjoy our time together in the area we love.
Becoming a “Regular”
And while there are many new things to discover, I also want to settle and establish the feeling of being a “local” again… a regular. Sure, there are many coffee shops around, but Mr. Adventure Rich and I have taken an affinity to one coffee shop located a mile away from our church.
Every few weeks, we take a fun, family outing to walk over to the coffee shop after church. The walk is a pleasant chance to enjoy the day with our son and explore our new town. And we enjoy arriving at the familiar coffee shop and ordering the rare cappuccino or macchiato treat!
Becoming Active in Our Community
I have not been shy about my love for our area in northern Michigan. It is gorgeous, it is welcoming and it is adventurous. I love it!
But I also want to be a part of it… to give back. I have received such amazing gifts from the community in this area. I want to be an active member of the community and help to maintain and promote the community in any way possible.
Right now, that means that I am an active member of a diverse group of people who find common ground in our pursuit of fitness, endurance goals/personal records and outdoor activities.
I find fellowship, friendship and a larger connection with the community as part of this organization and I hope to be able to dedicate more time to this group (and other church and community groups!) in future years.
Walking our Property and Enjoying the Scenery
The Adventure Rich family is incredibly blessed to have stumbled on our dream home and property on Craigslist last year. One of the benefits of land ownership Mr. Adventure Rich and I envision is being able to develop the land into a place we desire to be. To cultivate it into a setting for family and friends to enjoy, a place of conversation and thought, an outdoor playground for our son (who am I kidding… it is our playground too!), the backyard perfect for barbeques/campfires/camping and a peaceful oasis.
In our first year, we have made some headway in this cultivation process. There are new paths charted throughout the woods and fields for walking and biking, the backyard expanded through brush clearing and some heaving lifting, Mr. Adventure Rich made a sandbox for AR Jr., and we are constantly dreaming up new uses for various corners of the property.
But more importantly than that, we have taken the time to enjoy our land. AR Jr and I once spent a lazy Saturday afternoon napping under a big shade tree, we often go to “Ford Field” to watch the sunset, and I will take little breaks from my home office job to walk a path for 5 minutes during the day.
Reading Good Books
When life gets busy, reading books typically falls to the wayside. I have trouble finding the time to sit down and get lost in a story, learn something new or read about the life of another. But I truly enjoy this outlet, the quiet enjoyment of reading a book. So I have been working to read more. Even if it is 5 minutes before breakfast or a few pages before falling asleep, I make the time for this simple pleasure.
One great hack in the reading realm… get your books from the library! Nothing like a due date to motivate you to keep chipping away at your book.
Training for Endurance Events
This one is solely on my end, but I am constantly looking for my next physical challenge. I have a few half marathons under my belt, enjoy mountain biking and cycling, tried my hand at a Tough Mudder a few months before Mr. AR and I got married and participated in a two triathlons when I was a teenager.
There are times that work, life, and training for my next endurance event can be a difficult balance. Eventually, something gives (usually life or sleep!), but I try not to get too discouraged. I may not be able to do a ton of events or go for a longer distance, but I can still juggle the training for one or two big races each year.
Sure, training would be a lot easier if I did not have full-time work in my life. But work does not hinder my pursuit of endurance events. I can still train and compete… and that is a huge part of my life right now.
Now, the moments listed above are just a handful of the many things I consider “retirement moments”. These moments aren’t the glamorous “drinks on the beach and golf everyday” type. They are the real moments that we want to live, both pre and post retirement with a strong focus on our family, community, personal fulfillment, and adventure.
We may not be retired, but I certainly count these moments as “retirement moments”. And I plan to pursue retirement moments each and every day, regardless of my employment status!
Do you try to live your retirement each and every day? What does that look like? What are your favorite “retirement moments”?
Always an Adventure,
Mrs. Adventure Rich