Cee Aar is a Canadian in his late twenties who is on his early retirement journey. He has resisted (or plans to) convention in some ways and stops by to share his story of bucking the trend.
Going by Jacob’s list of common things that are classified as essential by most people, I live without a few or plan to avoid some in the future. However, one or two from my list below are bound to change and link me to the conventional kind in those aspects.
A few years back, when I was doing my post graduation, I shared an apartment and we had a television in the living room. I remember watching late night movies, shows like Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, etc. After graduation, I landed a job and moved out. Initially, I was looking for atleast a used TV to watch the news (yeah, since we live in the 1960s that there is no other avenue to get information). I put the word out to my friends but never looked at online or newspaper classifieds myself. As time passed, I started to question why needed a TV. The first few months without one did not seem to affect my life in a negative way. I still had access to many shows online if I wanted to watch them and I found other interests to keep me occupied. I couldn’t care less about a TV anymore!
A microwave oven would be handy to warm items and cook but again, after a few months without one, I found that I could heat the same on a stove. I would use it because I bought one and not the other way around. So, that has been out of my life for a while though it is bound to make a comeback!
Elimination of the landline is very much a common sense change – I’m awake for 5-6 hours at home and spend 9-10 hours outside. It made more sense to carry my prepaid cell phone – not that I receive calls every hour but it is more convenient to have it close for emergencies and respond swiftly to those that need the attention. I plan to never buy a smart phone.
I am not a food connoisseur and don’t crave for new cuisine to satiate my taste buds. I do indulge in the occasional restaurant dinner but it is not a weekly chore! I buy some pleasing-to-the-eye treats (cheesecakes come to mind) but have the self-control to not let them supplant fruits as my dessert on a daily basis.
I drive a car that is ten years old (but a solid one at that) and for a person in his twenties whose friends and peers pride on driving nothing less than a 2-3 year old car, if not new, I think I’ve said a big “NO” to this one despite being the butt of jokes.
Almost all my friends have committed themselves to one of the few things that most people are expected to do in life. I’ve had suggestions and advice about how I could rent my big house out (since I prefer a small house for myself and don’t want to live in a big one) and let someone else pay my mortgage and give me back my house, paid for and all! I’ve also had inputs about taking advantage of the low interest rates in Canada. As on date, it looks likely that I’ll buy a house in a few years’ time though the longer it takes, the higher my downpayment. I have yearly milestones to meet my early retirement goal and I’ve waited until I reached certain short-term goals before starting to save for a downpayment. This year will be the first one when I have surplus to put aside for a house. Of course, that amount could also be used for retiring early but I do need a roof of my own at some point. So, I plan to save for that from this year.
This is probably the biggest move away from the mainstream. As I reach an age when people generally have kids or plan when they should have one, I thought about it too. Again, I could not see why I needed one. I’ve had people say various things: that the experience will enrich my life to questioning how I will spend time in my thirties and after without a kid to take care of? It seems that life will be boring and friends will drift away, since I will be the odd one out as they become a family with kids while I remain childless (I’d prefer free!). I have enough pursuits in mind that I’d do than be tied to a job for salary’s sake (whether all materialize is another story) and being an introvert (ISTJ, if you are curious), I don’t exactly covet company. My mind is set and as long as my significant other is on board, I don’t see why I should bite the bullet and follow the crowd!
All the above are based on viewing the “tried and tested” path with a critical eye and picking the best way for my life. There is a choice most times that I did not realize earlier (atleast it’s not too late)! Jacob’s writing has definitely played its part by planting seeds and reinforcing those things that I had been doing already.
Originally posted 2010-05-14 00:08:43.