Why I Took a Mini Retirement. And Why You Should Too!
There was a point in my life I realized I had a choice. I lived in a place that wouldn’t allow me to do the specific outdoor activities I wanted to do, I was stressed from work, and I wanted a change in life. And for as long as I can remember, I wanted adventure.
It took me a while until I found my real passions in life, but when I did, I was hooked on them. My dreams were actually happening and I was doing what I loved. Adventures in the outdoors!
But fed up with the drive of materialism and consumerism in our lives, along with the the reduced recreational time that came from working full time, I wanted time to do the things and experiences I wanted to do, on my terms, even if just for a brief amount of time.
And so I came up with a lifestyle plan.
THE MINI RETIREMENT
While certainly not a original concept of mine, the mini retirement idea was born after long hours thinking about a lifestyle change. I just didn’t have a name for it at the time.
Doing away with the traditional retirement concept, retire at 60 years and buy a motor home/yacht, travel the world and enjoy life thing, it’s all about taking smaller breaks throughout life.
Traditional retirement goes a little like this:
Whereas a mini retirement goes like this:
There are lots of 2-12 month (or longer) breaks between working periods. The key concept in a mini retirement is the fact you work towards time and experiences holding value, instead of money. And it goes without saying, time is our most valuable asset!
Taking mini retirements, you may end up with a smaller house, a bit less money, or you don’t make it as a CEO at 60 years of age. But instead, you’ve already done most of what you wanted to do in life and you’ve been able to do it in your prime years (there's always more to do of course).
So armed with a plan, I wanted to make a change and have the time to do what I wanted. I managed to take 11 months off work and have the freedom to do all the trips and adventures I wanted to do! It was the best thing I ever did! Now I take them whenever I need!
WHY TAKE A MINI RETIREMENT?
I'll say straight up that mini retirements aren't for everyone. You might really love the job you are working in and don’t want to quit. You might have a business you really enjoy and don’t want to stop that either.
So don’t quit and don't stop!
But if you are working a job that bores you or you find yourself daydreaming of possible adventures, a mini retirement can be the perfect thing for you.
And there's plenty of positives in doing mini retirements over a traditional one:
► Experience the joy of a retirement in your younger years!
This is the obvious one. Taking a decent break from work is allowing the freedom you have in your late retirement, early! Going on a backpacking trip in exotic places, honing your skills in some adventure sports, hiking around the world- these are all much easier when you are fit, young and healthy. Your mind is sharp, so learning new skills or languages for example, is much easier.
And then there's safety. Hips won’t break, backs won’t buckle, and your body can keep going for much longer. Spend any time outdoors or play sports and you can definitely appreciate this fact!
► De-stress from work and life
It takes a while to properly de-stress from work or life. After meeting many people doing the same, you can expect the average time to be about 2-3 months before you feel the full relaxation hit your body and mind. In severe cases like a burnout, maybe even longer.
So by taking a long break, you reset your ‘clock’ and will probably find you enter your work again with renewed enthusiasm.
► The job you might hate becomes tolerable
Like mentioned above, a good reset is just what many of us need. If you have a career you love but a job you hate, intermittent breaks help make it bearable.
Oftentimes, the feelings of being trapped, hopeless, and dislike come from the fact we are picturing the job going on for eternity. If you consider the same thoughts knowing you are just in it for a year or two, it certainly gives you motivation to hang in there!
► Clarify your desires, passions and goals in life
A break from work and life will give you a clean slate to try out your passions. When we have lots of time, we can explore our options. This is why taking a mini retirement, even just once or twice before your golden years, is really good for us!
► Start a new chapter or career path
What better way to start a new career path, move to a new city/country, or just reinvent yourself than with a mini retirement? Each break gives us a chance to say yes to new opportunities and try them out. And with the experience you gain, its almost guaranteed you will see many more of these opportunities as opposed to if you just work the same job for 40 years.
► Get out of your comfort zone
I’m a huge advocate of this if you haven’t noticed! Running my adventure club for 2 years showed me what getting out of you comfort zones did to hundreds of people. Happier and more confident, getting out of our comfort zones is beneficial to us on so many levels!
► Balance out the importance of time
Its OK to work hard! But we need to remember why we are doing it. Time is the one resource we all have a fixed amount of. Rich or poor, we all end up at the same place eventually. So take those mini retirement breaks to enjoy your periods of working hard.
You’ve earned it!
THE IMPORTANT KEY TO MINI RETIREMENTS
A mini retirement is no good to us if we don’t do anything in the time we take off from working. You’ll have wasted all the benefits! Sitting around the house and watching TV is not a good use of your mini retirement time.
You need to be actively going for adventures, travelling, learning a new skill or working towards some goal in order to come out better on the other side. After all that’s the whole reason you took one in the first place!
So if a mini retirement sounds awesome, how do you actually take one? What about the gaps in your resume? Won’t people advance in their careers while you don’t? What about the money for it?!
Read on in the next post on how to have your first mini retirement: