As I turned 50 years old I really started embracing the minimalist lifestyle for many reasons. One of those reasons is that of self preservation. I started to realize that I have but a short 15 years to try to set things right. What I mean by this is that I see too many people move into the age of social security with nothing but a monthly social security check to live on. Meanwhile they are still living with a monthly mortgage payment, credit card bills and car payments they are obligated to pay each month. I quickly realized that I had to make certain changes and I had to make them quickly. The vision I see and I am sure most folks see in retirement is that of a less stressful life, quiet days spent doing things of pleasure, not pain.
Making a choice to retire should be a choice but I see too many working way past an age that is comfortable to work. There are many who simply love their jobs and are just not ready to retire at 65 and usually push for the age of 70, but there are far too many others who simply do not have that choice and have to continue to work to make ends meet.
There are other’s who have done all of the right things to prepare, but have had some type of life changing event that caused them to lose everything or just about everything like an expensive medical procedure or the lose of employment. My heart goes out to them as I do understand that there really is no guarantee’s in life. But for the majority who find themselves in a situation where retirement is just not possible because of certain life choices that they have made like overspending, living a life of thrift or gambling I am less sympathetic to them but more sympathetic to their children who will have to bear the expense of these circumstances.
At the average age of just around 45 most families are setting there children out into the world, trying to pay for college and thinking about downsizing there homes. It can be an exciting time of life while at the same time their parents are reaching or have reached the age of retirement. Many complain of having there children living at home too long after they should be ready to move out into the world, but there are also too many who are having their parents move in with them because of the heart felt obligation of caring for them. Personally, as a parent I never want to be in a situation that would add this type of burden on my children.
At 55 years old I have made a significant amount of changes in my life through the adoption of minimalism and/or living a simply life. Financially life has turned around in just 5 short years and I am heading in a positive direction towards a life of retirement. Many of the sacrifices that I have made turned out to not be sacrifices at all. I concentrate of paying off debt while putting away enough money for the future. I shop very little and only do it to obtain things that I really need rather than things that I want. Cooking at home over going out to eat has increased my level of appreciation for the foods I eat, while gardening and providing fresh foods for my home has given way to an appreciation for nature. Most of the time the food I eat at lunchtime is leftovers from the night before.
Every single dollar I earn and spend has a certain value to it now that it didn’t have before. I no longer collect things and find greater value in collecting dollars that I know will help me out greatly later in life.
As I set out to make changes in my life for reasons of self preservation I discovered these same changes truly enhanced my life right now. Without many of the stresses like trying to put on a show for the Jones’s I have learned that living a simpler life also brings about a greater sense of happiness and joy. Besides, it won’t be long before the Jones’s find themselves in bankruptcy court. I have found that one of the greatest benefits I have discovered is that of lost time. While I was spinning my wheels to try to keep up with the latest fashions and trends it seemed that time was getting away from me. There never seemed to be any time to really do the things in life that I really enjoy doing. Today I have time to read, time to relax and time to spend in nature. Rather than an expensive outing I now prefer a quiet day at the beach or in the mountains. Even a quiet day at home is not a burden.
At the age of 50 discovering the simple life was the greatest thing to ever happen to me later in life. I wish I had known more about this at a younger age, but life is what it is and we are where we are for whatever reasons. I am now a minimalist for life and these lessons I have learned will also give way to a lifestyle I will lead in retirement. Peace.