Can an epiphany be slow? By definition they are not. Maybe what I mean is a gradual change in a way of thinking. A creeping shift into a new paradigm.
My entry into the whole idea of early retirement, financial independence, escaping the rat race or whatever you want to call it was certainly slow. Even faltering. Mr. PIE has been the true architect of our plan from the get go. He was the one that initially recognized a desire for a lifestyle change, and went about educating himself in the possibilities.
It’s safe to say that Mr. PIE hit the wall with corporate America a while back, and that was the beginning of his investigation into a dramatic change in our lifestyle. Me? I’ve been trucking along doing the same job for years now. Not really loving it, certainly not hating it. But if you’d asked me if I’d still be doing the same job at age 50 I would have emphatically answered “I hope not!”
We both recognized the craziness we live in that comes with two parents working. But look around at our peers, and we’re all doing it. We all juggle commuting, getting kids to and from school, homework, activities, school events, feeding everyone, collapse in a heap at the end of the day. Rinse and repeat. God forbid anyone is ill or a parent has to travel for work. That just throws the whole delicate balance into disarray.
But do something about it? What can you do? This is how it is….isn’t it?
When Mr. PIE floated an early draft of Plan Invest Escape, conversations went something like this:
Mr. PIE: we can quit work and live off our savings!
Mrs. PIE: don’t be silly
Mr. PIE: I’ve figured out how much money we need
Mrs. PIE: we can’t ever possibly have enough. What will we live on until our 401ks are available? Don’t be silly
Mr. PIE: we can
Mrs. PIE: we can’t. Don’t be silly
Mr. PIE: I’ve done the math, I’ll show you
Mrs. PIE: Hmmmm. That’s all well and good. But people don’t just quit work. We have to work. That’s what people do. How would it affect the kids if their parents weren’t working?
Mr. PIE: I’ve read all these blogs. People really do this!
Needless to say, I was a hard sell. It just didn’t compute. It certainly didn’t match with anything I had seen before. I grew up in a hard-working blue collar family. Work is what you do.
One major turning point for me was seeing a co-worker do something similar. The parallels to our situation were minimal. She’s single and had risen up the ranks at my company over the years. Yet she had a huge desire to travel and spend time volunteering around the world. So she quit to do just that. I remember clearly the conversation we had before she left, when she explained her motives and desires. All I could do was sit there nodding. I understood completely.
Mr. PIE finally got me reading some of the wonderful blogs that are out there. I was gratified to see many, many people in diverse situations doing just what Mr. PIE was suggesting. Not only that, but many of my concerns were answered. The kids will be fine! We can have enough to live on! Healthcare can be taken care of! Our expenses and taxes can be low! The kids will be fine!
When you shake the ‘normal’ way of doing things out of your head and consider a new way, the possibilities come flooding in. I can learn to grow vegetables, ski whenever we want, travel for a whole summer with the kids, explore teaching, be on the school PTO, keep bees……..
The math has been done, the Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint are charting our progress. Our sails are set. What remains now is to stay on course and imagine all the wonderful possibilities for our future.