One of my goals in life (my personal Elysium) was to become “financially independent” and to “retire early”.
At age 31, I’ve reached my goal. But I haven’t been rewarded that “eternal bliss” I’ve falsely believed in. I don’t wake up everyday feeling eternally blessed and grateful. Instead, there seems to be this mysterious void in front of me; a void without any clear goals or directions/paths in life.
Which made me wonder:
What “should” you do with your life once you’re financially independent and are “retired”?
Retirement not as sitting on a beach for the rest of your life
I think people often get the wrong impression that once we are retired, we can just do nothing, lie at the beach, and let sensual pleasures overtake us, in order for us to be perpetually happy. Or finally afford ourselves the chance to purchase all the toys, gadgets, gizmos we desire. Or to travel the world, and visit and experience exotic places.
My personal lessons
I cannot say this for everyone, but here are some personal life lessons I’ve discovered about myself, in terms of what happiness isn’t:
- Happiness isn’t financial independence. Having a lot of money or a little money doesn’t seem to make that massive of a difference.
- Happiness isn’t exotic traveling. I’ve been to all the epic exotic cities internationally, and while they are great, simply traveling and experiencing a place won’t give you happiness or bliss.
- Happiness isn’t in a physical home or neighborhood. I’ve been in a nice house, and been in cool and hip neighborhoods, but this doesn’t seem sufficient unto happiness.
- Happiness isn’t in tools, cars, clothes, watches, design objects. No matter how good any of these physical objects and tools, they won’t make you “happy”.
What I think is essential for happiness
My simple thought:
Perhaps true happiness comes from physical and mental activity.
I’m only happy when I’m active: doing things, making things, changing things, lifting things, transforming things, and affecting/effecting things!
- I’m happy when I’m at the gym and powerlifting; seeing how far I can push my physical body. The delight in new “PR”s (personal 1 rep maximum records). The delight in focusing my mind when attempting new personal records in my lifts (deadlifting over 405+ pounds is like my zen/stoic meditation).
- The joy of creation: Joy of creating new photographs, publishing and sharing them. Delight in creating new shapes, forms, and compositions with my photography and art.
- Delight in new turbo thoughts: The extreme joy of mental activity. The joy of thinking new ideas, discovering deeper truths in life, and feeling inspired and motivated with my own new ideas!
So the ideal “holy grail” of life seems to be these three things:
- Physical strengthening
- Artistic creation
- Mental activity/ideation/turbo thinking.