In the last few days I have heard of multiple people passing away in their 40's. What scares me more than thinking about me passing away is thinking about my husband passing away. I have a hard time even typing that. My heart goes out to their families and I can't even imagine what they're going through.
Thinking about death makes me think about our lifestyle and wonder if we're making the right choices. A lot of people balk at frugal lifestyles because for this very reason. I have even heard of multiple stories about people retiring in their sixties after a lifetime of scrimping and saving only to become sick shortly thereafter, never getting to fully enjoy it.
It certainly makes me think.
Are we giving up too much right now? Is it worth giving up a lot and gambling on a hopeful future? Perhaps this just enforces the need to retire as early as possible and we should cut back even more in order to get there sooner?
I've been pondering these questions all day and here is where I landed, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
For the most part, I don't think we are giving up very much right now. If you asked me what we would change on a daily basis I would say very little. We love our little rented apartment, we love our old cars, and having less stuff generally makes me feel less stressed. I also like cooking at home, though one of ways we probably would indulge is in eating out more often, though still just once or twice a week. I don't miss cable TV at all, and I feel like I have more than enough clothing and accessories. From that perspective I'd say we are very fulfilled.
But when I think about mortality it's travel that comes to the top of my mind. I know just yesterday I said that our annual trip to Las Vegas was more than enough for us, and it really is most of the time but if I were to die tomorrow I'd regret not ever seeing Asia and Australia amongst other places, and in general I'd regret not taking off oodles of time to just spend with my husband in some fabulous location.
So why don't we?
The primary reason at the moment is that my husband only gets 2 weeks off a year and it doesn't role over. Remember, my husband loves his job, so while he could ask for some unpaid time off, he feels like he's still earning his stripes and I respect that. But even if he couldn't, it's still a huge expense, and while travel is an enriching life experience it's still a luxury.
And the truth is that we are quite happy with our small annual luxury of our Las Vegas trip which we see as an investment in our relationship, and saving for a more expensive trip over time. I think this balance is perfect for us and while I'm not quite living the life I'd live if I had a month left, it's providing us with lots of fun combined with a solid focus on our future goals.
Our goal is to become financially independent as soon as we can so that working at my intense job becomes optional. I may decide to quite altogether, I may decide to cut my work travel down dramatically, or I may decide to continue as is with much less stress. I want to enjoy my family, not have the highest net worth of anyone I know.
Someday when the time comes I want to look back on my life and say that I loved hard and the people I directed it at knew it. So forgoing annual luxury trips to give me more everyday time with my family is a trade off I'm willing to make. And hopefully I'll get many years to do just that.