i remember the first time my husband and I talked about taking a mini-retirement. We were newly married, $55,000 is debt and earning about a $1000 a month. It might seem that we had no business even talking about such things! But I’m a firm believer that if you really know what you want out of this life, and doggedly pursue it…well, worst case, you’ll be much closer than if you never tried!
We didn’t have a lot of great options the first year, but we took every one that came our way. Slowly, bit by bit, we started to take some ground. Fifteen years later, we have taken 5 mini-retirements and we are financially independent. Which, truth be told, I never would have even guessed. Not in my wildest dreams! We started with the goal of taking every seventh year off. Just that seems crazy!
Maybe for you, mini-retirements conjure up ideas of hammocks on faraway beaches or 18 holes of golf on a Wednesday morning.
I suppose it could be those things. But most people I know who are taking these have very different goals. They step away from the 9-5 to pursue things that they are passionate about. Things that matter to them.
Here are the 3 kinds of people I see taking mini-retirements and what they do.
1. Families: Often times people decide to take a mini-retirement while their kids are young. There is something about raising little kids that seems to speed up time! I look at pictures from a year or two ago, and my heart almost drops. My babies are SO big now! Wait, when did that happen?
Families don’t want to miss out on these fleeting opportunities. So they RV with their kids now and check out all the national parks. They spend a few months in Mexico learning Spanish. Or they savor the small moments: walking their kids to school, school plays, and coaching soccer.
2. Adventurers: In one of her poems Mary Oliver said: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I have that quote written inside of my cupboards where I keep little notes. Because life is fleeting, and we only have one chance to test and try and see what it is we might be able to do.
So adventurers, adventure. In all sorts of ways. They travel across Europe, or Latin America or India. They bike across the US. They go on mission trips. They build schools in 3rd world countries. They hike the Grand Canyon. They learn new languages, study abroad or volunteer in the inner city.