A dream of early retirement, financial security and independence turned into a plan. We are committed and making incredible progress, crushing milestones. This, while traveling and hitting bucket list items left and right. Life is great. It is a long road ahead (8-12 years) but we are unstoppable IF we can just keep doing what we are doing!
And then, the phone rings. Unexpected news stating that one of us may lose our job contract soon, instead of receiving a full time job offer that we were anticipating. This job accounts for most of our current savings rate, without it, the plan gets fully derailed.
My heart starts racing. I start thinking of 80 million things we could do to try to avoid this outcome or to find an immediate job replacement. I also think of the impact it will have on our life plan. And I go to the worse case scenario obviously, as if for some reason we would never again get another job, ever.
Crap! I catch myself and stop. I laugh a little at the ridiculousness of my imaginary scenarios and how hard it is to break this habit, have a visceral reaction of fear of loss and need to control even the uncontrollable. I would really excel at a risk management job I am sure!
Breath. I tell myself. Go back and read the recently created life plan where I wrote down what I decided were the important and successful priorities for ME.
Item 1: Inner peace.
This is it. Life is throwing me a new opportunity to put into practice what I have been working on during the past few months towards my very first goal. If I am too busy and worried about what we may lose and may happen in the future, or trying to control all outcomes, I will never be able to enjoy the only thing I do have: a possibility of a good today. And I will be miserable. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
My husband and I get into a philosophical conversation about security and certainty. This is all a fallacy after all, we decide (while laughing at our collective control freak nature). Sure, we can (and should) prepare as much as we can but at any moment, the stock can fall, our jobs may go, the earth may fry and we could die! Among other less drastic things but whatever, you know where I am coming from…
We cannot control most of of that but what we can control is the way in which we react to situations like that (except earth destruction and death, then you are happily gone, so why worry anyways? ;)).
And so, I pledge to use this opportunity as practice to better deal with uncertainty emotionally as I am sure this is something that will come along many times, including as we transition to retirement while no longer earning an income (whenever that happens). And I must admit, every time I had a door close in the past, life has treated me to a better opportunity even though we did have difficult moments of transition, so why doubt now that things work out?
Make a plan and then, let go of control, flow, be flexible and trust life to take care of us. This is all I can do.
Will we succeed? As the great Dr Seuss pointed out in Oh, the Places You’ll Go! “Yes, you will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)!”
How do you deal with uncertainty both emotionally and with actions?