Earlier this month at the EconoMe Conference, I gave a speech where I revealed I was planning on retiring at 35 years old.
I practiced the speech many times, mostly in the sacred privacy of my shower. To be honest, I wasn’t happy with it! When I tried to talk about how and why I was going for such an early retirement age, I faltered, rambled, and went on weird tangents that had too many 1990s anime references (or not enough, depending on your perspective).
My youthful days as a theatre kid had imbued me with an unshakable certainty that there was no point in worrying about it. The show would go on. I would get up on the stage and say something, and people would clap politely when I was done. Because they always do that, even when you suck! Ah, the beauty of social contracts!
Surprisingly, the words flowed easiest when I was standing on a stage in front of a few hundred people. I could kinda see the faces of my audience through the haze of the UFO tractor beam lighting. I had the world’s best business partner on stage next to me; the front row was packed with wise and supportive personal finance industry mentors; and past them, a sea of faces belonging to people who intimately understood what I was there to say about financial freedom. Before the most welcoming and encouraging audience imaginable, my words came out effortlessly.
“Work sucks, and I hate it, so I’m not gonna do it anymore.”
I should’ve just said that and trusted this audience to fill my remaining 28 minutes with a standing ovation. Maybe wrap with some local jokes? “Thanks for attending my TedTalk. Go Cincinnati, um, Owlbears? No, no, that’s definitely a D&D monster, hold on… [checks notes] Bearcats! Go Bearcats!”
It’s true. If all goes as planned, I’m retiring at 35 years old this coming spring.
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