I’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of people viewing my blog on Sundays.  Maybe it’s a good day to surf the net.  Could it just be fluke?  Maybe, but I wonder how many folks start searching the internet for retirement information on Sunday as they begin to dread Monday morning?

I know, I used to dread Mondays.  I’d even start getting the dreads on Saturday evening or afternoon, dreading the dreads I’d get on Sunday.  Another week of work!  I’d start wondering what ailment I could fake to avoid it.  I rarely called in sick, however, mainly because I knew it was only delaying the inevitable.  By Sunday night I was a wreck, already looking forward to the next weekend.

Why do so many of us do this to ourselves?  I did it because I was stuck, by choice.  I had to wait to be eligible for my pension.  My workplace went downhill the last four years and there was little I could do about it.  No one wanted to promote or transfer a short-timer.  I couldn’t quit without forfeiting my pension.  I was stuck and I was unhappy.  My chance to change course without losing a chance to retire young had sailed long ago.

I suppose a lot of you are, or were, also stuck.  But not everyone.  Some of us just keep doing something we dislike or that makes us unhappy.  We worry and stress about it.  We wish for a change, but we don’t act on that desire.  We just keep going to our job, unhappy, stressed, beaten.  I suppose its safe and comfortable.

Why do so many people wait until they are old, worn out and tired to enjoy their lives?  My philosophy, one I didn’t really follow when I was younger, is to live your life everyday like you’re retired.  Sure you gotta work to put food on the table and a roof over your head, not to mention save for retirement, but it doesn’t have to be unpleasant.  It should be a means to and end.  Something that you don’t take too seriously or expend every ounce of energy on.

A radio personality I listen to said it best, and I paraphrase, “Find something you love to do, then figure out how to make money at it.”  So many of us do the opposite.  We find something we can make money doing, and then try to learn to love it.  Let me tell you from personal experience, if you don’t love your job when you start, you won’t ever love it.  In fact, you’ll probably hate it.  You can tolerate the good times, but the bad times are unbearable.

Resolve to make a change now.  Whether you’re 23 or 63, stop and look at your situation.  Stop spending the majority of your time doing something you can’t stomach.  Stop hating Mondays.  Whether you choose to retire now on less than you thought you could, change careers, even if you make less money, or start sacrificing so you can dump a lot of money into your retirement accounts and get out sooner, do something.

I planned for this change in my life.  I decided to stay put when I was 23 and work towards a pension.  When the time came I made the choice not to work for more money, but to live on what I had.  I made a change.  Not many folks where I worked actually stop working.  They took other jobs.  I am the exception for the most part.  What’s stopping you from being the exception, the one everyone thinks is a little crazy, but secretly envies?

I figure I spent something like 1200 Sundays over my career dreading Monday.  That’s 3.28 years and I had a relatively short career.  Not to mention the time I spent depressed, anxious and worried about my job otherwise.  Now I’m retired, however, and I am so relieved.  I love almost everyday, eager to wake up and get at whatever it is I am doing that day.  Even the bad days are more bearable.

Shouldn’t everyday of one’s life be like that?  I think it should, though mine always wasn’t.  We all have the power to make ourselves happy.  Sacrifice and hard work will always be part of the equation, but who says we have to dread it.  We may never make millions of dollars, own a giant house or drive fancy cars, but at least we’d be happy.  There’s absolutely no reason to wait until retirement to enjoy life and be happy.

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