I've had some cognitive dissonance recently and wanted to see what other people thought.
A little background is that I'm 31 and single. I took a year off last year to travel and loved it. However, I learned full time travel just isn't for me. I like the balance between stability and adventure.
I had a lot of time to contemplate what I want to do with my life and had some serious life events. One big one was when I was in South Sudan, I got a call from my dad that my mom was in the ICU. I took an emergency flight out of South Sudan (luckily I was in the capital city of Juba at the time, not in a remote location) and was able to be back in the USA in 36 hours. That moment taught me how important family is but also how when you're approaching 70, your health isn't in a great place. My mom is okay now and is still recovering.
All that being said, I began to question the whole early retirement thing. I was pretty crazy about saving money before I left. I had a high savings rate, lived in a decent apartment and drove a $5k 2009 Civic.
Now that I have been back for a week, I bought a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (I will probably be kicked off the forums and permanently banned for saying this) so I can drive on the beach and kitesurf and moved into a pretty darn nice apartment.
My savings rate is still 25% and I make a decent income. As I'm writing this, I'm not sure if I'm going to ask any questions or need any input. I'm starting to feel like this is a bit of a journal.
Anyway, long story short, I realized saving a tremendous amount and sacrificing today for tomorrow isn't the best idea for me anymore. I'm 31 and in the best shape of my life. I work out 2-3 hours a day (yoga, RPM, running, judo or surfing - some combination of the aforementioned) and I love it. I know I won't be in this kind of shape forever which is why I'm willing to sacrifice career advancement (people I know that I graduated with are becoming CFOs of public companies) for an amazing life.
For me saving 25% and loving my life is much better than saving 50%, working 70 hours a week, in anticipation of retiring a few years from now. I think I possibly found the balance for now and I love it.
Post your thoughts if you want, but not necessary.
This was good for me to write down because societal pressures make me reconsider my path sometimes. I'm like, should I be working more? Am I lazy? The answer is no, with no equivocations, I just have a life outside of work that I love.