Heaven on Earth
Most people think great God will come from the sky, Take away everything and make everybody feel high. But if you know what life is worth, You will look for yours on earth; “Get up, Stand up,” Bob Marley.
I’ve been a regular reader of this site for going on two years, but this is the first time I’ve actually written a submission. Not the first time I’ve thought about it, just the first time I’ve taken the time to actually put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. I have visited Thailand once, and am planning another visit in December. Enjoyed myself, but I’ll save the details for a future submission.
I’m a 40 something professional, living in a major city in California. My plan is to semi/early retire in the next few years. At least that has been the plan for the last 5 years. The focus of this submission is on just that, the planning. It seems as if many people, myself included, seem to put living on hold while planning for the future. “I’ll just work a sixty hour week for a little longer,” you say, justifying it by telling yourself you will be living it up in a few short years. A few years become five, then ten and before you know it you are old. Or dead.
Then something happened, I realized that my life is now, not when I finally have saved enough to live this way or that way. Many of the submissions I have read on this site discuss the “minimum” amount needed to retire. 12,000,000 million baht, 20,000,000 or even 50,000 to 100,000 baht per month in income. I’m not disputing these figures, but I am questioning the mindset behind them. It seems to me that the above amounts would be accurate if you want to pick-up and move and establish a new life in Thailand or another third world country. The traditional retirement; stop working, grow old and fade away, leaving room for someone else. But what about something less permanent I wonder, a semi-retirement?
I don’t know about most of your readers, but I don’t want to wait until I’m seventy to live the life of leisure I’ve always dreamed of. That said, I don’t think I could stand doing nothing all day for the next thirty years. My “new and improved” plan is to straddle both worlds, with what level of success I don’t know. But if I fail at least I will have given it a shot.
I imagine living half the year or more in Thailand or Central America and working in the U.S the other half. This is no small task, as I don’t have the type of profession that lends itself to this arrangement. I have read submissions from readers whom I assume work in the petroleum or mineral industries, working a 4-6 month contract, and spending their earnings in LOS. Or they are web designers or software programmers with the ability to work from anywhere with an Internet connection. Sounds great, but I’m not an engineer, roughneck, or computer whiz. I have an old-fashioned skill in a new-fashioned world.
With all this in mind, I have devised a plan. Whether it comes to fruition is anyone’s guess, but like I said I have to try. Worst case, I’ll get to spend some time in a beautiful country, surrounded by beautiful women and devote my free time to more aesthetic pursuits (sitting in a gogo with an ice cold beer admiring brown-skinned beauties is an aesthetic pursuit, isn’t it? Dean Barrett seems to think so, and who am I to argue with that?).
We all have to earn a living, that’s for sure, but it shouldn’t get in the way of actually living. For those of us fortunate to be born in the West, there has to be more than just accumulating things, possessions that in the end possess us. The pressure to earn more and buy more is enormous and seems to make any thought of retirement seem impossible, at least if you want to keep on buying and buying in your golden years, or leave a pile of money for your heirs.
I don’t know about you, but I want mine here on earth. All I want is a steady income and the leisure time to enjoy it. Beautiful women and enough of my youth left to enjoy them. Time enough to think, ponder and create. Is this asking too much? I hope not, but it just doesn’t seem to be what we’re raised to believe is the proper way to live. Being a westerner has many advantages, not the least of which is the ability to earn what to many are huge sums of money. The question is then, is that what living is about? Those little green (or blue or red or multi-colored) pieces of paper have no value until you give them away. Yet we try so hard to hang on to them for all we’re worth.
If any of your readers have reached this far in my decidedly non-sexy piece, I would love any feedback or suggestions. Whether it’s from those like me that are dreaming of chucking it all and heading off into the unknown, or veterans that have found their heaven on earth. Please send me your emails or comments. I look forward to hearing from fellow Stick followers and hopefully I can buy a few of you a beer in December (nothing too expensive, I am trying to save for my retirement after all). And if I’m not drummed off this site for being boring, I promise to write a piece full of sexy-sex, bargirls, soapies, cold lager and international intrigue. Or at least the first four anyway.
I agree with you that when in comes to retirement we sometimes place too much emphasis on the money and less on the timing – which relates to our health and perhaps even our ability to enjoy retirement. When to retire is a tough equation and one that is different for all of us.
I think one thing that anyone with their heart set on retiring in Thailand needs to consider is that the country is changing rapidly. I really don't think the Thailand of today will last forever. In the not too distant future things will be very different – and I bet that in time, it will be a much more expensive country to live in and to "enjoy".
Interesting topic this and I think it's one we'd all like to read more on – so if you have any definite opinions on the retirement issue, pen a submission!