Most days while I’m at work, I try to make it a point to get outside for about 10-15 minutes and go for a short walk. This doesn’t always happen – maybe it’s too busy in the office and, of course, most of the winter is ruled out because I hate the cold.
But in the summer, it’s been a great escape. I just put everything on hold for that very short time and just walk… maybe that’s how smokers feel during a smoke break (I’ve never smoked so I don’t know the “joy” it brings). 🙂
My office is in a suburban area – it’s all businesses on the street where I work, but it’s definitely not a downtown area or anywhere too busy.
Here’s a picture of part of my walk (cutting out any areas with business names or addresses)…
The trees are what make it great outside in the area. And sometimes you can see or hear small animals or birds along the way. All in all, it’s just pleasant.
And every time, I just grab someone in the office to go for the walk with me. It’s nice outside, you’re getting exercise, and you get to stop working for a short time – it’s hard to argue with that!
Today though, no one was able to go on the walk so I decided to go myself.
And guess what? It was great.
And to keep it great, I refused to even busy myself with my cell phone. Just me and my thoughts.
I did have a problem on my stroll though. I started to think again (stupid brain!!). And the more I thought in that short little walk, the more depressed I became.
I’m getting to the point where I just need to be done with the 9 to 5 job. I hated that I needed to go back to the office. It’s almost making me sick to think about every day. I don’t think that I’m to the point yet where Joe at retireby40.org was with his health deteriorating, but I can see things going that way.
As of right now, I have 9 years left until I can quit – maybe a little less if I push it or I build up the rentals fast enough. To some of you, 9 years might seem like a long time and to some, it’s a short time. But either way, I’m really struggling thinking about it.
The people are great there, but I just really feel like there are so many other things I should be doing instead of wasting my life away in an office. And it’s weird – my job is one that a lot of people would love to have… banker hours, I rarely have to take my work home with me, thriving company in the IT world, low to medium stress, good people to work for, good location, good pay, flexibility, blah, blah, blah.
Yet, I still feel stuck in a rut every day.
It’s like I see the light at the end of the tunnel and it just can’t get here fast enough. I should be spending the summer hanging out with my daughter before she goes back to school. Instead, I’m stuck in the office feeling like Peter Gibbons from Office Space (which I think really might be my office by the way!).
And before you say it – yes, there are weekends and vacations to spend time together. And yes, we take advantage of that. In the past 30 days, we’ve spent 10 days in Texas, a couple of days at an amusement park, a weekend at a cottage by the beach, and this weekend we’re going camping.
But it’s not enough – I want the freedom that those that have reached financial independence are enjoying. I want the ability to not worry about time. I want to be able to take a trip with my family and say “hey, since you guys are having fun, let’s stay another couple of days!”
And I’ll get there, but boy, 9 years is a long way away. For now though, I’ll just continue to make the donuts and enjoy the 15 minute walk I take almost every day in the summer to take a break and enjoy nature.
The walk today was a great way to stop and smell the roses. If you haven’t done that in a while, take the time for it – you’ll be glad you did!
Thanks for reading!!
18 thoughts on “Escaping the Hustle-Bustle of the Rat Race with a Walk”
I understand wanting your freedom and wanting it now, Jim! But With 9 years left my advice would be don’t rush it. Because your daughter will be 9 years older by then. I don’t know her exact age but it’s probably safe to assume she won’t want to hang out with you as much.
You’re way more ahead than we are – we’ll be 55 and 57 when we quit our jobs in October. We started an actual countdown calendar at two years out. Crossing off each month makes the time seem to go faster. But it’s a double-edged sword because we’re two years older.
I think that’s a safe assumption that she’s not going to want to hang out with me in 9 years (she’ll be 15). 🙂 But the nice thing is that I’ll be able to be there for her regardless if she needs me.
Congrats on the countdown! That’s so close it’s got to be so exciting!
Hi Jim, enjoyed this post as I am also a keen walker and try to break my day by taking a walk. I always feel refreshed by it.
On being impatient to leave your job, I had that feeling for a long time so I can relate, but keep going because I found that I could do it a lot quicker than I initially thought when compounding starting really kicking in. You may find that you are at least able to work for yourself or take a part time job much earlier than your 2025 goal. Good luck!
Thanks, DT – the walk is a good break from the monotony. Hopefully you’re right and the compounding accelerates things.
Good luck to you as well!
Jim, yeah that’s tough and I think we’ve all been there. It’s particularly tough when you paint a picture of early retirement on one hand and then on the other hand tell yourself you can’t have that for nine long years (okay, I added the “long” part).
But then again, you do only have one life.
Maybe you need to readjust your plan? Take a sabbatical for a year? Would you be able to find employment if you quit and didn’t work for a year or two?
I’m sure these are all thoughts you’ve considered. Really just chiming in to say that we’ve all been there!
Thanks, Biglaw – we’ll call this a venting session, so I’m glad to hear that you’ve been there as well. My position at work is pretty unique in that I probably wouldn’t be able to take a sabbatical. And I could leave, but it really is a great job and I’m taken care of there. In other words, for a job, I really like it. I’m just ready to not have it much longer. The good news is that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m sure giving notice will be here before I know it. 🙂
Yeah, you’ll get there. Time stands still for no-one. It’s just daunting when one starts to look at it in terms of years rather than taking each day at a time. But you can’t live in the future, so we might as well live in the present, right!?
Excellent point – thanks, Biglaw!
I always took a walking break at work too. It was always a great way to clear my head from the stress of work.
Of course, now I don’t need to worry about it anymore, but I still take daily walks.
Haha, there you go rubbing it in! 😉 Well, I definitely can’t wait to start taking the daily walks without having to worry about getting back to work.
Great article. Sadly I can 100% relate with your feelings. We too have about 9 years to go and I find myself daily wondering how I will ever make it that long. On one hand I don’t want to wish my life away but retirement and the freedom it will bring can’t get here fast enough. We are in a cold weather state also and summer makes these feelings that much stronger. Summer flies by now and we get some weekends and maybe one week of vacation to try to enjoy it (usually the week it is cold and rainy). Wish I had some advice other than to stick to your plan and try to enjoy the journey. You are not alone and retirement should be that much sweeter in nine years.
Thanks, iFreebies – sounds like we’re both running to the finish line together! It’s funny how each day we get closer to FI, it just becomes a little more difficult to go to work. Oh, well, hopefully time will fly by for both of us!
The walk is lovely though. My current office location is near other ugly buildings. Thankfully the walk to my LLC space is charming.
Beautiful days make returning to work painful. But we have families to support and the donuts to make.
I hate making the donuts! 🙂 But you’re right about that – it’s got to be done.
I do a 2.8 mile walk nearly every day, in 50 minutes. It always feel great. I take the GF and dog, and the dog can run lose in the park (as long as the deputy truck is not there).
I was walking 3 miles, but when I mapped it in Google walking path, it was only 2.8, so I feel Google has cheated me just a bit.
Haha, that’s funny! It’s also fantastic that you’re walking that much every day! I finally mapped mine out and learned it’s about a half a mile… definitely not a huge walk, but at least it gets me out of the office. Google hasn’t robbed me yet, but I better keep an eye on them!!
Wow Jim, I was just writing about the depressing side of the road to financial independence. 9 Years is a long time, I’ve been going through these thoughts for 24 months now and am on the verge of insanity…
I’m down to 8 years, 11 months, and a couple weeks now!! 😉