After a long, tiring day, you make those final few steps towards your bed. Winding down for the night, anticipating the warmth of your duvet, the calm of an unconscious mind - yearning for a good night’s sleep.
But just before you lie down, you notice a strange lamp on your table. One that wasn’t there before, and doesn’t look like anything you remember having.
If you were any more adventurous, you’d go so far as to say it looked like a genie’s lamp.
Suspicion and curiosity get the better of you. You walk up to it, take it in your hand, and slide a palm across the silver surface, once, twice, three times.
And there it is: streaming out in a ribbon of desert sand and dust - a ghostly wisp with a human torso that now fills the space above your table.
Except, this genie isn’t like the others. It only grants one specific wish of its own choosing. In a deep, bellowing voice, you hear it proclaim it’s offer:
"I grant you…eternal wealth."
And just like that - all of the commitments you’ve dedicated yourself to, to have a well-paying job, to make ends meet - vanish, turning to dust, like the sand seeping from the lamp.
The promise of not having to wake up for another morning work call, lecture or prompt 9am email now lies before you.
And immediately following that, you come to a shocking realisation.
“What do I actually have to wake up to tomorrow?”
See, for many of us, the things we enjoy doing, our hobbies, quality time with our families - they’re kept separate from the work that we do, after we clock in for the regular 9-5.
What that generally means is - a lot of us aren’t big fans of the jobs we have - or if we are, we’d still choose to do a lot of other things given the option. If there was no monetary incentive, many of us would be off doing something completely different with our lives.
But without the need to earn, you're free to do whatever you want. Past all the fun, buying yachts, lazing around on beaches like the classic island life dream - I think a lot of us would actually end up turning to hobbies that, ironically, could become businesses themselves. Art, music, travel - you name it.
That entire concept of a theoretical life lived without the need to earn, got me thinking about my own life. I suppose my reason for writing this was to outline what I would do if money wasn’t a concern - and why that’s any different from my life right now.
Ali Abdaal’s latest video on retiring early discusses the ways in which the whole idea of 'retiring' has changed throughout the years. And how, using a new framework for seeing it, we can actually retire before we reach old age - emotionally, mentally and spiritually - through a concept called 'perpetual retirement'.
Naval Ravikant once described it in a very insightful way. He said:
"Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you are retired."
It really resonated with me to hear this, having spent my whole life viewing work as a task, a build-up to an eventual reward, or opportunity to rest - and not necessarily fun in and of itself.
Which is what brings us to the idea of how we can reach perpetual retirement. And one very simple way to do that, is to just love the work that you do.
To do something with your time, that, in the event that you don’t earn anything from it, you would still choose to do.
When I think about this for myself, my mind goes towards some of my current interests.
I’m studying to earn a pilot’s license, because after my first flight I got addicted to the feeling. I want to learn how to fly a plane and go on flights by myself.
If money meant nothing to me, I think I would still be at university, but focusing on all of the relevant information for a career in drone tech or rocketry, so that eventually I could begin my own start-up - maybe even get the chance to go to space. At that point, I would have all the money I would need to get going.
The next barrier to that would be having the know-how, socially and organisationally, to run a business, hire people, manage and delegate tasks, create a work culture, and all of those things that you’d have to do as a founder.
To be honest, it seems like even if money wasn’t an object, working at a company in a less senior role would build up my experience to the point where I could get enough to branch out and start on my own.
Another thing I really enjoy doing is sharing what I’ve learnt and seeing it have value for people. Which is the reason for this blog, and my YouTube channel.
I love creating stories and world building, purely because the extent to which I get to use personal inspiration to bring ideas to life, is fun to me. I’ve had this plan for a while, to write a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, with an entire world of its own, full of lore, characters and stories, nations and politics, everything - but it's been put on hold over my other priorities.
I think the main takeaway from this blog post, is that sometimes envisioning a world where you have everything you need, gives you direction in your life to get there.
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