People want different things out of their career lives. Some want to restlessly climb the corporate ladder, putting in long hours at work, spending most of their days in the office day in and day out. Some want to start their own business, do things their own way, refusing to be an employee for someone else’s dreams. And don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of respect that goes into both of that.
I’m only 27 and I don’t clearly remember when I exactly started telling my closest friends who wouldn’t judge me or see it crazy about my early retirement plans. It could be two or three years ago when I wasn’t even contributing all that much to a significant workforce. But that’s the thing, there really only was the concept of retirement from my end. But plans? None. Na-da. Zilch.
For a few years now, I would always have this vivid picture of moving to the mountains—I’m a modernized Igorota as what my grandmother would say. I would imagine having my own strawberry fields with The Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever” playing in the background while I excuse myself and pick some fruits of my labor. I would imagine growing whatever vegetable I can because I figured I can learn to eat vegetables by that time. I would imagine enjoying the cold breeze after a hard day’s work planting or maybe if I get lucky, writing by the porch while I sip a warm cup of chocolate. All those I would imagine, when work in the city gets a tad too stressful, when prices for almost everything hike you don’t even know the concept of price ceilings anymore.
But also for a few years now, I don’t think I have taken a single step towards that direction. No conscious or deliberate effort was made on my part with that end goal in mind. You can say I’m just winging it, making the most out of every day. I haven’t decided if that was a bad thing until recently, when it just hit me one afternoon, sitting in front of my office desk: No, to wing it and to try to make the most out of every day would never be a bad thing because sometimes it’s all there is to it. People would argue that you’re not planning enough, not securing your future. But often, that takes you out of the moment, when you should be fully present in the moment.
So for now, I have decided to simply contribute to wherever I am, keep practicing my profession. If I do it hard and well enough, I just might get that strawberry field of my own. I have decided to keep leaving my comfort zone, my city even—so that coming back would mean happily staying… and staying would mean having seen and done the things I never could have imagined possible, staying would mean being whole as I enjoy the warmth of a sunset, by the porch, in the mountains which I would call home.
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Artwork by Allan Santos