On April 9, I opened a new page in my Evernote cloud account (great software, by the way) and jotted down 5 short lines. My wife was going to be away for the weekend, and I wanted to write down a few things to think about over the weekend for a potential future blog and our path toward an early retirement. It came time to save the small file, and I needed a file name. I chose:
The Retirement Manifesto
Little did I know, that simple act was actually the first stop in implementing “The Retirement Manifesto Project”.
I’m now 14 days into this little project, and thought it would be interesting to record for posterity’s sake those First Five items. I spent a total of approximately 45 seconds on the list. It’s an interesting perspective. What were the first items that came across my mind as I thought about the prospect of writing about my journey toward early retirement?
Here then, in the order in which they were written, are:
The First Five:
1) Happiness Is A State of Mind: Choose happiness
2) Don’t obsess about running out of money. If obsessed, delegate to a paid advisor
3) Walk every day
5) First 6 things I’ll do in retirement
It’s a seemingly random list. “State Of Mind” was mentioned twice (happiness and obsession, interesting dichotomy). Exercise followed, then activities to pursue in retirement (one specific, one just a reminder to think about it and develop a list). I’m sure a phycologist would be interested in analyzing what the list means, but to me it’s not about the list.
It’s about the act.
One small act. 45 seconds of my life.
Now, 2 weeks later, those 45 seconds have led to my own website, an interesting exercise in learning how to manage the software side of this, a cloud-based easel on which to paint my journey, and dozens of thoughts throughout my days on potential future subjects for this Manifesto (for the record, the thoughts are the fun part!).
You’ve probably spent more time than that reading to this point in this article. I certainly had no concept that those 45 seconds would lead me as far as they did, as fast as they did. It wasn’t planned. It was simply a quick idea, which led to an act, which led to a project, which led to you reading these words.
Ideas have consequences.
Spend 45 seconds today in thought. You may be surprised to see how far those first steps will lead. Only after you take that first small step do you see where the path can lead. Challenge your mind. Push yourself to try something new.
All you need to do is take that first step.