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Monday, July 27, 2009

Sabbatical, Not Retirement!

Over the past few years, as our story has gained attention, I’ve become sensitive to one particular word. This word engenders all sorts of emotions and reactions from people. It has the same derailing power as “war”, “death”, and “abortion” in conversation. The word is “retire.”

If we were in our 60s, I doubt the word “retire” would cause such a stir. In fact, not using it may be a sensation. However, we are in our 30s and talking about retiring. As a consequence, we are often inundated with “retirement” questions. The barrage of questions trying to dive into the mechanics of how we can do it typically results a lack of understanding of how it is possible. The person asking the questions has their own context, or frame of reference, that they are trying to fit our answers into and they cannot seem to resolve how it all fits together. Their inability to resolve it isn’t surprising since they are fitting our answers into their world. They are not listening to the whole story, our story, they are force fitting our answers into their world. As a consequence, we’ve begun using a new word.

We’ve learned to curtail the usage of the word retirement when it comes to our trip and instead use the word sabbatical. Taking a sabbatical, even an open ended one, is easier for the listener. They focus more on our journey than they do on the mechanics of the money. When they learn about our transformation and our overall story, they begin to see how money fits into the bigger picture. Once they put the puzzle pieces together they begin to see how the forever sabbatical is not only possible, but achievable by anyone whom desires taking one.

What is the difference between an open-ended sabbatical and retirement? Only the baggage the listener brings to the conversation. In the end, they are no different.

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