"What do you do about healthcare?" A common question.
"Oh, and what about retirement. Do you worry about retirement?"
Another common question.
The flight attendant sitting across from our bulkhead seats was intrigued. Happy for us, even. She was alternating between laughing/talking with us and gazing out the window, watching land grow closer as our London ---> Detroit flight touched down. "Traveling for over a month at a time – wow," she said. As is the case with a lot of people, she quickly let her mind get ahead to what she perceived as the shadow side of our life. That's when the questions about healthcare and retirement came into the picture.
In that moment, I thought about the barriers that people put up. Barriers that keep us from changing. Barriers that keep people unfulfilled. "There are definitely tradeoffs," I said "but we're freedom rich!"
At the gate, she watched contemplatively as we gathered our stuff. "I want to see more of the world. With my airline benefits, I should be. And I want to take my two kids to see more of the world. Well... one day, I guess."
"Do it! Life is short," I shot back as we were beginning our march up the aisle.
"I will! I'm going to take my kids somewhere this summer!"
Looking back at her, I could tell – by the look on her face – that something had been sparked. She wanted to make a change.
The cost of living an unfulfilled life is great, but it's easy to settle. After all, living from a place of fear or comfort is well modeled. That's why so many people take the safe route, or do the "practical" thing, or follow the crowd, or mirror a parent's life.
Living outside of yourself – outside of what's truly fulfilling – keeps you feeling small. It's what creates that nagging feeling that's always at your side, reminding you that there's a different path for you. Frustration and complacency creeps in because figuring out that path can seem insurmountable. Thus the choice many people make – day after day – to accept the "as is" rather than chip away at what that path is.
The day that you decide to pursue fulfillment is the day that you embrace living from a place of commitment and eschew a comfort / fear based existence. When you live from that more engaged place, you are "on purpose" and that nagging feeling goes away. Work is more rewarding, and life is more satisfying.
The two of us made choices as part of pursuing fulfillment as individuals and as a couple. It's how we ended up creating our version of a "No Vacation Required" life and why one of our goals is to inspire others to find their versions of NVR living.
Sure, as that flight attendant tapped into, we only have catastrophic health care insurance and our retirement accounts will never bulge the way they would if we had remained in the corporate arena. That doesn't matter though. There is no better feeling than the freedom that comes with living a committed, "on purpose" life.