“Retired” by 30!

After a seemingly random conversation with a co-worker a year ago about how much money I would need to quit my job, I handed in my notice to my employer that I had been with for over 5 years. It was thrilling. It was terrifying. I had no idea where I was headed to next; no job prospects, no goals, no “five-year plan” in place to guide me. In a world where we are defined not by who we are, but by what we do during ‘9 to 5,’ it was tough to step away from the corporate world. I dreaded the “so, what are you doing these days?” question. I wasn’t working, but I didn’t feel unemployed; I wasn’t updating my resume nor was I looking for jobs. Instead, I was doing exactly what I want, when I wanted. So, from that day forward, I was “retired.”

Imagine a world where you didn’t have to be at work at 9; what would you do? (Aside from sleeping in, of course!) A lot of people can’t imagine this at all, they believe they would die of boredom from all that free time. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling; I’ve been to Montreal, Hawaii, Mexico, Shuswap and Vancouver. Definitely not something I could have done with my annual 3 weeks of vacation time. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about photography. I took a couple photography classes, did photo shoots for family and friends, as well as product shots for their websites. I entered my first photography contest, and won $1,000 for the ‘fan favourite’ category. I helped a friend with a video shoot for their music lessons. I’ve tried hot yoga, body surfing in Hawaii, and learned how to check and change brakes for a car. I’ve learned that DJ spinning is tough, especially after a few drinks, and am trying to learn to play the guitar. A friend is expecting a performance on the guitar in a month. A friend is going to be sorely disappointed. And I’ve read. With all the years I spent studying in school, and studying for my actuarial exams when I was working, reading for fun was a luxury I could not afford. So I read everything and anything I wanted. Since March, I have read over 50 books; I ❤ my library card!

Sounds great, doesn’t it? A year to do whatever you want, whenever you want. In reality, not many can do this. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed.  During this past year, I’ve only had one person honestly ask me how I am “retired.” Some think I’m completely nuts not to be working; how could I not want to make money? Some think I’m lucky and things just fall in place for me. Some say they are jealous and wish they could do it too. But only one person asked how I did it. And I didn’t have a good answer for him at the time. I want him to ask me again; I’ll have a better answer now.

What would you do if you could take a year off right now? Would you love it? Would you hate it?


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Changiz Badri
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 05:01:59

    I don’t think I could take a year off. I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So how did you do it?


    • Vicky Vo
      Nov 24, 2011 @ 16:03:39

      Hey Changiz! I think its having a good combination of financial knowledge and an understanding of your own relationship with money. Hopefully this blog helps you find your path!


  2. Angie
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 14:49:07

    Super excited for your blog! You should add the email subscription function so peeps can receive notification soon as you have a new post!


  3. Mark wittenberg
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 20:08:14

    Hey Vicky.

    Great blogging. Very entertaining and fun to read, truthful to say the least.
    tx for the reading


  4. Boon Ong
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 22:07:00

    I would love to take a break, every second thinking about it, lately. And oh wow, you did alot within a year!!

    If I could do this, I would love to go travelling, I would love to take plenty of photographs, I would love to go waitressing, I would love to work in a kitchen, I would love to become someone’s photography assistance, I would love to complete a photojournalism course, I would love to blog, watch movies, make movies, shooting videos, learn plenty of cooking, or even participate in a reality tv show for a few months.

    But what hold me back, there are plenty of “invalid” excuses, commitments…..

    The other day I bumped into you are Suncor Energy Center, I asked the same question “How she does it?” But not asking you, but asking my friend (you know who) beside me. And there were no answers (but plenty of guessing, and assumptions).

    Even if I know how you did it, it takes so much guts to do it; it takes so much commitment and discipline to do it.


    • Vicky Vo
      Nov 25, 2011 @ 23:40:48

      Those are some great ideas! I might have to add some of those things on my list of things-to-do this year! 🙂 I would ❤ to be able to work at a job for 2 weeks and walk away at the end. Think of all the things you can learn and all the people you can meet! I think that would be an incredible experience. So, if anyone needs help for 2 weeks… I'm a fast learner! 🙂

      What kind of guesses and assumptions did you guys have? I would love to hear what you guys came up with!

      It does take commitment and discipline, but I believe if it is something you really want to do, you'll make the effort and sacrifices to do it. I highly recommend a year off to anyone, especially for those who feel like they're stuck in a rut or feel like they're not going anywhere in their life. Our lives seem to be so rushed and chaotic, and a step back might give you a brand new perspective. With my time off, I've never been happier and healthier than I feel now. I feel more like myself than I have in ages! I'm hoping that if I share my story, it may inspire someone to take that leap of faith. And for those who are too scared or unsure, we can chat about what's holding you back and figure out what you can do to take that step.

      Thanks again for dropping by Boon!


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