Working at not working – Quora Answers to Perplexing Retirement Questions

I don’t know if many of you read Quora or ask or answer questions there. I’ve found that there are so many people that sound almost desperate for retirement answers.  Many believe they are sentenced to a life spent doling out their precious Social Security Retirement or 401k or pension for reducing returns and higher costs. Others feel unable to make a change, take a risk, do something perhaps a bit on the outside of their comfort zone. Its almost like with a certain age, one cannot do new things or take a chance on something. I don’t understand why that is. I’m here to say that its simple to make a sea change in your life and that there are better places to spend some years than down at the corner McDonalds drinking coffee and playing cribbage with the gang. Just because someone reaches some age does not mean that the enjoyment, fun, challenge of a life well spent goes away. I’ve tried to answer as many questions on Quora as I can explaining how to really make a difference and that you don’t need to be rich or with hundreds of thousands of dollars to do something. You could simply decide that its worth a try.

Quora questions focus on:

  • What is the cheapest place to live on moderate income in XX or YY continent or even staying put in my country?
  • How can I make a break from all this and get away and find new happiness or joy or a relationship?
  • I doubt I could make a change. Walk me through the steps. How do you do it?
  • Where is a country with a decent standard of living, people are friendly, and life would be better?

These are only a few of the questions I see now. If you want to see my answers simply search for me on Quora or simpler yet here is my profile there which lists my content and answers. I have also found upon answering questions that there are people so very close to making a decision to make a change yet they don’t and I cannot understand it sometimes. There are triggers in life which may seem as downers or emotional or life explosions. Sometimes they actually are forward paths to a thing but its difficult to see the thing out there. A friend of mine once suggested that life was like an etcha sketch board. Some of the lines upon shaking disappear but others will remain in place. The pixels have been disturbed and the lines have melted into the fabric. Perhaps this explains the fear and since the board cannot show what will be until you draw a line, you cannot see how a decision in the future and its lines will impact your present day. There is a continuity of things though folks. A terrible thing in the past can lead to exceptional things. I only have my experience but the most painful thing in 2009 was an adulterous affair by my ex-wife and our divorce. I still remained at home for years and finally moved out in 2014. By 2017, I had paid off a huge credit card debt which almost destroyed the rest of the lines on the board I had preserved. Then I had a full time job that I wanted and I knew after two final projects for my company I would leave. For me, there was no age discrimination. They wanted me to stay and my VP offered many times to tear up my voluntary termination. I knew though by November 2017 that in March of 2018 I would leave. I would claim retirement, take some savings, take my decent retirement from social security (which is very good in the countries I live in now), and go. Fear, anger, depression, excitement. All constant bedfellows of the times. Yet I persevered. I left and picked up the remaining strands of a simpler and kinder and gentler life in countries where I believed life would be better, more fun, with lines left on the etcha sketch that mattered only.

So with all this, when I read the fear and depression people have about remaining, I know that many will not take a risk. They will not travel through Malaysia and meet some of the kindest, friendliest people I have met yet. They will not see Vietnam and find such a wonderful culture, so ancient yet so modern. Nor will they find a means to live and not a means to an end.

I like to encourage people on Quora to make a change. Take some time and define the geography or continent that excites you. Research a bit what the retirement and ex-pat scene is like. Set yourself up for happiness by getting rid of the stuff both physical and psychological that have clogged you up. Perhaps a few more of the most depressing lines will disappear. Its all possible and you can find a place where friendly people smile and find value in your experiences. Life can be more fulfilling and you can operate not on a razor’s edge or paycheck to paycheck but based on moments that linger in places you may have always wanted to see.

My message?

Take a chance. Travel to the places and see. You may find that you can do it after all and that life can be something more. In my case, I have found Southeast Asia a welcoming and wonderful place where I have made friends from the manager of a coffee shop this morning that talked to me here in George Town Malaysia about life and travel and being happy and even finding someone that may make your life better. Yes even finding relationships can happen. The only real sentence you have passed down is the one you did on yourself. You are your own limitation. My ex-wife used to say,

Misery is Optional

Don-t be miserable. Take a chance. Find a place where happiness and joy awaits. Around the corner, down the street, across the nation, across the ocean. There are places waiting for your feet to hit them. Most of all don’t fear the change. I know it’s hard. We get older, retire, change gets harder to accept. You can do it!

Read along and ask questions on Quora if you like but how about taking the strands of your life in hand and deciding that whatever lines are left on the etcha sketch are the ones you decide are left.

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.