There is a study entitled Optimum Strategies for Creativity and Longevity by Sing Lin, Ph.D. that was actually about maximizing creativity, but but also included this fascinating data set.
The data, drawn from pension funds, shows pretty clearly that the age you retire is a pretty clear predictor of your life expectancy. The earlier you can retire, the longer on average you can expect to survive. That is a profound observation.
I started thinking about it from a full-time RV perspective and, after living the lifestyle, it makes perfect sense. In our our old life I worked spent nearly an hour commuting each way to a day job, spent 8 hours there and then came home and caught up on work around the house or worked my second job, and that when I wasn’t answering calls as a volunteer for the fire department.
In those days I was overweight, stressed out, constantly fatigued and just generally miserable. I look back on those days now and can’t fathom how I managed it all.
The changes we made to our lifestyle probably saved my life. We saved money, sold off our brick and mortar real estate just before the housing market collapsed, found a business I could work at home, unloaded all our stuff and moved into our camper full time.
The first thing I noticed was my stress level dropped dramatically. Someone else was managing the lawn work, all I had to do was take care of the camper and our tow vehicle. My daily commute was walking from the bedroom to the kitchen table.
Once we got settled into the routine I switched to a 98 percent plant-based diet and had time to start exercising regularly. The weight fell off, stress level dropped and my mood was 100 times better. I was making less money but felt fantastic. I wasn’t retired, still haven’t, but the lifestyle I live bears little resemblance to my former, stress-filled, fat-heavy life. We had joined what another RV blogger calls the Affluent Homeless (http://www.fulltimervblog.com/?p=280).
I don’t like sounding like a cheerleader for the RV lifestyle because it’s really not for everyone, but if I had to describe it in just one word, it would be “liberating”. It frees you from many of the traditional stresses and strains of homeownership. Don’t like the view? Move. Don’t like the neighbors? Try a different part of the park. Weather going to be crappy? Open up the map and find the sunshine. Wherever your house is parked is home for as long as you feel like staying there; your mobility is only limited by your fuel budget.
When you cut a large chunk of petty nuisances out of your life, that gives you more time to focus those that are left. Life becomes manageable and you have the opportunity to get out in front of problems and be proactive instead of reactive in life. Nothing will make you feel more empowered in life than being able to get out in front of your problems.