My Home Office, Hilo Side, Hawaii
I’ve decided to retire early. At the ripe age of 34, with only 2 days until my next birthday, I have defiantly reset the retirement age from 65 to 35. It feels good.
Though I have found some gray hairs recently, I don’t have nearly enough to qualify to live in Hawaiian Beaches on the coast of Big Island, Hawaii. Most of the people who are my neighbors are retired, just wanting an affordable way to live in Hawaii near the ocean. Each day, I wake up sipping Ka’u coffee after carefully grinding the beans and pressing the magical elixir in my french press. The whistle of my tea pot signals the beginning of this ritual which celebrates my slow mornings. No more rushing through the streets of NYC with a fast cup of Joe that I spill on the subway. Instead, I stare at the waves from my front lanai and whisper sweet nothings to my coffee.
So how did this happen? A 35 year old guy living the good life in Hawaii? No, I wasn’t one of the original founders of Facebook or Google. I didn’t sell some weird little company to them for an obscene amount of money. I have no trust fund. What happened is that I have built up a successful private practice as a Healer over the past 8 years. Many of my clients now work with me by phone or travel to Hawaii for a personal healing retreat. In short, I offer my clients a piece of what I have found in my own life.
By saying I’m retiring early, I don’t mean to make it sound as if I have stopped working all together. Nor do I think everybody stops working when they retire. I remember visiting a friend’s grandparents in Wisconsin a few years back. We stayed in a custom made, spacious house on several acres of forest and farmland. Vibrant and busy, the two retired school teachers watched the grand kids, tended to a ¼ acre vegetable garden, cleaned house, made lunch, and clipped trees that were part of a forestry stewardship program. I was winded just trying to keep up with these retirees.
While the grandpa drove me out in his all terrain vehicle to survey his land, I asked him, “How do you like retirement?” He shared, “I like it just fine. In fact, some days, I am busier than when I was working full time as a teacher and raising kids.” I laughed and asked him, “what good is being retired if you are still so busy?” He replied, “The difference is that I get to choose what I do each day. Nobody tells me what to do anymore. If I don’t feel like picking vegetables, then I don’t. That pure liberty is what retirement is all about for me.”
That conversation has floated through my mind often over the past few years. Who decided 65 was the magic year of retirement? Social Security? I wasn’t going to wait to be independently wealthy to live the life I have always dreamed of living. And I wasn’t waiting until I was 65 years either. So 8 years ago, I started my new career as a traveling Healer. People began inviting me to come to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and later, Hawaii, to come share the intuitive healing work that made me a trusted name among my clients. Armed with a massage table, psychic sight, soothing hands, and a sense of humor, I worked on doctors, lawyers, teachers, mothers, and celebrities. It too work, a lot of work. But it was fun. It was my heartfelt choice. My desire to travel met my passion for sharing the inspiring work of an uncanny form of self discovery. My life would never be the same.
7 Years ago, I quit my day job at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a Research Associate, forfeiting my plans to go to med school. At the time I was deathly afraid to tell my family that I was no longer going to be a doctor. After all, I was the pride of the family and they had high hopes for me. They got over it. Many of them still ask me “what do you for a living again?”
4 Years ago, I had to face my fears of leaving NY, an experience that felt like I was pulling myself off a spiderweb. My whole life was there. So many of my friends and family were there. NY comforted me because it brought the world to me. Even with so many cultures and new ideas at my fingertips, Something inside of me needed to go and meet the world in new ways. I still miss NY pizza. I’m still glad that I never moved back.
2 Years ago I moved to Oahu, which lead to an even slower pace of life on Big Island, Hawaii. I still travel to major cities to work with people and teach, but it’s at a much more liveable pace than my when I started the foundation of my practice in my 20’s. The mix of city stimulus when traveling with the slow nurture of nature suits me well. I like falling off the map when the job is done, only to get the itch to travel again.
3 hours ago, I saw a long time client in my new home office. So many clients have shared on the phone that they could hear the ocean in the background. She was the first one to experience the fresh cut tropical flowers and ocean waves in-person. New tones of teal, browns, and hardwoods created a fresh, soothing décor to the healing room. The new colors signaled a new chapter in my life. Before the session, my client walked by the ocean to clear her head. It helped her slow down enough to recognize the new chapter in her own life. It meant letting go of the old ways of worry and dread. It meant embracing that she was in a new place, a place worth celebrating. At the end of the session, her genuinely smiling face showed that she was ready for her dreams to come true. Sharing my wisdom and inspiration had helped her to find encouragement and renewed courage in her own choices. Helping her brought me immense joy. When you are living the life you truly want, that’s pure liberty. That’s early retirement. Join the movement.
An hour ago, I paid my bills online, then took a nap in the middle of the day. The early bird special is looking really good at the local Hawaiian eatery. I guess I really am retired after all. Hungry? Please send your friend requests to G. Kamana Hunter FaceBook page http://www.facebook.com/people/G-Kamana-Hunter/669812856 and join me for a Hawaiian early bird dinner sometime.