I currently commute to another city for my teaching job. I spend approximately 5% of my yearly salary on commuting, and I get paid less than I did when I was teaching in Seattle proper. Despite some of the downsides of my job (people and situations that are probably common to any teaching job, and some that are specific to my position), every now and then I get so excited about my work that I have trouble sleeping. This is an awesome (non)problem to have.
However, it gets me thinking about my early retirement goal: Do I really want to retire? What will I do when we finally have enough money to stop working? Will I keep working? Teachers get really wonderful benefits, one of which is the vacations. I already have a terrific work-life balance, and I love developing expertise in my field, so I do a lot of voluntary work and professional development (that I often get paid for).
I don’t know that I want to become a volunteer in the school system. I like having a specific position in the public schools – one where I am accountable for progress and professional development, and one in which I am driven to advocate for change, to be part of a functioning (or not) system, to develop relationships, to be an expert. Leaving such a position means losing power and that sense of being integral.
Maybe it is a bit of a misnomer, “retirement.” What I really mean is that I want to become financially independent, and the main reason I want to be financially independent is so that my husband can stop working. Or at least so he can reduce the time he spends working so that we can spend more time together during my awesome teacher vacations. And if we end up having kids, so that he can be a stay-at-home dad if he wants.