"Just five more hours until the weekend. I can hardly wait."

"Just five more weeks until my vacation. I can hardly wait."

"Just five more years until retirement. I can hardly wait."

Whenever you catch yourself saying something like this, it's time to stop and evaluate things. If you are thinking this way too often it means that you are not living a meaningful life in the present. Your work life has become a burden and you are dreaming of escape.

The thing is, the escape you are dreaming of is usually short-lived or an illusion. The weekend will be over before you know it. The vacation will be a collection of photos and memories before long. As for retirement, well, the fact is we get old quickly in our advancing years, so you don't want to wait until then to really start living.

To me retirement is about doing what you love. If you are living with passion and doing the things you love, while also embracing the things you don't necessarily enjoy but recognize as important, you're living a retirement lifestyle. You have to ask yourself, " If money were not an issue, what would I be doing?" If the answer is, "What I'm doing right now," then you have arrived. Loving what you do means that you are always living in the moment instead of waiting for that better moment that always seems to be in the future. Loving what you do every day is an ideal worth pursuing and it is a mindset you can cultivate.

In that sense, I am happy to say that even though I come in to work every day, I have been retired for years. It hasn't been about money for a long time. I do what I do because I love it and I couldn't imagine not doing it. And when you work with a sense of passion, the economic rewards naturally follow. Because I embraced this principle early in my career, I am able to retire today if I chose to. That success came as a result of the love for what I do.

The point is, if you don't feel that way about what you're doing – if you don't feel like you are retired already, if you're not energized about the possibilities every day brings, and excited and grateful for the opportunity to engage with them – something is wrong and you need to address it. You shouldn't just bear with it and wait for the next "escape."

Life is short. It's much shorter if you only live it on weekends.


Commenter's Profile Image Questioning Authority
June 11th, 2013
I have to respectfully disagree. Work is work and hobbies are what you get to spend more time on in your retirement. I can't play golf 3 days a week now, but hope to in my retirement. I am working hard now to afford my family and myself the life we want. But it's still work no matter how much I love it.
Commenter's Profile Image Jerry Zanni
June 11th, 2013
Imtiaz.......... I totally agree with what you said in your article. I consider myself very fortunate that I love dentistry and love it's challenges. I can honestly say that I have never worked a day in my life since I graduated from dental school. I do not consider dentistry as work but one of the things that I enjoy doing. I have other hobbies which I pursue with passion and dentistry is ranked there up with the rest of them. With over 40 years of practice I have no intention of "retiring" as long as I am healthy. At this point, with all of my past experience and constantly seeking new knowledge at Spear etc. I am at the top of my game. Why would I want to retire?
Commenter's Profile Image Barry Polansky
June 11th, 2013
Eckart Tolle couldn't have said it better.
Commenter's Profile Image Bryce Adamson
June 11th, 2013
Today I had an eye exam at the office next door. Toby is a great guy, nice office, great team & service. Being of similar age and having graduated Optometry in 1997, one year before my DDS, both with young families we really connected. I was both delighted and sad when he shared with me that next month he would be leaving Calgary to retire in Victoria. Happy for Toby, having beaten his own father to retirement, and sad for myself to be losing a fantastic business neighbour, trusted professional, and friend. Of course I made the inevitable comparison and shook my head as I contemplated the decade(s) until I would be financially plump enough to retire. At the same time I had trouble seeing myself in a similar situation right now. Some would say it's a lack of imagination on my part, but I truly relish what I get to do with my hands, head and heart with 15 years of experience & growth. Three separate patients came in today with a painfully infected tooth and when I called them tonight, each of them were greatly relieved and grateful for my care. Sure it's unglamorous "toothpaste-dentistry" as Imtiaz calls it, but it was enough to fulfill my imagination today. I do look forward to my summer vacation. My family has an epic road-trip planned as we wind our way to Vancouver Island and back. I will certainly take Toby up on his invitation to visit his family in their new home when we stop in Victoria. Before I know it I will be sharing a bottle of wine celebrating my retired friend... because I am not counting the days before I get there.
Commenter's Profile Image Jiri Zvolanek
June 12th, 2013
Dear Imtiaz, I love what you say. After 10 years of being employed, I am starting my own dental practice this summer. And from the very beginning, I will be aiming towards this retirement life style - which is for me in fact no retirement, just correctly dosing work and free time. And enjoying life. Thank you for reminding me and others that there is no time to wait until things happen, that is it important to take action now. Learning from you, Frank, Gary, Gregg etc. is an amazing experience!