These days, it seems like there are more and more people seeking out early retirement from their initial careers. Just over this past weekend, former Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall decided to hang up his cleats at the tender “old” age of 26.
Apparently, Mr. Mendenhall had had enough with the NFL and was tired of living under a constant microscope:
“Imagine having a job where you’re always on duty, and can never fully relax or you just may drown,” he wrote.
This past season, Mr. Mendenhall rushed for 687 yards and eight touchdowns. The man could obviously still play the game, and most likely had more than a few good seasons left in the tank.
He chose to walk away, anyway. Not surprisingly, his decision to retire “prematurely” was met with a lot of disdain and scorn on social media.
I for one, applaud the man. He is someone who comes across as very educated and articulate in interviews. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he’s been financially responsible with his earnings (six year career) and has more than enough cash stashed away to last him for the rest of his life.
I found his closing remarks captivating, as his own thoughts resonated very deeply with my own… Most of my own thinking is probably induced by prolonged exposure to a toxic corporate work environment:
“As for the question of what will I do now, with an entire life in front of me?” he wrote. “I say to that, I will LIVE! I plan to live in a way that I never have before, and that is freely, able to fully be me, without the expectation of representing any league, club, shield or city.
“I do have a plan going forward, but I will admit that I do not know how things will totally shape out. That is the beauty of it! I look forward to chasing my desires and passions without restriction, and to sharing them with anyone who wants to come along with me! And I’ll start with writing!”
It’s your LIFE! Do what makes you HAPPY! Kudos to you Mr. Mendenhall.
Read the full story here.
This recent story also reminds me of another early retirement story that occurred midway through the 2013 NFL season. John Moffitt, formerly of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, also retired at a young age — 27.
Mr. Moffitt had this to say when he walked away from millions:
“I’ve saved enough. It’s not like I’m sitting here and I’m a millionaire,” he said. “That’s what I kind of realized. I’m sitting here and I got to this point and I was like, what is the number that you need? How much do you really need? What do you want in life? And I decided that I don’t really need to be a millionaire.
“I just want to be happy. And I find that people that have the least in life are sometimes the happiest. And I don’t have the least in life. I have enough in life. And I won’t sacrifice my health for that.”
Here is a link to the full story.
Very inspiring stuff. To see athletes (celebrities) doing it… walking away from fame, fortune (millions of dollars), etc. makes me think that my own decision to turn away isn’t really such a big deal after all.
We only get one life. Happiness is so, so underrated. It’s time to make a stand… Let’s blaze a new trail, and go after the pursuit of happiness with all our might.