A good friend of mine who’s into science let me borrow his car last week. It was a Delorean that he tweaked to travel back in time, which I guess is pretty cool. So, I faced a choice: kill Hitler, or go and meet the first early retiree. My choice was easy, because this blog is about early retirement.
So I drove back in time to around 15’000 years ago to meet Gruk, a gentleman who was the first guy ever to retire early. What an honor! Now, you’ll have to excuse Gruk, he didn’t speak much and my google translate didn’t catch all the nuances of his growls, apologies for any inconsistencies in the translation here.
Me: Hi Gruk, nice to meet you, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Gruk: Well my name’s Gruk, I’m a member of a tribe of hunters, and I’m what you probably call a homo sapiens.
Me: Oh, wow, I’m a homo sapiens too, what a coincidence! What are you doing right now Gruk?
Gruk: I’ve been brainstorming stuff for a side gig I recently started which I call agriculture.
Me: But winter is coming and you need to provide for your family, shouldn’t you be out hunting, or picking berries instead?
Gruk: No, see, that’s the thing, I stopped hunting a while ago thanks to some changes I made in my life.
Me: Tell me more.
Gruk: Oh, wow, you really want me to get started on this, right? Where to begin? So, basically I realized at some point that hunting for food, or going further and further away each month to gather the best berries, wasn’t an optimal use of my tribe’s time. One day, a friend and I found that if you take some kom berries [Google translate failed on the kom berry translation. Gruk shows me some kind of red berry], and pound them into the ground with your fists like that, give them a bit of water everyday, and wait for a few months, then you have an entire bush providing many kom berries for you and your family. As long as we keep a few berries to pound into the ground every year, we now get an infinite supply of food. I named this technique “kom pounding effect“.
Me: Wow this is great, how do your other tribe members feel about this new technique?
Gruk: Well it’s interesting that you mention that. Not only does my kom pounding technique work with berries, it also works with animals, which potentially removes the need for hunting. We just had to hunt for a few animals, male and female, and we can then breed more animals for food. It’s been working great so far, and I felt my tribe would be super happy about my findings, but it turns out many are questioning the process, even though they’ve seen it working.
Animals compounding, as explained on Gruk’s blog
Me: oh, how so?
Gruk: Well, some people say my kom pounding technique doesn’t work, and they’ll question some of my activities to try and discredit me. Some say they’ve seen me hunting at night, which proves that I cannot survive with only kom pounding. Others say it must be terribly boring to not go hunting, and that I’ll probably die very soon because of that.
Me: So what do you say about those accusations, is it true for example that you hunt at night?
Gruk: Yeah, once in a while, but I do it for fun! Just because I found ways to provide food forever for my family doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy hunting! I gets me some exercise, plus I love the adrenaline it generates. Look, I’ve explained to those guys how to implement kom pounding on their own, they have me as a living example that it can be done, but they still refuse to admit it works, then it’s their problem. I mean, we live in an exciting age of unlimited communication: they can all see my paintings on the walls of the cave explaining how it works, the information is here, so really I’m not sure what to do next.
Me: But what if all your bushes and animals die? Your fellow tribesmen also use this as an argument to convince people your solution isn’t working.
Gruk: Yeah, you know, nothing’s perfect, and they could very well get badly hurt on one of their hunting sessions too, but nobody’s questioning that because it’s what the tribe’s been doing for centuries. On my end, I have made sure I have enough bushes and animals to sustain some pretty bad scenarios. Unless a new Ice Age comes in the next 10 years I’m probably ok. But you know what, if that actually happens, I’m not sure there’ll be any animals left to be hunt either way, so we’ll all have other problems to solve. In a more likely bad scenario, I’ll just go back hunting for a few months to refill my stock of animals and berries. So I think I’m good, when the worst case scenario means I have to go back to the life that all my fellow tribesmen live daily.
Me: What about the boredom point?
Gruk: Look, you tell me. Since I started this whole agriculture and kom-pounding thing, a few fellows have joined me in this gig, and we’ve started optimizing the process, We’re building these things I call “tools”, and I think I’m onto something here, but only time will tell. Another dude in the tribe who lives on kom pounding and has no kids, now has so much time he’s been brainstorming about a bunch of things I can’t even start to understand. One of these he named “fire” and he says it’s going to be big. I feel like all this free time we have helps us building something big for the long term, but I don’t know, maybe you’re right and we should all go back to hunting, not thinking about anything else, until we die of old age at 29. But me and my family are totally happy right now. Tell me, you’re from the future, right? So is hunting still how people get their food in your time?
Me: Err, thanks Gruk, I have to go now and I’m not sure I’m allowed to reveal anything about the future! Thanks for all your details on early retirement, and enjoy your free time with your family!
Well, I had to cut the interview short, but it was interesting to see that Gruk was fighting against the same kind of preconceived ideas as us people who are trying to reach Financial Independence and Early Retirement nowadays!