April 7, 2018
A little over a year ago, I quit my job.
In some ways it feels like yesterday. But other times, it seems like a distant memory. Funny how the human mind works.
Anyway, I thought it’d be a good idea to share what it’s been like so far – this thing they call early retirement.
So I’ll tell you what I’ve learned, or more accurately, am starting to learn since leaving work.
It’s a big life adjustment to make, that’s for sure. I’ve read good experiences and bad (yes bad). Like most things, there’s pros and cons. As it turns out, we’ve found there to be much more pros!
Initially, I think we were in shock. You know when something doesn’t quite seem real?
I finished my work after a stint of night-shift, where I’d normally get a 5-day break. But after those 5 days, obviously, I didn’t go back!
After a week or two, it started feeling a little weird, like we were being naughty. It almost felt as though we were ‘wagging’ from work. As if we were supposed to be there, but were chilling at home instead.
Then it began to sink in…
This stuff was pretty exciting, fresh in our minds. As the days rolled on, each day felt a little less strange, and we began to carve out new routines, as we thought about the options available.
Since we humans tend to adapt to change over time, we learn along the way.
Now, these might not be true for everyone, but here’s some less-instant realisations which I’m finding to be true.
Some of them I should have known already, but failed to appreciate. And some actually surprised me…
Ideally, the new mission, after reaching early retirement, is about finding engaging hobbies or work that you’d do for free. Because if you’re just doing it for the money, then it can’t be that good.
Overall, we feel healthier, happier and generally more settled and satisfied with life. Strangely, it actually takes a bit of getting used to. And you can even get a little down or overwhelmed by the thought of ‘what now’?
So it definitely pays to start thinking about what you’ll do afterwards, now, or you’ll end up free, but a little lost as well!
In some ways, it’s easier being at work, where you don’t have to think so hard about what it all (life) means, and which path to take. But at the end of the day, it’s still glorious, and truly like a weekend that never ends.
And this extended weekend can be filled with all of your favourite activities.
Some folks who love lots of social interaction will find themselves looking for community work, or a people-focused part-time job. Others, like myself – the quiet ones – are free to work on their own little projects and hobbies in peace and quiet at their own pace.
To me, Financial Independence is about being able to align your time with your true values and priorities, while building a healthier and more enjoyable life.
Anyway, I hope this little peek through the window of freedom has got you thinking!
So tell me, what will you do when you reach early retirement? Do you have new projects or activities lined up that you want to pursue? Or will your life stay roughly the same, but with more free time?
Please share in the comments…