As many of my blog and social media followers know, July 5th was my last day of full time employment. I am officially retired. How do I feel so far? If I had to pick just one word to describe it, rested is the word I would use. For some reason, I just wasn’t getting as much sleep when I had to wake up at 7 am each day and be at work after 8 am. Now if I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, I am simply able to just sleep in and gain my sleep back on the other end. Thanks early retirement.
My first three weeks (a road trip to Wisconsin, camping and Bond Falls Michigan)
My wife and I have family in Wisconsin, so I planned my last day of work (7/5) to exactly line up with her planned trip there starting July 6th. This worked out very well, but also made for a whirlwind romance of sorts. In past years, I simply had too much work to do, and not enough PTO, to join her on this trip.
On July 6th, we drove from Tennessee all the way up to Wisconsin. After a few days visiting a zoo and a municipal amusement park, we drove even further into Northern Wisconsin to spend 7 nights camping in a National Forest. Although camping was a lot of work, the weather was sunny and pleasant and the days were very long. We were very happy to have our kids spend a considerable amount of time with their cousins who still live up there and went camping with us. Until we drove back to Tennessee, I honestly felt like I was on one long vacation, but one where I didn’t have to check email and worry about the shit pile of work waiting for me when I came back to the office.
For the first three weeks, mostly due to our out-of-town trip, I felt like I was on a lengthy vacation (and we were).
A different perspective on weekdays
In the past, I simply viewed the week as the days I would work. If I had to leave my office, it was to eat or run a very quick errand. Now that I retired, it’s amazing how great it is to go out and do things without crowds of employed people to compete with. Movie theaters, amusement parks, coffee shops, etc. are low traffic areas to enjoy during the week. When the weather is good, it’s great to walk/jog outside as well. My father in law got a great deal on a weekday movie, Dunkirk, for $5 on a Tuesday morning. It’s a great movie if you haven’t seen it yet and one I recommend.
A different perspective on vacations and trips
On my last trip, I would check work email during vacations, and worry about work I had left undone or about work piling up for me when I returned. For the first time in years, I didn’t worry at all about work after leaving home for our trip. Of course, there was plenty of back to school work waiting for us when we got home, but it wasn’t overwhelming. With two of us now at home, there is more splitting of tasks that done as well as more family time to be enjoyed.
How to avoid being bored, or is boredom worth worrying about?
I sincerely empathize with people who gain all their self-worth through their jobs. Early (or any) retirement could potentially be a nightmare for them. The question becomes, what is the means to the end? Is it worth working 50-60 hours per week to purchase a new BMW that you are rarely in? Is it worth giving up seeing your kids at school events in order to, once per year, take a boat out in the Caribbean Sea? Are you really being selfless, making so much money so your spouse and kids can purchase things instead of seeing you? I am sure that many sincerely think they are doing their families a favor.
I am not one to get bored easily. If I have extra time, I simply fill it with TV, going on walks or a jog, hiking or running errands. For me, this blog is an outlet to also share my thoughts about early retirement planning. With two kids in the house, it seems there is always plenty to do. So far, I rarely have been bored. I am not sure how I will feel in a year or so, but for now, I am rolling on rest and finding sufficient ways to fill my time. Come August 10th, the kids will be back in school and our lives will change again. As humans, we were designed to adapt and I look forward to enjoying life with my spouse together as we have not been able to do in the past. There are many day trips we’d like to take, such as hikes and restaurants we’d like to check out, that we haven’t been doing as much due to work commitments.
Will I ever work again? Does it really matter?
Maybe. I would never say never to anything, but it seems if I do work again it would have to be part-time or seasonal work. Perhaps I will sign up for Uber Eats or Postmates, but as of now I have no such plans to do so. We will plan more trips, do more travel hacking, and write about early retirement finance topics such as our draw down strategy.
While I am not positive what our future will bring, I really look forward to the future ahead of us. We will travel a lot more, see a lot of places we haven’t seen, and spend plenty of time with our young children. We will still have responsibilities, but the work related stress is gone. I don’t miss it.
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