From time to time, I see stuff like “I could never retire early…I wouldn’t know what to do with myself?”
Or “I’m pursuing Financial Independence, not FIRE.”
On both of those sentiments, I get it! But here is the thing…
As you know my retirement was mostly accidental.
But once you get a taste of the true time freedom that early retirement offers, as I did in my mini-retirement, I knew that I could never return to a “normal” life.
Yet, retiring early has nothing to do with not wanting to be a productive citizen. It has everything to do with:
- No longer needing to worry about managing a limited number of PTO days
- Not feeling guilty when your kids or partner are sick, and you want to stay home to take care of them
- Taking a mental health day when you actually need it
- Turning inward and taking time to think things through
- Finding new pursuits, interests, and hobbies
- Learning new skills
- Staying fit and healthy
- Being a better partner, parent, or fill in the blank relationship
Retiring early is about all of those things and more.
The Pull To Be Productive
The facts are that I still enjoy and find myself pulled towards being productive.
I bought an affiliate website that has taken more time than I expected.
I’ve volunteered to coach my children’s soccer and baseball teams.
I’ve grown AR (the site and Twitter account) as I continue to push myself to get out there and help people, connect with people, and give back in some way.
Most of the reasons behind my productivity are admittedly selfish. I enjoy it.
Being productive improves my happiness.
I enjoy creating content and connecting with people.
I enjoy problem solving.
I enjoy doing things that contribute to my families happiness.
And I enjoy employing and working with others as I do with my affiliate website.
So even though I am retired enough, I still work. I am still productive.
But I also enjoy the ability to do it all on my own time.
Even though I always had a pretty flexible job in the grand scheme of things, and certainly knew how to make the most of it, there was always some sort of societal roadblock that got in the way.
The true freedom that comes with early retirement looks like this:
The ability to keep your calendar and your mind clear is ultimately THE REASON to retire early.
I don’t do it often enough, but I can and will do it.
Therefore early retirement can be defined quite simply:
Is Early Retirement REALLY That Good?
Yet, none of that freedom makes life any easier at times. Nope. Life still happens.
I still manage to screw a lot of things up along the way.
I wrote last year on Budgets are Sexy that your problems before retirement, are still your problems after retirement.
We are all human.
There is no way to rid yourself of relationship issues, parenting responsibilities, health crisis, and money stress.
The fact is that my early retired life is still a work in progress.
I am still working to grow as a person.
I am still working on finding better balance.
I am still working through various relationship issues that have been ongoing throughout my entire retirement.
Early retirement solves a few problems, but new problems will come and go.
So What Is The REAL Truth About Early Retirement?
The truth about early retirement is that it is both easy and hard, freeing and restrictive, stress free and stressful.
Basically, being retired early is no different than any other part of life.
There are good days and bad.
There are happy days and sad days.
There are stressful days and stress free days.
But they are YOUR days. You are in control. And you can make the play calls.
Early retirement is about creating the life you really want.
So no matter how messy it is sometimes…Early retirement is still waaaaay better than:
- heading into an office
- reporting to a boss
- meeting with employees
- worrying about if you are going to hit your goals and deadlines
Trust me. It’s better!
Do you ever miss the human interaction that goes with working in an office. I know there are other ways to have human interaction, but the camaraderie of achieving a shared goal seems like something i’d miss. Other than that, I thoroughly look forward to FIRE
I don’t miss the interoffice interactions too much at all. I certainly get enough as a parent right now when I take my kids to the park, drop them off or pick up from school, etc.
But I also schedule monthly calls or lunches with several friends and rotate them weekly. So more often than not I feel pretty good on human interactions.
All of this doesn’t even take into account the extra hours I get to spend with my wife in general!