I read a fair few early retirement blogs and when my favourite bloggers do a podcast interview, I listen to that as well (and of course, I listen to every episode of Aussie FIREBug).
So I think it would be fair to say that I know a reasonable amount about the FIRE movement and its concepts.
A number of bloggers/podcasters talk about retiring to something rather than retiring from something. Most notably standing out in my mind as someone who has said this is Paula Pant from Afford Anything – but I can’t remember the article or the podcast that I heard this on – but I am pretty sure it was her!
In the AWP household, I was the one who found early retirement and financial independence and once we were together, I introduced it to Poopsie. I was probably in my early-ish 20s when I first came across it. At the time, I really liked my job so I didn’t think about early retirement as retiring from something. Conceptually, I liked the idea of not working anymore but more than that, I liked the idea of having my finances sorted out and having the freedom to do what I wanted.
However, over the years, that has certainly changed. While it’s hard to know exactly the cause and effect, the more I learned about early retirement, the more I seemed to hate my job.
In actuality, these two things were probably not significantly related. I was getting older and more senior in my career and I had started to achieve the goals I’d set for myself. I found myself almost treading water, trying to figure out what the next goal would be. In the midst of this, frustration with my job grew and knowing that early retirement was an option made that a lot harder to deal with.
I ended up changing jobs before returning to my old job in 2019. While this was the best choice at the time, it hasn’t solved my problem of not feeling like I have a direction or anything I want to work toward in my current organisation. Frustration has continued to grow and possibly even intensify.
There is absolutely no denying it: I am looking to retire from something.
However, I accept the advice from those who have retired early that this is not the best mindset to have. It is far better to retire to something.
I definitely have a few of those: more time with Poopsie, more time with family and more travel.
But are these enough to fill a life? Perhaps not.
I also know that for me, having some purpose in my life is very important to my mental health. While I don’t want that purpose to take the form of a job in early retirement, there are many things that people can find purpose from. I’m still looking for mine.
Poopsie and I don’t even have hobbies that could sustain us in early retirement. We both like reading but, even though I read a lot, I will need to do a lot more than that in early retirement.
I recently said to Poopsie that it feels like we wake up, go to work, come home and go to sleep and then do it all the next day. I know this is true for many but it’s not the life we want to be living. While work still needs to take up the majority of our time, we don’t want it to become the majority of our life. We need to ensure we are doing the things we love and the things we are interested in now, not waiting until we are retired to do so. We want to make the most of our life now which we hope will then spur us into early retirement where we can pursue our purpose, passions and hobbies.
So 2020 will involve a little bit of soul searching for us as we try and figure out what we want our early retirement to look like and work to start making that a part of our life now.
What does your retirement look like? Are you doing as many of those things now, while you’re still working? How were you able to incorporate them into your pre-retirement life? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!